Helene Wecker Named 2014 Ribalow Prize Winner by Hadassah Magazine

Monday, Sep 22 2014

Renee Young, National Public Relations
(212) 303- 8140

NEW YORK– Hadassah Magazine is pleased to announce that Helene Wecker, author of the acclaimed novel The Golem and the Jinni, is the winner of the 2014 Harold U. Ribalow Prize for Jewish fiction. For the past 30 years, Hadassah Magazine has awarded the Ribalow prize annually to an author who has created an outstanding work of fiction on a Jewish theme. Wecker will be honored at a ceremony in early December in New York.

"We are delighted to honor Helene Wecker," said Marcie Natan, National President of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America. "Her incredible novel creatively and lovingly mixes figures from Jewish and Arab folklore in a familiar and lively New York landscape. We look forward to more works from this gifted artist, bolstered by our magazine’s prestigious award.”

The Golem and the Jinni is Wecker’s debut novel published by HarperCollins/Harper Perennial. Wecker weaves threads from Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature into a historical and magical tale set in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century. "I'm absolutely thrilled to have won the Ribalow Prize,” said Wecker. “I never imagined that my book would receive this sort of recognition from the Jewish literary community. I'm so grateful to Hadassah Magazine, and to the incredibly distinguished panel of judges.”

In addition to the Ribalow Prize, New York Times Bestselling The Golem and The Jinni has been named to numerous “Best Books of 2013” lists including Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Audible.com, Buzzfeed, BookPage, AV Club, GoodReads (Runner Up, A Must Read), The Atlantic (Runner Up).

The Golem and the Jinni “manages to combine the narrative magic of The Arabian Nights with the kind of emotional depth, philosophical seriousness, and good, old-fashioned storytelling found in the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer… “ wrote Patricia Cohen in The New York Times. “The author makes you care enough about the humanity of these magical sprits to not only see them through to the end but also to regret that you’ve reached the last page.”

Wecker was chosen by an independent panel of judges: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday and 2013 Ribalow Award winner Francesca Segal. Other finalists for the 2014 prize were Jacob’s Folly by Rebecca Miller (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux) and Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer (Houghton Mifflin). Among the long line of renowned authors who have won the Ribalow Prize from the award-winning Hadassah Magazine are Jonathan Safran Foer, Nathan Englander, Howard Jacobson and Edith Pearlman.

About the Author:

Helene Wecker is Jewish, and her husband’s family is Syrian, giving her a unique perspective on the mystical traditions and the immigrant experiences of the two cultures. Her fiction has appeared in the online magazine Joyland, and she has read from her stories at the KGB Bar in Manhattan and the Barbershop Reading Series in San Francisco. She received a B.A. from Carleton College in Minnesota and an M.F.A. from Columbia University in New York. A Chicago-area native who’s made her home in Minneapolis, Seattle, and New York, she now lives near San Francisco, CA with her husband and daughter. THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI is her first novel. *For more on Helene Wecker and her writing visit: helenewecker.com.

About the Award: Hadassah Magazine's annual literary award was established in 1983 by the friends and family of the late Harold U. Ribalow, an editor, writer and anthologist 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 sports writing.

HarperCollins Publishers, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children's books, cookbooks, narrative nonfiction, mystery, romance, reference, pop culture, design, health, wellness, and religious and spiritual books. With nearly 200 years of history, HarperCollins has published some of the world's foremost authors, including winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and the Caldecott Medal. HarperCollins is consistently at the forefront of innovation, using digital technology to create unique reading experiences and expand the reach of its authors. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers online at: http://www.harpercollins.com.


Hadassah is the largest Jewish women’s organization in the United States. With 330,000 members, associates and supporters across the country, Hadassah brings Jewish women together to effect change and advocate on criticalissues such as medical care and research, women's empowerment, and the security of Israel. Through the Hadassah Medical Organization's (HMO) two hospitals, the world-renowned trauma center and the leading research facility in Jerusalem, Hadassah supports the delivery of exemplary patient care to over a million people every year. HMO serves without regard to race, religion or nationality and earned a Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 2005 for building “bridges to peace” through equality in medical treatment. For more information, visit www.hadassah.org.

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