Two Authors Named Joint Winners of 2015 JQ Wingate Prize
In an exciting development, last night two authors were named as joint winners of this year's JQ Wingate Prize. Awarded annually to the best book to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader, Michel Laub, one of Granta’s Best of Young Brazilian Novelists and Thomas Harding, shortlisted for a Costa Book Award and one of our previous Non-Fiction Books of the Month, will share the honours.
Founded in 1977, there were originally separate fiction and non-fiction categories for the prize until the two were merged in 2006. This is the first year that the judges have chosen to split the prize.
Laub’s novel, Diary of the Fall, tells the story of three generations: a man examining the mistakes of his past, and his struggle for forgiveness; a father with Alzheimer's, for whom recording every memory has become an obsession; and a grandfather who survived Auschwitz, filling notebook after notebook with the false memories of someone desperate to forget. You can read an extract here.
Judge Eva Hoffman said: "Our decision to award two prizes this year reflects not only the difficulty of judging fiction against non-fiction, but our wish to mark the very high quality of the books on our shortlist, in both categories. We were conscious that several of them would have been well deserving of the prize; but in the end, we felt that the two winning books -- chosen after intense and absorbing discussions – stood out in the scope and completeness of their achievement. In their different genres, each is formally inventive, beautifully written and highly readable. Perhaps it is not sheer coincidence that, through a fictional and non-fictional lens, they both reach back to a formative event in Jewish and world history – the Holocaust – addressing it from the vantage point of the present moment, and reflecting on it through layers of generations, memory and history."