Idra Novey wins $100,000 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature


NEW YORK (JTA) — Idra Novey, author of the novel “Ways to Disappear,” won the 2017 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Novey takes home $100,000 for winning the prize, which was announced Wednesday by the Jewish Book Council at a ceremony at The Jewish Museum in New York.

Her book explores a translator’s search for a missing author in modern-day Brazil. It is the debut novel by Novey, a poet and translator who lives in Brooklyn.

The runner-up, Daniel Torday, received the $18,000 Choice Award for “The Last Flight of Poxl West,” which features alternative narrations by a Czech Holocaust survivor and a teenage boy in Boston who considers him a hero. The novel also won the 2015 National Jewish Book Award for fiction, also given by the JBC.

The Rohr Prize, which has been awarded annually since 2007, considers works of fiction and nonfiction in alternating years. It was created by the late businessman and philanthropist Sami Rohr to recognize emerging writers who articulate the Jewish experience as determined by a specific work, as well as the author’s potential to make significant ongoing contributions to Jewish literature.

The other finalists were Paul Goldberg for his novel “The Yid”; Adam Ehrlich Sachs for “Inherited Disorders”; and Rebecca Schiff, for her story collection “The Bed Moved.”

Last year’s winner was Lisa Moses Leff for her book  “The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust.”

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