Special to the Ledger
WEST HARTFORD ― Joshua Henkin, author of The World Without You, has been named recipient of the 2012 Edward Lewis Wallant Award from the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. The award will be presented to Henkin at a special ceremony to be held on Wednesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in the University’s Wilde Auditorium.
This special ceremony, at which Henkin will speak, will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, which was created in 1963 by the Waltman family of West Hartford. The Greenberg Center will mark the milestone with the publication of The New Diaspora: The Changing Face of American Jewish Fiction, a Wallant Award anthology of past winners and finalists, edited by Victoria Aarons of Trinity University, Mark Shechner of the University at Buffalo, and Avinoam Patt of the University of Hartford.
Henkin, who is also the author of the novels Matrimony and Swimming Across the Hudson, published his third novel, The World Without You, in June 2012 by Pantheon. It has been named an Editors’ Choice Book by The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. Henkin lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and directs the MFA program in Fiction Writing at Brooklyn College Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You focuses on the Frankel family, as the clan 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; Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, is struggling at age 39 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 an 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. Thisbe — Leo’s widow and mother of their three-year-old son — has come from California bearing her own secret.
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.
Established in 1963 by Dr. and Mrs. Irving Waltman of West Hartford to honor the memory of the late Edward Lewis Wallant, author of The Pawnbroker and other works of fiction, the Wallant Award is one of the oldest Jewish literary awards in the United States. It is presented to an American Jewish writer, preferably unrecognized, whose published work of fiction is deemed to have significance for the American Jew. The Wallant Award anthology, The New Diaspora: The Changing Face of American Jewish Fiction, to be published by Wayne State University Press, brings together under one cover a representative group of those writers whose work has either won or been considered for the award.
Admission to the Wallant Award presentation ceremony is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.
For reservations or information call (860) 768-4964 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, see www.hartford.edu/greenberg/wallant.asp.