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 natannotable@​jewishbooks.​org