The University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies has named author Ayelet Tsabari as the winner of the 2016 Edward Lewis Wallant Award for her outstanding short story collection, The Best Place on Earth (Random House, 2016). This year, the Greenberg Center also selected a runner-up for the award—author Amy Gottlieb—for her debut novel, The Beautiful Possible (Harper Collins, 2016).
Both authors will be honored at an Award ceremony Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at 7 p.m. at the Mandell Jewish Community Center, West Hartford, Conn., as part of the 2016-17 Mandell Center’s Book Festival series.
Established in 1963 by Dr. and Mrs. Irving Waltman of West Hartford to honor the memory of the late writer Edward Lewis Wallant, author of The Pawnbroker, the Wallant Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious Jewish literary awards in the U.S. It is presented to a Jewish writer, preferably unrecognized, whose published work of fiction is deemed to have significance for the American Jew.
The Best Place on Earth won the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, and was nominated for The Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
Born in Israel, Tsabari was first published at the age of 10 in an Israeli children’s magazine. She worked as a freelance journalist from the age of 15 and moved to Vancouver, Canada, in 1998 where she studied film and photography in Capilano University’s Media Program. She directed two documentary films, one of which won an award at the Palm Spring International Short Film Festival. Tsabari was named as one of 10 Canadian Writers to Watch by CBC Books and was awarded a Chalmers Arts Fellowship by the Ontario Arts Council. She is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio, and the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph. She teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education.
First runner-up Amy Gottlieb’s debut book, The Beautiful Possible, spans 70 years and several continents—from a refugee’s shattered dreams in 1938 Berlin, to a discontented American couple in the 1950s, to a young woman’s life in modern-day Jerusalem. Gottlieb is a graduate of Clark University and the University of Chicago. Her fiction and poetry have been published in Other Voices, Lilith, Puerto del Sol, Zeek, Storyscape, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poetry, and elsewhere. She has received a Literary Fellowship and Residency from the Bronx Council on the Arts and an Arts Fellowship from the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education.
For more information, contact the Greenberg Center’s Susan Gottlieb at 860.768.4964, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Details about the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, can be found at hartford.edu/a_and_s/greenberg/wallant/default.aspx.