The Edward Lewis Wallant Award

About the Award

The Edward Lewis Wallant Award is presented annually to an American writer whose published creative work of fiction is considered to have significance for the American Jew.

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, by Dr. and Mrs. Irving Waltman of West Hartford. The Waltmans were prompted to create this memorial because of their admiration for Edward Wallantís literary ability.

A panel of four 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: 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.

2012 Recipient - Joshua Henkin

Joshua HenkinThe 2012 Edward Lewis Wallant Award recipient is Joshua Henkin, for his novel, The World Without You

Visit Josh's Website, http://www.joshuahenkin.com/

Joshua Henkin is the author of the novels Matrimony, a New York Times Notable Book, and Swimming Across the Hudson, a Los Angeles Times Notable Book. His third novel, The World Without You, was published in June 2012 by Pantheon and has been named an Editors' Choice Book by The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune, in addition to being named the winner of the 2012 Edward Lewis Wallant Award. His short stories have been published widely, cited for distinction in BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES, and broadcast on NPR's "Selected Shorts." He lives in Brooklyn, NY, and directs the MFA program in Fiction Writing at Brooklyn College.

THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU is set over the July 4th weekend in 2005, as the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. The family has gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings, an intrepid journalist and adventurer who was killed a year ago on assignment in Iraq.

The parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief. Their forty-year marriage is falling apart. Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, has settled into an ambivalent domesticity and is struggling at age thirty-nine to become pregnant. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer and the family contrarian, is angry at everyone. And Noelle, whose teenage years were shadowed by promiscuity and school expulsions, has moved to Jerusalem and become a born-again Orthodox Jew. The last person to see Leo alive, Noelle has flown back for the memorial with her husband and four children, but she feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe-Leo's widow and mother of their three-year-old son--has come from California bearing her own secret.

Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You is a novel about sibling rivalries and marital feuds, about volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, about the true meaning of family.

Reviewers have unanimously praised the novel and Henkin's writing as "insightful[and] poignant" (New York Times Book Review), "Heart-searing, eye-tearing, and soul-touching," (Huffington Post), "Blazingly alive. . . Gorgeously written, and as beautifully detailed as a tapestry, Henkin delicately probes what these family members really mean to one another. . . . [C]ompassionate, intelligent, and shining" (The Boston Globe). Commentary Magazin writes "few American novelists, living or dead, have ever been as good as Henkin at drawing people." As a Wallant Award winner, Henkin joins a distinguished list of past award recipients, including Cynthia Ozick, Curt Leviant, Chaim Potok, Myla Goldberg, Dara Horn, Nicole Krauss, and Julie Orringer as well as last year's award winner, Edith Pearlman.

Submission Guidelines

New submissions are welcomed annually. The deadline for submissions is November 1 of each calendar year. For more information, please contact Avinoam Patt, Ph.D., Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History and Coordinator of the Wallant Award Committee at the University of Hartford at MGCJS@hartford.edu.

Past Recipients
YEAR AUTHOR TITLE
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
2006 No Award
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
1998 No Award
1997 Harvey Grossinger The Quarry
1996 Thane Rosenbaum Elijah Visible
1995 Rebecca Goldstein Mazel
1994 No Award
1993 Gerald Shapiro From Hunger
1992 Melvin Jules Bukiet Stories of an Imaginary Childhood
1991 No Award
1990 No Award
1989 Jerome Badanes The Final Opus of Leon Solomon
1988 Tova Reich Master of the Return
1987 Steve Stern Lazar Malkin Enters Heaven
1986 Daphne Merkin Enchantment
1985 Jay Neuseboren Before My Life Begins
1984 No Award
1983 Francine Prose Hungry Hearts
1982 No Award
1981 Allen Hoffman Kaganís Superfecta
1980 Johanna Kaplan O My America
1979 No Award
1978 No Award
1977 Curt Leviant The Yemenite Girl
1976 No Award
1975 Anne Bernays Growing Up Rich
1974 Susan Fromberg Schaeffer Anya
1973 Arthur A. Cohen In the Days of Simon Stern
1972 Robert Kotlowitz Somewhere Else
1971 Cynthia Ozick The Pagan Rabbi
1970 No Award
1969 Leo Litwak Waiting for the News
1968 No Award
1967 Chaim Potok The Chosen
1966 Gene Hurwitz Home Is Where You Start From
1965 Hugh Nissenson A Pile of Stones
1964 Seymour Epstein Leah
1963 Norman Fruchter Coat Upon a Stick
About the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies

The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies is devoted to teaching and original research in Judaic Studies from the Biblical to the modern periods. Faculty from around the world have created programs that are diverse and stimulating to the student body.

Founded in 1985 by a major endowment, the Center offers you an opportunity to choose from a rich array of exciting classes in six different areas: History, Bible, Jewish Law and Literature, Hebrew and Yiddish.

As part of the Greenberg Center's Spring 2013 schedule, The World Without You will also be taught as part of Feltman Professor Avinoam Patt's JS/ENG 325, American Jewish Novel. The class meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12:30-1:20pm.

The 2013 Edward Lewis Wallant Award Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in Wilde Auditorium on the University of Hartford campus at 7:00pm. Free and open to the public. Reservations required. Call (860) 768-4964 for more information.