The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction

Overview

The Edward Lewis Wallant Award was founded by the family of Dr. Irving and Fran Waltman in 1963 and is supported by the University of Hartford?s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. It is given annually to an American writer, preferably early in his or her career, whose fiction is considered significant for American Jews. In The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction, editors Victoria Aarons, Avinoam J. Patt, and Mark Shechner, who have all served as judges for the award, present ...

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Overview

The Edward Lewis Wallant Award was founded by the family of Dr. Irving and Fran Waltman in 1963 and is supported by the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. It is given annually to an American writer, preferably early in his or her career, whose fiction is considered significant for American Jews. In The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction, editors Victoria Aarons, Avinoam J. Patt, and Mark Shechner, who have all served as judges for the award, present vital, original, and wide-ranging fiction by writers whose work has been considered or selected for the award. The resulting collection highlights the exemplary place of the Wallant Award in Jewish literature.

With a mix of stories and novel chapters, The New Diaspora reprints selections of short fiction from such well-known writers as Rebecca Goldstein, Nathan Englander, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dara Horn, Julie Orringer, and Nicole Krauss. The first half of the anthology presents pieces by winners of the Wallant award, focusing on the best work of recent winners. The New Diaspora’s second half reflects the evolving landscape of American Jewish fiction over the last fifty years, as many authors working in America are not American by birth, and their fiction has become more experimental in nature. Pieces in this section represent authors with roots all over the world—including Russia (Maxim Shrayer, Nadia Kalman, and Lara Vapnyar), Latvia (David Bezmozgis), South Africa (Tony Eprile), Canada (Robert Majzels), and Israel (Avner Mandelman, who now lives in Canada).

This collection offers an expanded canon of Jewish writing in North America and foregrounds a vision of its variety, its uniqueness, its cosmopolitanism, and its evolving perspectives on Jewish life. It celebrates the continuing vitality and fresh visions of contemporary Jewish writing, even as it highlights its debt to history and embrace of collective memory. Readers of contemporary American fiction and Jewish cultural history will find The New Diaspora enlightening and deeply engaging.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814340554
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2014
  • Pages: 608

Meet the Author

Victoria Aarons is O. R. & Eva Mitchell Distinguished Professor of Literature at Trinity University and the author of A Measure of Memory: Storytelling and Identity in American Jewish Fiction and What Happened to Abraham?: Reinventing the Covenant in American Jewish Fiction. She has published widely on American Jewish and Holocaust literatures and is a contributor to the two-volume compendium Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work.

Avinoam J. Patt is Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization and administers the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. He is the author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2009) and co-editor with Michael Berkowitz of "We Are Here": New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (Wayne State University Press, 2010). He has been a contributor to several projects at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and is co-author of the recently published source volume Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1938­–1940.

Mark Shechner is professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. He has published widely on American literature and American Jewish fiction and intellectual life and has done extensive book reviewing over the course of his career.

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