The 2013 Goldberg Prize for Out


Established in 1999 and supported through a generous grant from the Samuel Goldberg & Sons Foundation, the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction was among the very first of its kind to highlight new works by contemporary writers exploring Jewish themes.

The prize spotlights promising new talent, and is awarded to an American fiction writer for a debut work of full-length fiction or book of short stories published in the same calendar year as the prize.  Submissions must be made by the publisher.

As of 2011, the prize has been run in conjunction with the Jewish Book Council’s National Jewish Book Awards. The JBC now administers this prize.

The award includes a prize of $2,500, as well as a one-week residency at Ledig House International Writers Colony in New York’s Hudson Valley.


Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. International students cannot be granted fellowships at this time. Previous grantees of the Goldberg Prize may not reapply.

Applications must be submitted directly by publishers. The Jewish Book Council cannot accept submissions from individual authors.

Please note that we no longer consider authors with more than one published book, and no longer consider novels or short story collections published in the previous calendar year. This is a change from previous eligibility requirements.

We will not consider any self-published or print-on-demand books (including but not limited to books created by iUniverse, AuthorHouse etc.).


Guidelines and Application

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and are recommended by a panel of writers, publishers and other literary professionals.

Click here to download a sample application.


The Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction is now run by the Jewish Book Council in conjunction with the Foundation for Jewish Culture. Please email Sharon Bruce  at sharon [at] jewishbooks [dot] org for details about deadlines.


Previous Grantees

The 2012 prize was awarded to Ned Beauman for Boxer, BeetleAdam Schwartz was the finalist for A Stranger on the Planet. In Boxer, Beetle, Philip Erskine, gentleman entomologist and Nazi sympathizer, is distracted from his beetle breeding by an interest in eugenics, and one beguiling human specimen: Seth Roach, a Jewish, homosexual, nine-toed runt of a boxer. Seventy-five years on, a crime scene clue sets a hapless collector of wartime memorabilia on the trail of scientist and subject. Beauman’s debut novel also won the 2011 UK Writer’s Guild Award for Best Fiction Book and was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliott Prize. In 2013, Beauman was voted as one of Britain’s New “20 Under 40″ by Granta magazine.

The 2011 prize was awarded to Sharon Pomerantz for Rich Boy.  Sharon Pomerantz’s short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including The Missouri Review and Ploughshares, and her story “Ghost Knife” was included in The Best American Short Stories 2003. Her story “Shoes” was nationally broadcast on NPR’s Selected Shorts. As a nonfiction writer, Sharon contributes regularly to Hadassah Magazine, and has written for the Jewish Week, the Forward and Inside, the magazine of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. She currently teaches writing at the University of Michigan. This is her first novel.

The 2010 prize was awarded to Joanna Smith Rakoff for A Fortunate Age, which was a New York Times Editors’ Pick, a winner of the Elle Readers’ Prize, a selection of Barnes and Noble’s First Look Book Club, an IndieNext pick, and a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller. As a journalist and critic, she’s written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post Book World, the Boston Globe, Vogue, Time Out New York, O:The Oprah Magazine, and many other newspapers and magazines. Her poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, Western Humanities Review, Kenyon Review, and other journals. She has degrees from Columbia University, University College, London, and Oberlin College.

The 2009 prize was awarded to Irina Reyn for her 2008 book, What Happened to Anna K. (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster). Irina is the editor of Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take on the Garden State (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster). Her work has appeared in One Story, Post Road, Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Town & Country Travel, The Forward, Nextbook, Ballyhoo Stories, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Moscow Times. Irina was born in Moscow and currently divides her time between Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, NY. She is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.

The 2008 prize was awarded to Anya Ulinich for her debut novel Petropolis. Ulinich was also chosen by the National Book Award foundation as a “5 Under 35″ awardee. The book is about Sasha Goldberg, a biracial, Jewish, socially maladjusted “child of the intelligentsia” from the Siberian town Asbestos 2. When following her heart gets her into trouble at home, Sasha leaves Russia as a mail-order bride and, with the help of the Kupid’s Korner Agency, lands in suburban Arizona. Soon, she escapes her fiance and embarks on a misadventure-filled journey across America in search of her father.

For a complete list of past grantees and their books, click here.

For further information about this prize, please contact Paul Zakrzewski, program officer for literature and scholarship, at

Program Funder

The Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction by Emerging Writers is made possible through a generous endowment and annual support of the Samuel Goldberg & Sons Foundation, Inc.

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