Ilana Kurshan named winner of 2018 Sophie Brody Medal for achievement in Jewish literature

For Immediate Release
Sat, 02/10/2018


Leighann Wood

Sr. Program Officer

Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)

DENVER – The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selection for the 2018 Sophie Brody Medal, an annual honor bestowed by the Collection Development and Evaluation Section (CODES) at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting today in Denver.

This year’s winner is Ilana Kurshan, author of “If All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir” published by St. Martin’s Press. This engaging memoir chronicles the author’s experience with Daf Yomi, the practice of studying a page of Talmud daily. Contemporary life and Jewish learning intersect as Kurshan searches for answers to the changes and challenges of her own life. The cycle of Daf Yomi provides a map for the author’s journey.

Honorable mentions include Leonardo Padura, author of “Heretics”, translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Bruce Henderson, author of “Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler” published by William Morrow.

The Sophie Brody Medal is given to encourage, recognize and commend outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. Works for adults published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible for the award.

This year’s winner and honor books were selected by the Sophie Brody Medal committee; Sarah Barbara Watstein, Seattle University, chair; Donald Altschiller, Boston University; Barbara Bibel, Oakland Public Library, retired; Erin Fishman, Loudoun County Public Library; Jack Forman, San Diego Mesa College; Rebecca Greer, ‎Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library; Danise Hoover, Hunter College; Elsie Martinez; Nonny Schlotzhauer, Pennsylvania State University Libraries; Jo Schofield, Cuyahoga County Public Library; and Patrick Wall, University City Public Library.

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association, represents librarians and library staff in the fields of reference, specialized reference, collection development, readers’ advisory and resource sharing. RUSA is the foremost organization of reference and information professionals who make the connections between people and the information sources, services, and collection materials they need. Learn more at