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Howard Jacobson To Receive Harold U. Ribalow Prize

Author of The Finkler Question will receive annual literary award.
Press Release

NEW YORKHadassah Magazine has announced that this year's Harold U. Ribalow Prize will be awarded to Howard Jacobson, who wrote The Finkler Question, published in 2010. Every year, Hadassah Magazine honors an author who has created an outstanding work of fiction on a Jewish theme. The Finkler Question also was awarded the 2010 Man Booker Prize.

The book, Jacobson's 11th novel, set in modern-day England, focuses on the relationship between Sam Finkler, a recently widowed popular Jewish writer and TV personality, and his friend Julian Treslove, a washed-up former radio producer, who is not Jewish. One evening, the two visit the home of their former teacher, Libor Sevcik, also recently widowed, for dinner. Treslove is attacked on his way home, a crime he attributes to anti-Semitism and an experience that changes his entire outlook going forward. The book was published by Bloomsbury.

"I thought, when I won the Man Booker Prize in 2010, that I had attained the summit and was done with awards," Jacobson said. "But winning the Harold U. Ribalow Prize is an achievement of another order. America has so many great Jewish writers of its own that simply to be heard, let alone prized in your country, is a special and wholly unexpected honor. It is one I am very proud to accept."

Jacobson was chosen by an independent panel of judges that included Elie Wiesel, Elizabeth Rosner, Curt Leviant, and Sara Houghteling, last year's Ribalow Prize winner. A nominating committee consisting of three members of the Ribalow family and three representatives from Hadassah Magazine identified the initial list of nominees, which was then sent to the judges. In addition to Jacobson, the finalists were Sharon Pomerantz for Rich Boy, published by Twelve, and Nicole Krauss for Great House, published by W.W. Norton & Co.

"We are delighted to induct Howard Jacobson into the prestigious circle of writers who have received the Ribalow Prize," said Nancy Falchuk, Chair of Hadassah Magazine and immediate past national president of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. "For the past 28 years, this prize has brought honor to the recipients, but also to the great Jewish storytelling tradition."

The December/January issue of Hadassah Magazine features a profile on Jacobson as well as an excerpt from The Finkler Question.

Among the writers who have received the prestigious Harold U. Ribalow Prize since its inception in 1983 are Jonathan Safran Foer, Aharon Appelfeld, Louis Begley, Joseph Epstein, Todd Gitlin, Dara Horn, Anne Michaels, Francine Prose and Tamar Yellin.

An award ceremony is being planned for early next year.

About the Author: Howard Jacobson is an award-winning British writer who lives in London. Born in Manchester, England, in 1942, he attended Downing College, Cambridge, then taught at the University of Sydney before returning to England to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. Among the fiction and non-fiction he has published, his novels include The Mighty Walzer, Kalooki Nights and The Act of Love. He also has worked as a broadcast journalist.

About the Award: Hadassah Magazine's annual literary award for outstanding Jewish fiction was established in 1983 by the friends and family of the late Harold U. Ribalow, an editor and writer known for his passion for Jewish literature and his interest in promoting the work of many now-famous writers. Ribalow was inducted posthumously into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2009 for his contributions to society through Jewish sports writing.

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