Canadian Jewish Literary Awards celebrates eight books


The 2022 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards will celebrate eight books in a ceremony on Oct. 23.

Now in its eighth year, the awards program recognizes and rewards the finest Canadian writing on Jewish themes and subjects. Jewish writing in fiction, biography, Jewish thought and culture, poetry, history, books for children and youth, Yiddish, scholarship and Holocaust categories are considered. The event is supported by the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University.

This year, the awards program received the most submissions in the history of the awards, and the jury faced tough decisions.

Winners have been selected in fiction, biography, poetry, history, Yiddish, scholarship, Holocaust, and books for children and youth.

The awards ceremony will be presented in person at York University and streamed for the public on Zoom on Oct. 23 at 2:00 pm, and will be available for later viewing on the Canadian Jewish Literary Awards YouTube channel. The winning authors in attendance will speak about their books and answer questions submitted by the audience.

The honourees are:

Fiction – Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart (Freehand Books) by Cary Fagan
This is a delightful collection of 10 short stories with a diverse range of seemingly ordinary people who take a
chance on life and discover that they can, if the occasion arrives, be extraordinary.

Biography – But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust (New Jewish Press) edited by Charlotte Schallié
This book arose from encounters between Holocaust survivors and artists born later. It exemplifies the power of the non-fiction graphic novel to convey the experience and aftereffects of the Shoah.

Poetry – Broken Dawn Blessings (ECW Press) by Adam Sol
This is an astonishing and powerful new collection of poems and roughly follows Birkhot haShachar (Blessings of the Dawn), a series of prayers recited by observant Jews immediately upon waking each morning. This is a masterful
work searching personal and public pain and moments of blessing, joy, and wonder.

Children and Youth – Sorry for Your Loss (Orca Book Publishers) by Joanne Levy
This beautifully written book deals with the Jewish rituals surrounding death while immersing the reader in a heartwarming story about love, loss, family, and the healing power of friendship.

Scholarship – Wealth, Poverty, and Charity in Jewish Antiquity (University of California Press) by Gregg
E. Gardner, the founding chair of the Jewish Studies program at the University of British

We have perceptions about how central wealth, poverty and charity are to Judaism. The book explores the origins of these concepts – how the earliest rabbis from the time of Talmud reflected on these notions, and how their interpretations differed from and informed how Jews approach those concepts today.

Holocaust – Kingdom of Night: Witnesses to The Holocaust (University of Toronto Press) by Mark Celinscak
This book compiles stark and moving personal accounts by Canadians engaged in the liberation of one of the most notorious sites in Hitler’s camp system.

History – In the Midst of Civilized Europe: The Pogroms of 1918–1921 and the Onset of the Holocaust (HarperCollins Canada) by Jeffrey Veidlinger
This book masterfully reclaims an almost forgotten period of modern Jewish history. The mass murder of Jews of Ukraine in the years immediately following the First World War has been overshadowed by the brutality of the Nazi

Yiddish – From The Vilna Ghetto to Nuremberg: Memoir and Testimony (McGill-Queens University Press) by Abraham Sutzkever, translated by Justin D. Cammy
This book provides the first full English translation of Sutzkever’s memoirs 75 years after they first appeared in Yiddish in 1946. Sutzkever has been called the greatest poet of the Holocaust by the New York Times.