Jewish Book Council interview with Helene Wecker


This week we’d like to direct your attention to this excellent interview with 2014 winner Helene Wecker over at the Jewish Book Council. In it, Wecker elaborates on the years and drafts that went into writing her prizewinning novel, and her thoughts on some of the religious and cultural themes that arise in the course of the book. Of her original conception for the novel, Wecker says:

My very first idea for the book was that it was going to encompass about a hundred years and it was going to be more of a fable, the story of these two creatures who are both living in New York, and who check in with each other every once in a while over a hundred years. It was going to be a very compressed sort of story telling the evolution of the Jewish and Arab communities of New York from the late 1800s to the turn of the twenty-first century….But that didn’t survive the first workshop session. Every­one said, “You’ve got to slow down, the fun is in the details.”

For more from the interview, click here, and stay tuned for more information about this year’s award ceremony!

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Helene Wecker on Library Love Fest

Looking for something interesting to watch this weekend? Look no further than this series of Youtube clips documenting a video interview with 2014 winner Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni, posted by Library Love Fest, an author interview series sponsored by the HarperCollins Library Marketing team.


In the interview, Wecker discusses her research and writing process for the novel, as well as topics ranging from the choice of 1899 for the novel’s setting to the nature of freedom and free will. Check out the video interview here!

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The Golem and the Jinni wins a 2014 Mythopoeic Award

Congratulations are in order for Helene Wecker, this year’s VCU Cabell First Novelist winner, whose novel The Golem and the Jinni has just been awarded a Mythopoeic Award in the category of Fantasy Adult Literature.


Each year the Mythopoeic Society, an international organization “promoting the study, discussion and enjoyment of fantastic and mythopoeic literature” recognizes a fantasy novel or story collection for adults which “best exemplifies the spirit of the Inklings,” an informal Oxford literary circle, active between the 1930s and 1950s, which included writers J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams.

For more on the Mythopoeic Awards, including other 2014 winners, check out the press release.

For more on the Inklings, start with the Mythopoeic Society’s brief history and bibliography, or everyone’s favorite open-source encyclopedia.

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Animated trailer for The Golem and the Jinni

Thanks to our friends over at VCU Libraries for tipping us off to this great animated trailer for our 2014 winner, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker–go check it out at the HarperCollins Youtube channel!


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Announcing the winner of the 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award!

We are happy to announce that the winner of this year’s award is Helene Wecker for her outstanding debut novel, The Golem and the Jinni!

This year’s winner was chosen from more than 110 titles which were read by diverse members of Virginia Commonwealth University’s academic community and a panel of judges. Each of the finalists came from a strong and uniquely talented writer. They were: Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon and Fort Starlight by Claudia Zuluaga.

TGATJ Cover Art HarperCollins PB
Stay tuned for more information about the award event this fall. Until then, check out Ms. Wecker’s novel and website!
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Poets & Writers interview with PJ Mark

Poets & Writers has just published a fascinating interview with PJ Mark, the agent of 2013 winner Ramona Ausubel. In the interview, Mark discusses his path to becoming a literary agent, sheds light on what happens to his clients’ manuscripts once they arrive in his hands, and talks about what kind of work he seeks to represent.


Also check out the audio recording and transcript of the panel from our 2013 award ceremony, archived over at Blackbird, in which Mark, Ausubel, and Ausubel’s editor at Riverhead Books, Sarah McGrath, discuss the winning novel, No One is Here Except All of Us and its process to publication.

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New story from 2011 winner David Gordon

Check out a new story from 2011 winner David Gordon, “The Amateur,” available now as a Kindle Single download on Amazon.


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2013 winner Ramona Ausubel in the New Yorker!

Subscribers of the New Yorker should check out 2013 winner Ramona Ausubel’s new story, “You Can Find Love Now,” in the current issue of the magazine:


“If you want me to set a trap, I’ll set a trap. A first date picking blueberries in the whitest, cleanest sunlight, tin pails. I’ll bring sandwiches and chilled Chardonnay and tell you that we are already the good people we wanted to become.”

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Announcing the 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award Finalists!

Following a yearlong reading period of over 110 debut novel submissions and an initial selection round of twelve semifinalists, we are proud to announce the three finalists for the 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award:


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Harper)

Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon (Simon & Schuster)

Fort Starlight by Claudia Zuluaga (Engine Books)

Once again, we’d like to thank all of our volunteer readers, as well as the authors and publishers who submitted debut novels this year.

This year’s winner will be announced in early July, so please keep an eye on our Facebook page and blog!

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The 2014 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award Semifinalists!

After months and months of sometimes-frenzied but always enjoyable reading, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award committee is excited to announce that, from a field of 112 debut novels submitted in all, we have finally narrowed the selection to 12 semifinalists.

We’d like to thank all of those who submitted to the award this year, as well as our wonderful volunteer readers in the VCU English Department, the MFA program in creative writing, the Friends of the VCU Library, the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, the Richmond literary community, and beyond.

Without further ado, the 2014 semifinalists are:

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Y by Marjorie Celona

Borrowed Horses by Sian Griffiths

Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman

The Revolution of Every Day by Cari Luna

Dear Lucy by Julie Sarkissian

Heart of Palm by Laura Lee Smith

The Blood of Heaven by Kent Wascom

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Assembler of Parts by Raoul Wientzen

The Sound of Songs Across the Water by Rob Yardumian

Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon

Fort Starlight by Claudia Zuluaga

Stay tuned for news on our three finalists in just a few more weeks!

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