Sunday, June 3, 2012

Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards

The 24th annual Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards have been announced. These awards celebrate excellence in writing on Jewish themes and subjects. Here are the winners most likely to be of interest to readers of this blog:

The winner of the biography category is A Fiery Soul : the life and theatrical times of John Hirsch (M) by Fraidie Martz and Andrew Wilson:

"John Hirsch arrived in Winnipeg in 1947, a 17-year-old Hungarian orphan of the Holocaust, knowing no English. Ten years later, he co-founded the Manitoba Theatre Centre, establishing a model for regional theatres across North America. He went on to direct award-winning productions in Los Angeles, New York, Stratford and Toronto -- everything from Guys and Dolls to The Tempest -and to work with actors like Len Cariou, Martha Henry, Anthony Hopkins, and Maggie Smith. Notorious for his fiery temper, budget-blowing sets, and artistic risk-taking, he had a stormy four years as CBC's head of TV drama in the 1970s (high and low points include King of Kensington and Peter Lougheed's lawsuit over The Tar Sands ), and an even stormier tenure as Artistic Director at the Stratford Festival from 1981 to 1985. He died in 1989 of AIDS". -publisher

The winner of the fiction category is The Free World (M) by David Bezmozgis:

"“In the summer of 1978, the Krasnansky family, three generations of Russian Jews, escaped to freedom through a crack in the Iron Curtain and landed in Italy, where they spent the next six months. They immersed themselves in the carnival of emigration, an Italy rife with love affairs and ruthless hustles, with dislocation and nostalgia, with the promise and peril of a better life.” - publisher

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