22nd May, 2019


Submissions are now open for The Wingate Literary Prize 2020.

Now in its 43rd year, the annual £4,000 prize, run in association with JW3, is awarded to the best book – fiction or non-fiction – of literary merit, which contains Jewish content and stimulates interest in questions of Jewish concern among the general reader.

As British Jewry’s most prestigious book award it attracts nominations from all over the globe; previous winners also include Amos Oz, Zadie Smith, Oliver Sacks, Otto Dov Kulka and David Grossman.

Submissions must be made no later than July 7. Full details on prize criteria and submission instructions here and submission form here.

The winner of the prize will be announced in February 2020.

For press enquiries please contact Emma Shrimsley at emma@shrimsley.com or for questions about the prize contact Juliet Simmons at juliet@pieceofcake.tv

Wingate Literary Prize 2019


Françoise Frenkel’s rediscovered Holocaust memoir No Place to Lay One’s Head has been named winner of the 2019 JQ Wingate Literary Prize.

Jewish bookseller Frenkel escaped Berlin for France in 1939, before fleeing once more for Switzerland. Her account of her desperate flight from the Nazis was first printed in 1945; it vanished from public view before being rediscovered in 2010 in a car boot sale in southern France. Its English version, translated by Stephanie Smee, was published in 2018, 43 years after the author’s death.

Described by judges as ‘a found treasure… filled with wisdom and hope’, Frenkel’s memoir was chosen from a short list which also included The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin; Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday; Eternal Life by Dara Horn; Evacuation by Raphael Jerusalmy (translated by Penny Hueston) and Memento Park by Mark Sarvas.

Now in its 42nd year, the JQ Wingate Literary prize, worth £4,000 and run in association with JW3, is awarded to the best book, fiction or non-fiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader.

This year’s judging panel comprised past JQ Wingate Literary Prize winner Thomas Harding together with best-selling children’s author Francesca Simon; JHub Director and JDOV founder Shoshana Boyd Gelfand and critic and literary editor Arifa Akbar.

Chair of judges Shoshana Boyd Gelfand said: “No Place to Lay One’s Head captured our hearts on so many levels. First of all, it is the memoir of an extraordinary woman who set up the first French-language bookshop in Berlin soon after the First World War. This in itself would have made her a fascinating character and her story worth reading. In addition, her compelling narrative of how she navigated the world she loved as it disintegrated around her, is told with poignancy and extraordinary empathy for those who helped her hide and escape.

“What also stood out for us was the fact that Françoise Frenkel’s memoir was originally published in French in 1945 and then forgotten in the post-war haze. Only recently was a copy discovered by chance and translated to English. So this is not only a redemptive story of refugees and fleeing terror, but also a reminder that books too can cross borders and speak to new generations, if only they fall into the hands of those to whom the book is dedicated: men and women of good will. We are therefore deeply grateful to the publisher and to the translator, Stephanie Smee, for recognizing in this book a precious gift from the past, and for redeeming a voice that is as relevant today as it was when it was written.”

Speaking in response, publisher of Pushkin Press Adam Freudenheim said: ‘On behalf of Françoise Frenkel, who died over 40 years ago at which time this book was out of print and entirely forgotten, I’m delighted that her memoir, penned shortly after her dramatic escape from Vichy, France, to Switzerland during WWII, has received this year’s JQ Wingate Prize. It is also a testament to Stephanie Smee’s fine translation, which allows it to reach a worldwide readership. Frenkel’s passion for books and for literature but above all for life is an inspiration to all of us, now more than ever.”

This year’s winner was announced at JW3, following a discussion evening, with the 2019 judging panel, looking at the significance of a specifically Jewish prize and the joys, challenges and considerations of judging it. The BBC’s Emily Kasriel chaired the event.

The Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize is the only UK literary prize of its kind and attracts nominations from all over the globe. Previous winners include Amos Oz, Zadie Smith, Oliver Sacks, Otto Dov Kulka and David Grossman.


For press information contact Emma Shrimsley 07961 368481 emma@shrimsley.com

Follow the JQ-Wingate Literary Prize on Twitter @JQWingate and find us on Facebook: JQWingate Prize


The Wingate Prize was established in 1977 by the late Harold Hyam Wingate. It is now known as the JQ-Wingate Prize and is being run in association with JW3, the Jewish Community Centre. The winner receives £4,000.

The Harold Hyam Wingate Charitable Foundation is a private grant-giving institution, established over forty years ago.

JW3 is the first Jewish Community Centre and arts venue of its kind to exist in London. The brainchild of Dame Vivien Duffield and created by a core capital grant from the Clore Duffield Foundation, the centre opened on the Finchley Road, NW3 in October 2013.

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