Rabbi David Ellenson, PhD & Chancellor Arnold Eisen, PhD – March 15, 2019
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The Association of Jewish Libraries Announces 2019 Winners of Jewish Fiction Award
Mark Sarvas is the winner of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) Jewish Fiction Award for his novel Memento Park, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize as well as support to attend the 54th Annual Conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Woodland Hills, CA, June 17-19, 2019. Two honor books were also recognized: The Cloister by James Carroll, published by Nan Talese, an imprint of Knopf Doubleday, and The Fourth Corner of the World by Scott Nadelson, published by Engine Books. The Committee reviewed over 70 works of fiction originally written in English with significant Jewish thematic content that were published in the United States in 2018. Thanks to all those who submitted entries for consideration. The wide array of books published this year is a testament to the vibrant state of contemporary Jewish fiction.
The protagonist in Mark Sarvas’s second novel, Memento Park, becomes aware of a valuable painting believed to have been stolen from his family in World War II. In order to recover the mysterious work, he must reconnect with his father, his family history, and his own Judaism. “Dramatically paced and laced with mordant wit, Mark Sarvas has fashioned a meditation on art, family, faith, and Jewish history in the form of a suspenseful intellectual thriller,” notes Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, Chairperson of the Award Committee.