People of the book &mdash S.F.-style

For the first time since its inception, the Koret Book Awards ceremony will be held in San Francisco.

It has been held in New York for the past six years.

The foundation first “chose New York consciously because the publishing world is there, and we thought it would be easier to establish the awards if they were celebrated in the publishing world’s back yard,” said Susan Wolfe, communications director for the S.F.-based foundation.

Wolfe said having the awards ceremony in San Francisco will bring noted Jewish authors here, and events can be coordinated with the local Jewish community center and the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Authors can also lecture at campuses in the area.

The awards, which are distributed in six categories, carry a prize of $10,000 each. Publishers submit their entries, and awards are decided upon by a different panel of judges for each category.

While plans for 2006 have not yet been solidified, Wolfe said the awards may move between New York and San Francisco in alternating years.

“We’ll get this literary arts festival launched here, and then, in order to maintain the publishing world’s interest back east, we’ll bring it back to New York,” said Wolfe.

Being in New York has garnered the award-winners extensive media coverage; Daniel Matt, the Berkeley author of a new translation of the Zohar and one of last year’s winners, was on National Public Radio’s popular “Fresh Air” radio program. In addition, winners’ books were excerpted in a two-page spread in The Forward newspaper.

This year’s award ceremony, which will feature authors Anne Roiphe and Hillel Halkin in a discussion about faith and politics, will be held April 11 at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. The event is by invitation only, and those interested in attending can send requests to [email protected].

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."