The Jewish Independent is among the winners of this year’s American Jewish Press Association Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism. The awards were presented at the AJPA annual conference, held in conjunction with the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly in Los Angeles, Nov. 13-15.
The JI won first place for excellence in editorial writing for a trio of opinion pieces: “Let’s talk about Nini …” (Feb. 26, 2016), “Much more yet to learn” (Oct. 7, 2016) and “Inspired by Standing Rock” (Dec. 9, 2016). Placing second in the same circulation category (14,999 and under) was Intermountain Jewish News, based in Denver, Colo.
About the Independent’s “Let’s talk about Nini …” submission, the AJPA’s Rockower jury commented that it demonstrated “great writing, clear intent and galvanized a call to action in support of Jewish Federation’s decision to host an Israeli singer with controversial political views. Readers took heed.”
The editorial “Much more yet to learn” was about the need for Holocaust education and “Inspired by Standing Rock” connected the story of Chanukah, “of standing for one’s beliefs (and existence) and triumphing in the end,” with that of the protesters in North Dakota, who stood up against the U.S. government’s plans to run an oil pipeline through a cemetery and under a water reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.
Jewish community member Paul Shore of Whistler won this year’s Whistler Independent Book Awards (WIBA) non-fiction prize for his memoir Uncorked, set within the rampart walls of a village in Provence. Farida Somjee of Vancouver won the WIBA fiction prize for her novel The Beggar’s Dance, set in the streets of coastal Africa.
The winners were announced by WIBA organizers Lynn Duncan and Kilmeny Denny at the Whistler Writers Festival’s improvisational Literary Cabaret at the Maury Young Arts Centre. Two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Canadian Humour Terry Fallis said, “It is wonderful to see talented, up-and-coming, independent authors recognized. It is a challenging process to start out on your own and work to have your creativity discovered.”
“In Uncorked, Shore’s use of the game of pétanque as a point of entry to address areas of personal alienation is a great literary and narrative choice,” said J.J. Lee, one of the judges for the non-fiction award, and CBC radio host, author and Governor General’s Literary Award finalist. “This memoir made me laugh; especially Paul’s foil Hubert, who is a star. And its funny and illuminating stories contain a soul that is touching, too!”
[For the Independent’s review of Uncorked, click here.]