Max Eisen, Matti Friedman among finalists for 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature

The winner of in each of the four categories will receive $10,000.
Max Eisen (left) and Matti Friedman were nominated in the history category for the 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature. (Nick Iwanyshyn/

Books by Max Eisen and Matti Friedman have been nominated for the 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature.

The annual prize honours Canadian Jewish writers and Canadian authors who write about Jewish subjects. There are four categories this year — fiction, nonfiction, history and children's/young adult — and each comes with a grand prize of $10,000.

Eisen and Friedman, who were also both shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, are nominated in the history category.

By Chance Alone is Max Eisen's harrowing and deeply emotional memoir about surviving Auschwitz during the Second World War. He moved to Canada in 1949 and has been educating Canadians about the Holocaust ever since.

Friedman, a journalist based in Israel, is nominated for Pumpkinflowers. The book recounts an unnamed war in the late 1990s fought between Israel and Lebanon, in which Friedman served as a soldier.

The history shortlist is rounded out by Ester Reiter for A Future Without Hate or Need. In the book, Reiter tells the story of politically dissident Jews from eastern Europe who were driven to Canada after the 1905 Russian revolution.

Finalists in the fiction category include:

  • School of Velocity by Eric Beck Rubin
  • Carry Me by Peter Behrens
  • For All the Men (and Some of the Women) I've Known by Danila Botha

Finalists in the nonfiction category include:

  • Closer by Sarah Barmak
  • White Walls by Judy Batalion
  • Chasing Utopia by David Leach
  • Toward a Hot Jew by Miriam Libicki

Finalists in the children's/young adult category include:

  • Feathered by Deborah Kerbel
  • Irena's Children by Tilar Mazzeo & Mary Farrell
  • Seeking Refuge by Irene N. Watts & Kathryn E. Shoemaker

Winners of the categories will be announced on Oct. 3, 2017.


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