Editor’s Wrapup: The Write Stuff
She was 14 when her first article appeared in Hadassah Magazine. It was May 1992 and the column—full of teen- age humor and attitude—was a plea to parents everywhere to take their children with them when they travel. So it wasn’t a big surprise when the same young writer sent in a second manuscript to my attention four months later.
Her name was Dara Horn, and she was then all of 15. When I saw the theme of the new manuscript—her diary from the March of the Living, the program that takes Jewish youth to visit the death camps in Poland and then to Israel—I thought, “If this is good, we’ll use it next April,” the month in which we typically run Holocaust-related articles. As I started to read, the first thing I noticed was that the adolescent idiom had given way to a mature voice of insight that was, given the well-explored subject, nothing less than astonishing. The writing was so good that with each paragraph I mentally moved the publication of the article forward by a month, so that by the time I was on the second page, I was determined to put it into the edition that was already in production, November 1992.
A few months later, that article was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Not only was it a first for Hadassah Magazine, it also made Dara the youngest person ever to receive that honor.
Fast forward 15 years and Dara is back in the pages of Hadassah Magazine. This time it’s for receiving the 2007 Harold U. Ribalow Prize for her novel The World to Come. The prize is administered by Hadassah Magazine but, once again, our opinion has been validated by others—in this case an independent panel of judges consisting of Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, Pulitzer Prize-winner N. Scott Momaday and Tamar Yellin, last year’s Ribalow prize recipient.
An excerpt from The World to Come begins on page 26. For more on Dara Horn and her career, see page 69. For future news of this gifted writer, check the best-seller lists.