Israel's Shani Boianjiu in the Running for Top U.K. Book Award

Boianjiu, 25, is longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction for her first book, 'The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.'

Israeli author Shani Boianjiu has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013, alongside 19 other authors including Hilary Mantel, Zadie Smith and Barbara Kingsolver.

The 20 candidates were chosen out of 140 authors who submitted their work for the U.K.’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written by a woman.

This year the award, known until 2012 as the Orange Prize, will be privately funded by companies and individual donors. Supporters include: Bilbary, Cherie Blair, Christopher Foyle, Martha Lane Fox, Joanna Trollope and others who wish to remain anonymous.

Mantel is the most prominent candidate, having won the 2012 Man Booker Prize (for the second time) and the Costa Book Award for her book “Bring Up the Bodies.” Last week she won another literary life achievement award worth 40,000 pounds.

Boianjiu, 25, was nominated for her first book, “The People of Forever Are Not Afraid,” (Hogarth) which she wrote in English. The book is now being translated into Hebrew and will be published by Kinneret Zmora Bitan.

Boianjiu is one of six candidates chosen for their literary debut, while two other authors on the list have won the Orange Prize in the past (Smith and Kingsolver).

Boianjiu is also one of five finalists for the Jewish Book Council’s Sami Rohr Prize, worth $100,000, to be awarded next month.

Neither novelists J.K. Rowling, who published a novel for adults in 2012, nor Toni Morrison, the American Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize laureate, are on the list for the U.K. prize.

Alon Sigawi