American author Nicole Krauss receives prize for Jewish literature

Krauss was chosen by the Sami Rohr Prize panel of judges for her "valuable contribution to Jewish literature."

Nicole Krauss, the acclaimed author of The History of Love. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Nicole Krauss, the acclaimed author of The History of Love.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Acclaimed American novelist Nicole Krauss has been chosen as the recipient of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for 2021.
Krauss will be the first to receive the 2021 newly created Inspiration Award, introduced this year to mark the 15th anniversary of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.
Krauss, 46, is best known for her four novels Man Walks Into a Room (2002), The History of Love (2005), Great House (2010) and Forest Dark (2017). Her books, which often deal with Jewish identity and history, have been translated into 37 different languages.
She was chosen by the Sami Rohr Prize panel of judges for her "valuable contribution to Jewish literature" and for being a "role model" to authors and novelists everywhere, a Sami Rohr Literary Institute press release read.
“I’m so grateful and touched to be the first recipient of the Sami Rohr Inspiration Award Prize for Fiction,” Krauss said. “As a writer, I have never understood my own relationship to inspiration, or even what inspiration truly is. But despite that uncertainty—or because of it—it is deeply moving to think that my books have inspired others. There is nothing more rewarding than that.”
Krauss grew up in Long Island, New York, to a British Jewish mother and an American Jewish father. She spent a few years in Israel while growing up, which is often mentioned in her writing.
Her books often explore the Jewish identity, seeking to better understand its relationship with Jewish history. In an interview given to The Guardian in 2017, Krauss questioned the fundamental aspects of forming one's identity.
“In a sense, the self is more or less an invention from beginning to end. What is more unreal, what is more a creation than the self? Why do we have such a heavy investment in knowing what is true and what isn’t true about people’s lives," she asked at the time.
Explaining the reasons behind Krauss' selection, George Rohr noted that her writing have the potential of transcending time and space.
"We are certain that she will be a source of great encouragement to a new generation of emerging Jewish writers," Rohr said.
Kraus currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her two children. Her first collection of short stories, titled To Be a Man, was published in November 2020.
The Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature was inaugurated in 2007. It was established by George Rohr and his sister to honor on their father's 80th birthday, his long life love for literature and Jewish writing specifically. The annual award recognizes the unique role of contemporary writers in the transmission and examination of the Jewish experience and awards its recipients a $100,000 prize.