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New book awards support Jewish writers and topics

The Jewish Independent
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Published: 28 March 2024

Last updated: 25 March 2024

Jewish books and writers will be honoured in theShalom Australian Jewish Book Awards, a new program to recognise excellence in contemporary Jewish Australian writing.

Two inaugural prizes will be awarded in August of 2024 for books published during the 2023 calendar year.

The Leslie and Sophie Caplan Award for Jewish Non-Fiction will go to a work of significant relevance to the Jewish experience, that falls into the category of categories of Jewish studies, autobiography, biography, memoir, history, or journalism. The winner will receive a $10,000 prize and an on-stage interview at the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival (SJWF) as part of the award ceremony.

 The Jewish Independent Young Jewish Writers Award will go to a Jewish author aged 18 to 40, for a work of fiction or non-fiction on a Jewish subject. The winner will receive a $5,000 prize and an on-stage interview at the SJWF as part of the award ceremony.

Shalom has established the awards to promote reading on Jewish subjects and to inspire and support current and future Australian. Encouraging Australian Jewish literacy is a core value of the organisation, which also supports the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival, a year-long program of interactive events showcasing Jewish authors and works.

“We hope that the establishment of this award will help cultivate and support a flourishing local arts community, provide a platform for authors to receive further exposure and publicity, and award writers with a monetary prize to further support their literary pursuits,” explained Anna Stern, Deputy Director of Programs at Shalom who initiated the project.

The Jewish Independent’s publisher Uri Windt said sponsoring a book award was an excellent match for The Jewish Independent’s commitment to engaging with change.

“As a media organisation we are acutely aware of the power of words. Books and culture are as important as bricks and mortar. We are thrilled to help promote young authors advance their careers through this opportunity.” 

The Leslie and Sophie Caplan Award for Jewish Non-Fiction has been donated by the Caplan Family to honour the memory of their parents, pillars of the Sydney Jewish community who had a keen interest in modern Jewish history and literature. 

Submissions will open on 29 February 2024 and close on 4 April and the winner will be announced in August.

Further information and applications via Shalom Australian Jewish Book Award


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The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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