Dashka Slater
Dashka Slater

California Book Awards for three local Jewish authors

Three Northern California Jewish authors are gold medal winners in the 87th annual California Book Awards, which recognizes exceptional books by California writers.

Josh Weil

Josh Weil of Nevada City won in the fiction category for “The Age of Perpetual Light,” a book of short stories published by Grove Press that range from the tale of a Jewish dry-goods peddler who falls in love with an Amish woman to a 1940 farmer uprising against the unfair practices of a power company.

“The Color of Law” by Richard Rothstein, a senior fellow at the UC Berkeley Law School, won for nonfiction. The book, published by Liveright/W.W. Norton & Company, examines racial zoning and how laws and policy decisions passed by local, state and federal governments ensured segregation and discriminatory patterns that continue to affect society.

Richard Rothstein
Richard Rothstein

Dashka Slater of Oakland wrote about a tragic local event to win the top award in the young adult category. “The 57 Bus,” published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, tells the true story of a fateful encounter between two teens on an AC Transit Oakland bus that earned national headlines.

To be eligible for the award, books must be written while the author is a resident in California. The Commonwealth Club, which sponsors the awards, this year increased the prize money so gold award winners receive $5,000 and silver award winners $2,500.

The award has a long and prestigious pedigree. John Steinbeck won it three times, and recent winners include Jared Diamond, Karen Fowler, Michael Chabon, Philip Levine, Rebecca Solnit and Jonathan Lethem.

The California Book Awards will be handed out at 6 p.m. Monday, June 11 at the Commonwealth Club, 110 The Embarcadero, S.F. Tickets are $5-$10. Book signings will take place after the ceremony. For details, see commonwealthclub.org/events/california-book-awards.