Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice by Mary Fulbrook (Oxford University Press) has won the £40,000 (about $50,760) 2019 Wolfson History Prize, which honors "books which combine excellence in research with readability."
The organizers wrote in part: "A single word--'Auschwitz'--is often used to symbolise the Holocaust. Yet this focus on a single concentration camp--however horrific, however catastrophic its scale--leaves an incomplete story. It cannot fully convey the myriad ways in which individuals became tangled up on the side of the perpetrators, and obscures the diversity of experiences among a wide range of victims as they struggled and died, or managed, against all odds, to survive. It also misses the continuing legacies of Nazi persecution over generations, and across continents.
"Reckonings expands our understanding, exploring the lives of individuals across a full spectrum of suffering and guilt, each one capturing a small part of the greater story. It exposes the disjuncture between official myths about dealing with the past, and the extent to which the vast majority of Nazi perpetrators in fact evaded justice."
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (Random House) has won the €100,000 (about $112,890) International Dublin Literary Award, which "aims to promote excellence in world literature" by honoring a novel written in English or translated into English. The prize is sponsored by Dublin City Council and managed by Dublin City Libraries. The winning novel was chosen from a total of 141 titles, nominated by libraries in 115 cities across 41 countries. Ruskovich is only the fourth American to win the award in its 24-year history.
The judges said, in part, "At the heart of Emily Ruskovich's haunting debut novel is the inexplicable. A young couple, Jenny and Wade, move from the prairies to the utter loneliness and unexpected isolation of the Northern Idaho mountains where they carelessly bought a piece of wooded land on a steep mountainside. As yet, they know nothing about the winter that will entrap them: masses of snow, no plow, no neighbours, the next settlement eight miles away. This is not an idyll. Years go by. They build a house with their own hands; two children are born--May and June. Then, all of a sudden, in a brutal flash, with no warning, their happiness and their love are destroyed forever.
"Ruskovich's masterful achievement is to narrate with consummate skill the complex series of events covering a time-span of more than 50 years. Empathy and love stand next to cruelty and crime. Individual guilt, trauma and pain are looming as large as eventual forgiveness and the ability to live in half-knowledge. Ultimately, Idaho evolves into a masterpiece on the redeeming and regenerative potential of music, poetry, literature and art."
The winners of the IndieReader Discovery Awards, sponsored by IndieReader, were announced at BookCon in New York City. All top winners' titles will be considered by literary agents Dystal, Goderich & Bourret for representation consideration. Winners in more than 30 categories can be seen here. The winners of the fiction and nonfiction categories are:
First place: Heroines of Avalon & Other Tales by Ayn Cates Sullivan
Second place: A Lyle Saxon Reader: Lost Stories of the French Quarter and Buried Treasure by Lyle Saxon, edited by Michael Warner
Third place: Elastic Girl by Olivia Rana
First place: Freckled: A Memoir of Growing Up Wild in Hawaii by Toby Neal
Second place: Breaking Bonds: How to Divorce an Abuser and Heal by Rosemary Lombardy
Third place: Gather & Make: Plant-Based Projects for All Seasons by Genevieve Layman