Meet the finalists for the 2015 Anne and Robert Cowan Writers Award

The Anne and Robert Cowan Writers Award, established at the Federation in 2004, recognizes writers who have made an exceptional impact in the Bay Area through their uniquely Jewish perspective. Awardees must be emerging published Jewish writers who live in the Bay Area, are considered exceptionally gifted by their peers and readers, write with a high degree of creativity and intelligence, and engage thoughtfully with Jewish themes in their work. The winner will be announced this fall, and will receive a grant of $5,000.

Jason K. Friedman

Jason K. Friedman's first book of stories, Fire Year, won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. The first story in that collection, “Blue,” won the Moment-Karma Short Fiction Contest and was published in Moment. His work has also appeared in the New York Times, The South Carolina Review, and Mission at Tenth, and is forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review and Jonathan. Friedman has been anthologized in Best American Gay Fiction, The Queer South, and the cultural studies reader Goth, and his story "The Golem" was Storyville's story of the month. His novel The Creek Is Gone was runner-up in the Associated Writing Programs Prize in the Novel, and he's published two children's books, Phantom Trucker and Haunted Houses.

Michael David Lukas

Michael David Lukas has been a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a night-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont. Translated into more than a dozen languages, his first novel, The Oracle of Stamboul, was a finalist for the California Book Award, the NCIBA Book of the Year Award, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize. A graduate of Brown University and the University of Maryland, he is a recipient of scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Santa Maddalena Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, New York State Summer Writers' Institute, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Elizabeth George Foundation. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Slate, National Geographic Traveler, and Georgia Review. He lives in Oakland and currently teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University.

Stuart Rojstaczer

Stuart Rojstaczer was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and raised by post-WWII Polish-Jewish immigrants. Trained as a geophysicist, he was a professor at Duke University for many years and has lived in Israel, Italy and throughout the U.S. His latest book, The Mathematician's Shiva, won the 2014 National Jewish Book Award for Outstanding Debut Fiction and a Friends of American Writers prize. It was also an American Booksellers Association bestseller, as well as a finalist for both the American Library Association Sophie Brody Medal and the Hadassah Magazine Ribalow Prize. The novel is a family-based comedy about the North American Jewish immigrant experience. Rojstaczer has written for many publications, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, and has lectured at over 50 universities in North America, Europe and Asia. He has been a National Science Foundation Young Investigator and a Geological Society of America Distinguished Lecturer and Fellow. He lives with his wife in Northern California.

Peter Levy

Peter Levy is a Bay Area-based playwright and author who has written numerous plays, short stories, screenplays, poems, and novels on topics ranging from Oscar Wilde, the Holocaust, and Leo Tolstoy, to Lewis Carroll and Edgar Allen Poe. He has received many prizes and acclaims for his work.


Categories: Awards


September 22, 2015