Following a successful re-launch in 2016, the Vine Awards for Jewish Literature honoured four Canadian writers on October 3rd, 2017 at the Park Hyatt in Toronto. Each of the winning authors at the luncheon was presented with a unique glass Vine Awards trophy and a $10,000 prize.
In the category of children’s literature, the award was shared between author Irene Watts and illustrator Kathryn Shoemaker. They gave their acceptance speeches together, approaching the podium and quipping, “We do everything together.”
Watts then shared an anecdote of her childhood, saying that she was seven years old in 1938, when she was placed on a Kindertransport train with 200 other children and rescued from a Nazi-controlled area just before the war broke out. “Who would have guessed I would end up here?” she said as she accepted the award for her book with Shoemaker, Seeking Refuge.
The Vine Awards are given based on literary merit to both Jewish and non-Jewish authors who engage dynamically with Jewish themes, traditions, or history in their works. The four categories are fiction, non-fiction, history, and children’s writing, with an additional poetry prize awarded every three years.