The new National Library of Israel campus
The new National Library of Israel campus © Herzog & de Meuron; Mann-Shinar Architects, Executive Architect

The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the National Library of Israel (NLI) have announced a new collaboration that will promote their shared vision to further cultivate a vibrant international Jewish literary culture and community.

The Sami Rohr Prize is the premier award of its kind, recognizing the unique role of contemporary writers in the examination and transmission of the Jewish experience. The annual $100,000 prize is presented to an emerging writer, for fiction and nonfiction in alternating years, who demonstrates the potential for continued contribution to the world of Jewish literature. Since its inception in 2006, the Prize and the prestige that it evokes have increased the status of Jewish writers in all spheres across the globe. Recent winners have included Benjamin Balint, Michael David Lukas and Ilana Kurshan. In 2021, Nicole Krauss became the first recipient of the Prize's Inspiration Award for Fiction.

The annual award ceremony takes place alternately in Israel and the United States. With the opening of the new National Library of Israel campus in Jerusalem later this year, the Israeli prize ceremony and festivities will take place at the new NLI. The Sami Rohr Prize will be officially announced as the "Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature awarded in association with the National Library of Israel." In previous years, the Prize was only awarded for original works in English. Now, for the first time ever, works that have been translated into English will also be eligible for consideration.

The National Library of Israel and the Sami Rohr Prize, in collaboration with NLI USA, the National Library's American affiliate, are developing a range of joint programming and collaborative initiatives. These include professional networking between fellows of the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute and of the National Library of Israel writers-in-residence programs, the Pardes literary incubator and the intercultural Bustan poetry incubator.

George Rohr, son of Sami Rohr and Prize Co-Founder, said: "We are extremely excited about the potential of this new association. The Sami Rohr Prize and the National Library of Israel share a vision of encouraging the growth of a prolific global Jewish literary culture and are committed to working together towards this common goal. Our collaboration will inform, encourage and enrich each other's work, and we hope that it will help nurture ever-growing Jewish literary excellence and creativity."

Shai Nitzan, Rector of the National Library of Israel, said: "The passionate vision and activities of the Sami Rohr literary initiatives, paired with the unparalleled collections, mission, and setting of the National Library of Israel, present exceptional opportunities for the joint cultivation of a vibrant literary culture and community."

David Makovsky, Co-President, NLI USA, said: "The new association with the Sami Rohr Prize reflects NLI USA's commitment to further extending the National Library of Israel into the Jewish literary world in America. The Library is the Jewish home of the great books and authors throughout history, and we are honored to have the tradition of the Sami Rohr Prize as part of our community."