The Arty Semite

Canadian Jewish Author Nominated for Man Booker Prize

By Forward Staff

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Kevin Kelly

Alison Pick, who won the Canadian Jewish Book Award earlier this year for her novel “Far to Go,” was longlisted today, along with 12 other writers, for the annual Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Pick grew up not knowing that her father’s family was Jewish, and only learned the truth of her family’s history as an adult. That process of discovery is reflected in her novel, which is about a Czechoslovakian Jewish family on the eve of World War II. As she told Renee Ghert-Zand in an interview for The Arty Semite,

For me, because I’m a writer, part of the way I wanted to explore this background was by writing a novel that was set in the same time and place and same historical circumstance that my grandparents had lived in. That said, I was very clear from the outset that I didn’t want to write their story, so the characters in “Far To Go” share some of the characteristics of my grandparents, but beyond those surface details, the fate of the characters is very different from my grandparents’ eventual fate.

Pick seems to be the only Jewish author nominated this year for the prestigious prize, which is worth £50,000. Last year, the honor was awarded to British Jewish author Howard Jacobson for his novel “The Finkler Question.” Will a Jewish writer take home the Man Booker two years in a row? We’ll have to wait and see!

Read a Q&A with Alison Pick here.


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