TAMAR YELLIN, BRITISH FIRST-TIME NOVELIST, RECEIVES 2006 RIBALOW AWARD
(New York, NY - December 14, 2006) -Tamar Yellin, author of The Genizah at the House of Shepher, received the 2006 Harold U. Ribalow Prize earlier this week at a ceremony at The Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. Administered by the award-winning Hadassah Magazine, the Ribalow Prize is given annually to an author who has created an outstanding work of fiction on a Jewish theme.
This year's panel of judges included Elie Wiesel, Prof. Jonathan Freedman, and last year's Ribalow recipient, Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us. The award was established in 1983 by friends and family of Harold U. Ribalow, an editor, author and humanist, to honor his memory.
The Genizah at the House of Shepher is the story of a biblical scholar from England who returns to her grandparents' home in Jerusalem after a long absence - and lands in the midst of a new family struggle and an old family fable. It is a large-canvas story of exile and belonging, displacement and the quest for both love and a true promised land. Yellin's first novel, it was published in 2005 by Toby Press to wide critical acclaim.
In speaking of her book, Yellin told the audience: "I wanted to produce a book that was…a search for identity and the contradictory yearning to be free of it. And that search is the unanswered question at the center of the novel …The restlessness that our heritage arouses in us will not sleep - Jewish people will always be wanderers and wonderers."
Tamar Yellin was born in the north of England. Her father was a third generation Jerusalemite and her mother the daughter of a Polish immigrant. She began writing fiction at an early age, and the creative tension between her Jewish heritage and her Yorkshire roots has informed much of her work.
Recent winners of the Ribalow Prize have included Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated, and Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season, two writers whose books were later released as movies.