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Contact: Eileen Hardy
RUSA Program Officer
312-280-4398
ehardy@ala.org
For Immediate Release
January 24, 2006

Avner Mandelman receives first Sophie Brody Medal for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature

(SAN ANTONIO) Avner Mandelman is the first recipient of the Sophie Brody Medal. The award, which consists of a medal for the winner and citations for honor books, is funded by Arthur Brody and the Brodart Foundation, and is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature.

The Brody Medal is administered by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The award was announced January 22 at the 2006 ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio.

Mandelman is receiving the award for his book “Talking to the Enemy,” published by Seven Stories Press. “This collection of short, powerful stories deals with the moral ambiguity experienced by Israeli soldiers as they seek to bring former Nazis to justice,” said Barbara Bibel and Danise Hoover, co-chairs of the award committee.

Three books received 2006 honorable mentions.  “Born to Kvetch,” by Michael Wex and published by St. Martin's, is where linguistics, anthropology, sociology, religion and history converge to tell the story of Yiddish.  This scholarly but accessible work captures the essence of a language that is an integral part of Jewish culture.

“Not Me,” by Michael Lavigne and published by Random House, is a debut novel that explores the complexity of father-and-son relationships, personal and Jewish identity, and redemption.  The book looks at Holocaust survival from a new perspective.

“The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life,” by Tom Reiss and published by Random House, is a portrait of Lev Nussimbaum and provides a glimpse of life in the Middle East before World War II.  His varied career and multiple personas mirror his ethnically diverse world.

Additionally information about the award will be available on the RUSA Web site at www.ala.org/rusa . The award will be presented at the RUSA Awards Ceremony during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 22-28.


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