Lagnado takes top Jewish literature prize


Lucette Lagnado won the top prize in Jewish literature.

Lagnado picked up the $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for “The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit: My Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World.”

It was the inaugural winner of the Rohr Prize for Jewish non-fiction. A fiction prize is awarded in alternate years.

The Rohr prize is the largest in Jewish publishing and one of the largest literary prizes of any kind.

Administered by the Jewish Book Council, it was created in 2006 to honor the 80th birthday of philanthropist Sami Rohr.

Lagnado’s book is based on the story of her aristocratic Jewish family’s mid-20th century flight from Egypt and eventual resettling in Brooklyn. They formed part of the mass exodus of 1 million Jews from their Arab homelands in the wake of the founding of Israel.

Two $7,500 Choice Awards also were named: Ilana Blumberg for “Houses of Study: A Jewish Woman Among Books,” and Eric Goldstein for “The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race and American Identity.”

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