Books

David Bezmozgis's Immigrant City among finalists for $10K Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature

The Vine Awards honour the best Canadian literature by Jewish writers or on Jewish subjects in fiction, nonfiction, history and children's literature.
Immigrant City is a short story collection by David Bezmozgis. (HarperCollins Canada)

The Vine Awards honour the best Canadian literature by Jewish writers or on Jewish subjects.

There are four categories in 2020 — fiction, history nonfiction and children's literature — and each comes with a grand prize of $10,000.

Bezmozgis is nominated in the fiction category for Immigrant City.

 Immigrant City is a short story collection about the contemporary Canadian immigrant experience. It was shortlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Also nominated in the fiction category is Agnes, Murderess by Sarah Leavitt and Turbulence by David Szalay.

Agnes, Murderess is inspired by the local legend of serial killer Agnes McVee, a 19th-century roadhouse owner from British Columbia who allegedly killed miners for gold during the Cariboo Gold Rush.

Turbulence links the stories of 12 passengers on a series of flights around the world. The narrative passes from one character to the next, each chapter exploring a new personal crisis.

The three books in the nonfiction category are Tiny Lights for Travellers by Naomi K. Lewis, The Art of Leaving by Ayelet Tsabari and Driving to Treblinka by Diana Wichtel.

Tiny Lights for Travellers is about how Lewis found her Opa's diary, which details his escape from Nazi-occupied Netherlands in 1942, and took a trip to Amsterdam to retracee his journey. 

Tiny Lights for Travellers was a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction.

The Art of Leaving is about how Tsabari started to make trips back to Israel and began digging into her Jewish-Yemeni background.

The Art of Leaving was on the shortlist for the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

Driving to Treblinka is about Wichtel's search to find her father, a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust only to disappear after the rest of Wichtel's family moved from Canada to New Zealand.

The 2020 jury was comprised of Judy Batalion, Allan Levine and Shani Mootoo.

"The creativity and talent of the writers on the shortlist of this year's Vine Awards are exemplary," Levine said in a statement. "The nominees' range of subject matter – from nineteenth century British Columbia to the ports of Halifax and Beirut in 1948 and to memoirs of the Holocaust to the Yemeni immigrant experience – is diverse, original, thought-provoking and a pleasure to read."

The winners will be announced on Nov. 18, 2020. You can see the complete list of finalists below.

Fiction

History

Nonfiction

Young adult and children's literature

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