2016 NJBA Press Release

JANUARY 11, 2017


Book of the Year Awarded to
Israel by Daniel Gordis

Rose Tremain Wins Fiction Category for
The Gustav Sonata

Michael Chabon Awarded
JBC’s Modern Literary Achievement Award

New York, January 11, 2017 – The Jewish Book Council announced today the winners of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards, now in its sixty-sixth year. This year’s winners include the Everett Family Foundation Book of the Year, which is awarded to Daniel Gordis’s Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn (Ecco), described by Jewish Book Council’s reviewer as “a new history of Israel [that] should become a standard for years to come, perhaps even a classic.”

Michael Chabon is the winner of JBC’s Modern Literary Achievement Award for his general contribution to modern Jewish literature, including his most recent work, Moonglow (Harper), described by Jewish Book Council’s committee as “a moving panorama of Jewish experience. Chabon serves up his colossal tale of darkness and light in fabulous language, as befits this modern fable.” 

Three additional novels took top fiction honors, including Rose Tremain, winner of the coveted JJ Greenberg Fiction Award for The Gustav Sonata (W. W. Norton & Company) — recently listed by Lit Hub as one of their “10 Overlooked Books by Women in 2016”; Lauren Belfer, the first recipient of the Debby and Ken Miller Book Club Award for her work And After the Fire (Harper), which has inspired conversations across the country; and Gavriel Savit, winner of the Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction for Anna and the Swallow Man (Knopf Books for Young Readers).

French bestselling author Marceline Loridan-Ivens wins her first National Jewish Book Award in the Krauss Family’s Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir category for But You Did Not Come Back (Grove Atlantic) and Stanley Moss wins the inaugural Berru Award in Memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash in the category of Poetry for Almost Complete Poems (Seven Stories Press).

The Barbara Dobkin Award in Women’s Studies winner is The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate (CCAR Press), co-edited by Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr and Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf and the Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award in Scholarship is presented to Benjamin R. Gampel for Anti-Jewish Riots in the Crown of Aragon and the Royal Response, 1391-1392 Cambridge University Press).

Please see the full list of winners and the finalists in 20 National Jewish Book Award categories here.

The winners of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards will be honored on March 7, 2017 at a gala awards dinner and ceremony to be held at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. The program will be hosted by Abigail Pogrebin, author, most recently, of the forthcoming memoir My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew (Fig Tree Books). The reception and dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.—to buy tickets, please call 212-201-2920.

If press is interested in attending the awards ceremony, please contact Evie Saphire-Bernstein at the Jewish Book Council at evie@jewishbooks.org.

Jewish Book Council is a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting Jewish interest literature. With over 280 touring authors each year, over 1,000 book clubs, over 1,100 events, its newest annual print publication, Paper Brigade, the National Jewish Book Awards and the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and a vibrant digital presence, JBC ensures that Jewish interest authors have a platform, that readers are able to find books on topics across Jewish life that may interest them, and ultimately have the tools to discuss those works with their community.

In 2017, JBC is pleased to add to its roster of activities a new partnership with the Natan Fund to present the Natan Book Award. The Natan Book Award at the Jewish Book Council supports and promotes a breakthrough book intended for mainstream audiences that will catalyze conversations around Jewish life and community in the 21st century. Submission guidelines and details can be found at www.jewishbookcouncil.org/awards/natanbookaward.

About the National Jewish Book Awards: The National Jewish Book Award was established by the Jewish Book Council in 1950 in order to recognize outstanding works of Jewish literature. As the longest-running North American awards program of its kind in the field of Jewish literature, the National Jewish Book Awards is designed to recognize outstanding books of Jewish interest. In addition to the above-mentioned winners, awards are given out this year in fourteen categories.