Edward Lewis Wallant Award
The Edward Lewis Wallant Award is one of the oldest and most prestigious Jewish literary awards in the United States. The annual award recognizes a Jewish writer, preferably unrecognized, whose published work of fiction is deemed to have significance for American Jews.
About the Award
The award was established shortly after the untimely death in December 1962 of Edward Lewis Wallant, gifted author of The Human Season and The Pawnbroker. Dr. and Mrs. Irving Waltman of West Hartford were prompted to create this memorial because of their admiration for Edward Wallant’s literary ability.
A panel of three critics serves as judges, and they seek out a writer whose fiction bears a kinship to the work of Wallant, and preferably an author who is younger and unrecognized. Among those who have received the award in past years are: Ayelet Tsabari, Rebecca Dinerstein, David Bezmozgis, Kenneth Bonert, Joshua Henkin, Edith Pearlman, Julie Orringer, Sara Houghteling, Eileen Pollack, Ehud Havazelet, Leo Litwak, Chaim Potok, Cynthia Ozick, Curt Leviant, Thane Rosenbaum, Myla Goldberg, Jonathan Rosen, and Nicole Krauss.
Wallant Award Anthology
In 2015, the Greenberg Center celebrated the publication of a Wallant Award anthology of past winners and finalists, titled The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction, edited by Victoria Aarons (Trinity University), Mark Shechner (University at Buffalo) and Avinoam Patt (University of Hartford). The New Diaspora, published by Wayne State University Press, brings together under one cover a representative group of those writers whose work has either won or been considered for the award. In recognition of the trajectory and development of American Jewish writing in the 50 years since the award was established, the volume reflects the breadth and ongoing vitality of the fiction written by and about Jews in America. Learn more about The New Diaspora.
2022 Wallant Award Recipient
Liana Finck for Let There Be Light: The Real Story of Her Creation
The novel reimages the story of Genesis with God as a woman, Abraham as a resident of New York City, and Rebekah as a robot. Penguin Random House calls it an ambitious and transcendent graphic novel and writes, "In Finck’s retelling, the millennia-old stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob and Esau haunt the pages like familiar but partially forgotten nursery rhymes―transmuted by time but still deeply resonant. With her trademark insightfulness, wry humor, and supple, moving visual style, Finck accentuates the latent sweetness and timeless wisdom of the original text, infusing it with wit and whimsy while retaining every ounce of its spiritual heft.”
Finck is a graphic novelist and a regular contributor to The New Yorker. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. She has had artist residencies with MacDowell, Yaddo, and Headlands Center for the Arts. Let There Be Light is her fourth book.
2021 Wallant Award Recipient
Hanna Halperin for Something Wild
In Something Wild, Hanna Halperin tackles a very serious topic—domestic violence—while brilliantly depicting the three women at the center of the novel—a mother and her two daughters.
Reviewers have praised the novel for its gripping and compassionate treatment of a family coping with the trauma of abuse. Writing in the New York Times book review, Scaachi Koul noted, “Something Wild creates a compelling, believable and upsetting portrayal of how trauma ripples through a family… good books sometimes cut to the bone, and this one feels like a scythe." Publishers Weekly describes the book as “bold and surprising. . . . unflinching and brave, Halperin’s story lays bare the characters’ nuanced and complicated responses to domestic violence. This haunting portrait of a broken family will stay with readers.”
Past Wallant Award Winners
|2020||Lee Connell||The Party Upstairs|
|2019||Peter Orner||Maggie Brown & Others|
|2017||Margot Singer||Underground Fugue|
|2017 - Runner Up||Rachel Hall||Heirlooms|
|2016||Ayelet Tsabari||The Best Place on Earth|
|2016 Runner-Up||Amy Gottlieb||The Beautiful Possible|
|2015||Rebecca Dinerstein||The Sunlit Night|
|2014||David Bezmozgis||The Betrayers|
|2013||Kenneth Bonert||The Lion Seeker|
|2012||Joshua Henkin||The World Without You|
|2011||Edith Pearlman||Binocular Vision|
|2010||Julie Orringer||The Invisible Bridge|
|2009||Sara Houghteling||Pictures at an Exhibition|
|2008||Eileen Pollack||In the Mouth|
|2007||Ehud Havazelet||Bearing the Body|
|2005||Nicole Krauss||The History of Love|
|2004||Jonathan Rosen||Joy Comes in the Morning|
|2003||Joan Leegant||An Hour in Paradise|
|2002||Dara Horn||In the Image|
|2001||Myla Goldberg||Bee Season|
|2000||Judy Budnitz||If I Told You Once|
|1999||Allegra Goodman||Kaaterskill Falls|
|1997||Harvey Grossinger||The Quarry|
|1996||Thane Rosenbaum||Elijah Visible|
|1993||Gerald Shapiro||From Hunger|
|1992||Melvin Jules Bukiet||Stories of an Imaginary Childhood|
|1989||Jerome Badanes||The Final Opus of Leon Solomon|
|1988||Tova Reich||Master of the Return|
|1987||Steve Stern||Lazar Malkin Enters Heaven|
|1985||Jay Neuseboren||Before My Life Begins|
|1983||Francine Prose||Hungry Hearts|
|1981||Allen Hoffman||Kaganís Superfecta|
|1980||Johanna Kaplan||O My America|
|1977||Curt Leviant||The Yemenite Girl|
|1975||Anne Bernays||Growing Up Rich|
|1974||Susan Fromberg Schaeffer||Anya|
|1973||Arthur A. Cohen||In the Days of Simon Stern|
|1971||Cynthia Ozick||The Pagan Rabbi|
|1969||Leo Litwak||Waiting for the News|
|1967||Chaim Potok||The Chosen|
|1966||Gene Hurwitz||Home Is Where You Start From|
|1965||Hugh Nissenson||A Pile of Stones|
|1963||Norman Fruchter||Coat Upon a Stick|
Submission Deadline: November 1 of Each Year
New submissions are welcomed annually.
For more information, contact Avinoam Patt, PhD, adjunct professor and coordinator of the Wallant Award Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.