A long-list of 12 books including novels and historical non-fiction has been drawn up and will now be considered for the 2018 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, the winner of which gets £4,000.
This year’s list includes novels by well-known authors such as previous winner Amos Oz, with the selection covering three continents and spanning almost a century.
The prize is awarded to the book that judges feel best translates the idea of Jewishness to the general reader, and the winner will be announced on 15 February at JW3.
Among the long-list are four novels set in Britain, America and Israel, and organisers said this week that the theme of identity runs through the list despite its diverse range of subjects.
“The Shoah, Israel and family are recurring leitmotifs, but if there’s one overriding theme it is identity: national, cultural and psychological; its contingency, construction and mutability, the borders it builds and wilfully traverses,” said chair of judges Toby Lichtig.
“The Jewish experience – with its long history, complex diaspora and vexed relationship with place – is perhaps particularly well-suited to current, often ugly debates about citizenship, migration and belonging. As such, this feels like a selection of literature for our time.”
Historical studies on the list include a new survey of the Holocaust, one of Adolf Hitler’s early years, another showing Israel’s borders and demographics in a new light, while others explore Jewish mysticism and the often-fraught – and sometimes funny – vagaries of domestic life.