Austin Ratner wins Rohr prize for first novel


(JTA) — Austin Ratner was awarded the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his debut novel.

Ratner will receive the Jewish Book Council’s first prize award of $100,000 for "The Jump Artist." The book is based on the true story of Phillipe Halsman, a man who Adolf Hitler knew by name, who Sigmund Freud wrote about in 1930, and who put Marilyn Monroe on the cover of Life magazine.

Joseph Skibell, author of "A Curable Romantic," is the runner-up and recipient of the $25,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature Choice Award.

Other finalists were Allison Amend, author of "Stations West"; Nadia Kalman, author of "The Cosmopolitans"; and Julie Orringer, author of "The Invisible Bridge."

Established in 2006, the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature honors the contribution of contemporary writers in exploring and transmitting Jewish values. The prize is intended to encourage and promote the writing of Jewish interest. Fiction and nonfiction books are considered in alternate years.

The award ceremony will be held May 31 in New York.

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