Natan Fund and the Jewish Book Council are thrilled to announce the Fall 2021 Natan Notable Book winner: Dara Horn’s People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present (W.W. Norton, 2021).
Natan Notable Books at the Jewish Book Council has previously been awarded to Ilan Stavans’ The Seventh Heaven: Travels Through Jewish Latin America (2020), Nancy Sinkoff’s From Left to Right: Lucy S. Dawidowicz, the New York Intellectuals, and the Politics of Jewish History (2020), Bari Weiss’ How to Fight Anti-Semitism (2019), and Susie Linfield’s The Lion’s Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky (2019). Natan Notable Books is an evolution of the Natan Book Award, which was previously awarded to Matti Friedman’s Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel (2018) and Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel (2013).
Twice a year, Natan Notable Books recognizes recently published or about-to-be-published non-fiction books that promise to catalyze conversations aligned with the themes of Natan’s grantmaking: reinventing Jewish life and community for the twenty-first century, shifting notions of individual and collective Jewish identity, the history and future of Israel, understanding and confronting contemporary forms of antisemitism, and the evolving relationship between Israel and world Jewry.
In People Love Dead Jews, Dara Horn confronts the version of Jewish history used by many that centers dead Jews above the lived and rich experiences and cultures of thriving Jewish life and communities. Traveling from Harbin, China to New Jersey, Horn explores representation across cultural mediums — film, theater, literature — and the perception of Jews in history and today. The audaciously titled piece of work also addresses the ways in which Jews are encouraged and pushed into self-erasure within a non-Jewish society. With Natan Fund’s commitment to both confronting antisemitism and creating new access points to Jewish life, People Love Dead Jews sheds a new light on longstanding conversations.
“Dara Horn practically leaps at readers from the pages of People Love Dead Jews , forcefully reminding us that the way we remember dead Jews has bearing on our actions as living Jews,” says Daniel Bonner, Executive Director of the Paul E. Singer Foundation and member of Natan’s Notable Books Committee. “It’s provocative. It’s moving. It’s tragic. And it is an essential addition to the contemporary Jewish bookshelf.”
The author will receive a $5,000 cash prize, as well as customized support for promoting the book and its ideas, drawing on Natan’s and Jewish Book Council’s extensive networks throughout the Jewish philanthropic and communal worlds.
The deadline for submission for Spring 2022 Natan Notable Books is April 1, 2022. For more information on eligibility or to submit a title, go to the Natan Notable Books page. Inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.