The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature
The annual award recognizes the unique role of contemporary writers in the transmission and examination of the Jewish experience. It is intended to encourage and promote outstanding writing of Jewish interest. Each year, the prize of $100,000 aims to reward an emerging writer whose work has demonstrated a fresh vision and evidence of further growth. Recipients must have written a book of literary merit that stimulates an interest in themes of Jewish concern. Fiction and non-fiction books are considered in alternate years.
In conjunction with this award, the Rohr family has established the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, a forum devoted to the continuity of Jewish literature.
The Prize and Institute are coordinated and administered under the exclusive auspices of the Jewish Book Council. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges.
Submissions are not accepted.
An advisory panel is charged with searching for eligible works and presents nominations to an independent panel of renowned judges. They convene annually to select the finalists, winner and runner-up. A gala award ceremony is held annually in the Spring.
- The 2017 Prize was awarded to Idra Novey for Ways to Disappear.
- The 2016 Prize was awarded to Lisa Moses Leff for The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust.
- The 2015 Prize was awarded to Ayelet Tsabari for The Best Place on Earth: Stories.
- The 2014 Prize was awarded to Matti Friedman for The Aleppo Codex: A True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible.
- The 2013 Prize was awarded to Francesca Segal for The Innocents.
- The 2012 Prize was awarded to Gal Beckerman for When They Come For Us We'll Be Gone.
- The 2011 Prize was awarded to Austin Ratner for The Jump Artist. Read his ceremony remarks here.
- The 2010 Prize was awarded to Kenneth B. Moss for his book Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution and Sarah Abrevaya Stein for her book Plumes.
- The 2009 Prize was awarded to Sana Krasikov for One More Year.
- The 2008 Prize was awarded to Lucette Lagnado for The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World.
- The 2007 Prize was awarded to Tamar Yellin for The Genizah at the House of Shepher.
Translations are acceptable. For the fiction prize, short story collections are eligible. The subject matter of non-fiction works is limited to:
- History: a work about the Jewish historical experience;
- Biography/ Autobiography/ Memoir: as related to a Jewish experience;
- Contemporary Jewish Life: a book about issues facing modern Jewish communities;
- Jewish Scholarship: a selection that makes a valuable contribution to Jewish thought and learning;
- Current Affairs: a work that focuses on a political or cultural Jewish issue of the times.
For more information, contact the Jewish Book Council by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.