Peter Behrens and Matti Friedman among winners of the 2017 Vine Awards

The awards — worth $10,000 each — honour the best Canadian Jewish writers and Canadian authors who deal with Jewish subjects.
Peter Behrens (left) and Matti Friedman are winners of the 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature. (Winky Lewis/Sebastian Sheiner)

Award-winning author Peter Behrens and journalist Matti Friedman are among the recipients of the 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature. The Koffler Centre of the Arts announced the winners of the $10,000 prizes at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Toronto on Oct. 3, 2017. 

The Vine Awards honour both the best Canadian Jewish writers and Canadian authors who deal with Jewish subjects, in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, history and young adult/children's literature.

The jury, consisting of Ami Sands Brodoff, Bob Bossin and Cary Fagan, selected the winners from 58 submissions accepted this year.  

Peter Behrens took home the prize in the fiction category for his historical novel Carry Me, which draws on his paternal family history in Europe during the First and Second World Wars.

"Behrens is a master, at home in the broad sweep of history and in the intimate detail of a character's experience. This is a novel that could be — should be — read in a hundred years," the jury said in a statement.

Pumpkinflowers by Matti Friedman, which chronicles the history of a hilltop during a nameless war in the 1990s, won in the history category. The jury applauded Friedman's ability to elevate journalism to "the level of art."

Miriam Libicki won the nonfiction category for her collection of graphic essays Toward a Hot Jew, and Irene N. Watts and illustrator Kathryn E. Shoemaker won the young adult/children's literature category for their YA graphic novel Seeking Refuge


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