Winner of the Sami Rohr Prize Is Revealed

May 3, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: Kirkus Reviews (by Michael Schaub).

he winner of this year’s Sami Rohr Prize, given annually to an emerging writer who “demonstrates the potential for continued contribution to the world of Jewish literature,” is Jerusalem Beach, written by Iddo Gefen and translated by Daniella Zamir. Zamir is the first translator to win the award.

The story collection, published last August by Astra House, explores the connection between technology and human life in modern-day Israel. A critic for Kirkus wrote of the book, “[Gefen’s] philosophical concerns and ability to combine humor with grim resignation to the conditions of everyday life in Israel recall Etgar Keret.”

The three other finalists for the prize were The Book of V. by Anna Solomon; The Lost Shtetl by Max Gross; and I’d Like To Say Sorry, But There’s No One To Say Sorry To, written by Mikolaj Grynberg and translated by Sean Gasper Bye.

George Rohr, one of the prize’s founders, said of the finalists, "Their books embody the spirit of the Sami Rohr Prize by reflecting the depth and breadth of the Jewish experience, and we look forward to their continued contribution to Jewish literature, culture and community.”

In a statement, Gefen said it was an “incredible honor” to win the award.

“I am filled with gratitude for being considered alongside such talented writers, and to be a part of a cultural community that has such a profound impact on Jewish literature,” he said.

The Sami Rohr Prize, named after the businessman and philanthropist who died in 2012, was established in 2006 by his children in honor of his 80th birthday. The award alternates annually between fiction and nonfiction, and comes with a $100,000 cash prize, of which Gefen will receive $75,000, and Zamir $25,000.

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