One of the Jewish world’s foremost literary prizes has whittled a longlist of entries down to a shortlist of six, with the winner set to be announced on 15 February.
Among the shortlisted authors for the JQ Literary Wingate Prize 2018 is a former creative director of history programmes for the BBC, a Liverpudlian former Guardian journalist, a cognitive behavioura l professor and a poet with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Judges determining the winner of the £4,000 prize will now consider The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank, The Dark Circle by Linda Grant, The Unchosen by Mya Guarnieri Jaradat, Small Pieces by Joanne Limburg, Stranger in a Strange Land by George Prochnik and The Holocaust by Laurence Rees.
Now in its 41st year, the prize shortlist comprises of one novel, two memoirs, a biography, a history and a work of investigative journalism and is given to the best book, fiction or non-fiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader.
“We’re delighted with this shortlist, which demonstrates the depth, vitality and diversity of Jewish writing across genres, generations and continents,” said chair of judges Toby Lichtig. “Family, belonging, outsiders and outliers all feature strongly, as does a mixture of comedy and tragedy.”
He said that while the books showcased specifically Jewish experiences, they also dealt with “matters of universal human importance, such as identity, kinship, what it means to be part of a group, or to break away from one, and how to treat others”.
Lichtig added: “These are six books to stimulate, educate, vex and entertain: a cross-section of the best of contemporary Jewish writing.”