Books

Laurie Gelman's Class Mom captures fiction prize at Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature

The television personality and author's comic novel was praised by the judges as a "worthy spoof of today's parents."
Laurie Gelman is a former journalist and the author of the comic novel Class Mom. (Michael Gelman/St. Martin's Press)

The Vine Awards, which annually celebrate Canadian literature authored by Jewish writers or about Jewish subjects, revealed the winners of their four $10,000 prizes for 2018 on Oct. 11, 2018. 

Laurie Gelman's debut novel Class Mom won the fiction category. The book follows the ups and downs of a mother who has signed up for class parent duty, only to get caught up with tricky school politics and endless requests for baked goods. The book was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour earlier this year.

"Class Mom by Laurie Gelman is a wonderful, clever and fun read providing a worthy spoof of today's parents: It's as close to 'soccer/hockey moms' in the classroom as you can get!" said the judges in a news release.

The nonfiction award went to Julija Šukys's Siberian Exile, in which the writer recounts her grandparents' resilience and survival under Stalin's regime.

"Julija Šukys's Serbian Exile is heroic in that it relentlessly unearths a dark and horrid history, even when the crimes she reveals have been committed by her own forebears," said the judges in a news release.

The top prize in the history category went to The Blue Shirts by Hugues Théorêt​, an investigation into the history of fascism and anti-semitism in Canada.

"Not enough is known about anti-semitism in Canada. It is still endured by many Jewish Canadians and this beautifully written book brings the subject into much needed sharp relief," said the judges in a news release.

Finally, the children's/young adult category winner was Rare is Everywhere by Deborah Katz. This picture book sheds light on different kinds of rare animals.

"Fun, exciting and such a different take on difference and diversity for our small children," said the judges.

The jury panel consisted of Beverly Chalmers, Joseph Kertes and Lee Maracle, who reviewed 59 entries altogether.

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