Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tarek Fatah & the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards

It’s that time of year again: warmer weather, leaves on trees, gardens growing and… the very best in Canadian writing on Jewish themes and subjects! The 23rd annual Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards returns on May 30 at 8 PM – this year at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon at Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street. The ceremony is FREE and will be followed by a book signing with ALL the winning authors – please join us and bring your friends!

Each year, the Jury decides on the number and type of awards depending on the submissions and their eligibility. This year, six awards will be presented for books published between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.

Tarek Fatah’s critically acclaimed The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism has won in the Politics and History category. Fatah’s second book, it debunks the anti-Jewish writings of Islamic literature and argues that hating Jews is against the essence of the Islamic spirit. The Jury commended Fatah on his courage to write the book, and his “diligent scholarly and journalistic research examining the historical, political and theological ideas. In the end the book is a personal history of a journey towards tolerance and reconciliation.” Fatah also spoke on the book to a full house of over 500 people at the Toronto Jewish Book Fair back in October 2010 (see some pics here on our Flickr page).

Fatah (pictured above) will be there on Monday to accept his award with family and friends. It will be his first public appearance in almost 4 months – he has been courageously battling cancer and undergoing treatment since February. Fatah told us he is looking forward to putting on shirt and tie for the Awards ceremony – that it’s “literally the first day of the next part of my life.” He also told us that copies of The Jew is Not Enemy have been smuggled into Pakistan and that people have been asking for the Arabic-language version of the book.

Far to Go by award winning Toronto-based author Alison Pick (above) – an epic historical novel tracing one family’s journey from Czechoslovakia to Canada during the Second World War – has won in the Fiction category. The book has been praised across the country and beyond and was called “one of the best books of the year” by CBC Radio’s Shelagh Rogers (read an interview with Alison in The Forward here). 

Mordecai: The Life and Times, Charles Foran’s (above) definitive, detailed, intimate portrait of legendary Canadian author Mordecai Richler, has won in the Biography & Memoir category.

The 2011 winners are:

Alison Pick, Far to Go
Published by House of Anansi Press Inc.

Tarek Fatah, The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism
Published by McClelland & Stewart

Robert Eli Rubinstein, An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life In Canada
Published by Urim Publications

Charles Foran, Mordecai: The Life and Times
Published by Random House Canada

Harold Troper, The Defining Decade: Identity, Politics, and the Canadian Jewish Community in the 1960s
Published by University of Toronto Press

Judie Oron, Cry of the Giraffe
Published by Annick Press

See you on Monday!

1 comment:

Lori said...

Be there to honor the writers.