The Best Place on Earth wins the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

Since I can’t seem to get my act together and write about how my life changed entirely over the past few weeks, since winning the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, I am posting some photos from the award ceremony. The gala took place in the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York on May 7, 2015. My mother flew in from Israel with one of my brothers, and my other brother came from Montreal. Sean’s aunt arrived from Vancouver and my agents, Kim Witherspoon and David Forrer (AKA miracle workers), were there too. The day before, on the way to the Museum of Jewish Heritage for a panel discussion with the finalists, I took a spill and sprained my ankle, and so on the night of the ceremony had to forego my beautiful elegant wedges in favour of $13 flats my sweet brother had bought me at Payless, an elastic bandage, and a not so graceful limp. It was a beautiful event nevertheless, with a string quartet and appetizers that looked like art installations. “It’s like my wedding day!” I said when I walked into the museum. “But you didn’t get to choose the flowers,” my brother said. “Even better,” I said.

Despite the months that have passed since the award announcement, I am still sometimes stunned by it: no exaggeration. Just few days ago Sean said, “I still can’t believe you won this thing,” and I said, “I still can’t believe I was nominated!” And I am not being humble here. They were an intimidatingly impressive bunch, the other four finalists: Yelena Akhtiorskaya was one of Five Under Thirty Five by the National Book Foundation (nominated by Aleksandar Hemon, no less!), Boris Fishman was on the editorial staff of The New Yorker, and received rave reviews from The New York Times (and just won this award), Molly Antopol recently won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and was nominated for a bunch of other awards, and Kenneth Bonert won the 2013 National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut Fiction. They are amazing! (And also awesome, kind people I enjoyed spending time with.)

You can watch the video of my acceptance speech (also below), in which I speak about the impact this award has already made on my life and my career, and express my immense gratitude and joy. And maybe that says it all. Maybe I don’t need to add anything more.






4 comments on The Best Place on Earth wins the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

  • Ron Read

    A most worthy recipient, Ayelet. Congratulations on the Random House deal- I will wait patiently for the first of those 3 books.

  • K.A. MacKinnon

    Congratulations, Ayelet!! That’s wonderful news!

  • Ayelet

    Thank you, Ron!

  • Ayelet

    Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *