Canadian Jewish Literary Awards honours 2020 recipients in virtual ceremony


The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards celebrated nine outstanding Jewish themed works this year, with an online presentation ceremony on Oct. 25.

Now in its sixth year, the awards program recognizes Jewish writing in fiction, biography, Jewish thought and culture, poetry, history, books for children and youth, Yiddish, scholarship, and Holocaust categories.

“The Canadian Jewish Literary Awards has become an important part of the Canadian Jewish and cultural calendars, with the support of York University, a welcoming home for books, creative endeavors, and scholarly achievement,” said the Jury Chair, Edward Trapunski. “The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University provides the infrastructure so that the Awards can thrive and succeed.”

In past years, the celebratory event has been held at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall at York, attracting audiences and authors from around the world. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the presentation ceremony was delivered in a virtual format.

This year’s winners:

  • Fiction: Abraham Boyarsky for Through Shadows Slow (8th House Publishing)
  • Jewish Thought and Culture Tanhum Yoreh for Waste Not: A Jewish Environmental Ethic (SUNY Press)
  • Biography: Hernan Tesler-Mabé for Mahler’s Forgotten Conductor: Heinz Unger and His Search for Jewish Meaning, 1895–1965 (Yale University Press)
  • History: Derek Penslar for Theodor Herzl: The Charismatic Leader (Yale University Press)
  • Children/Youth: Edeet Ravel for A Boy is Not a Bird (Groundwood Books)
  • Yiddish: Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert, editors, for How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish (Restless Books)
  • Scholarship: David Novak for Athens and Jerusalem: God, Humans, and Nature (University of Toronto Press)
  • Poetry: Elana Wolff for Swoon (Guernica Editions)
  • Holocaust: Laurent Sagalovitsch for Le Temps des orphelins (Buchet/Chastel)

For more on the awards, visit