Skip to Top NavigationSkip to Utility NavigationSkip to SearchSkip to Left NavigationSkip to Content
Mobile Menu
Bookmark and Share

Orringer Wins Wallant Award from the Greenberg Center for her debut novel

Posted 05/02/2011
Posted by David Isgur

The Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford will present Julie Orringer with the 2010 Edward Lewis Wallant Award for her debut novel, The Invisible Bridge. The presentation ceremony, which will include a talk by Orringer and comments from the Wallant Award judges, will be held on Tuesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the University’s 1877 Club.

Admission to the Wallant Award presentation ceremony is free and open to the public but reservations are required. Please call 860.768.4964 to make a reservation at the event, which is being held in the 1877 Club in the Harry Jack Gray Center on the University of Hartford campus, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford.

The Invisible Bridge (Knopf, 2010) tells the story of a love tested by disaster, of brothers whose bonds cannot be broken, of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war. It follows Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student in Paris, in the late 1930s who arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret history that will alter the course of his own life. Meanwhile, as his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena and their younger brother leaves school for the stage, Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. At the end of Andras’s second summer in Paris, all of Europe erupts in a cataclysm of war.

Expertly crafted, magnificently written, emotionally haunting, and impossible to put down, The Invisible Bridge resoundingly confirms Orringer’s place as one of today’s most vital and commanding young literary talents.

Orringer is also the author of How to Breathe Underwater (Knopf, 2003), a short story collection that won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award and the Northern California Book Award; it was a San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book She was recently short-listed for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature of the Jewish Book Council, which bestows the largest monetary award of its kind given to writers of exceptional talent and promise in early career. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Granta Book of the American Short Story, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and The Scribner Anthology of American Short Fiction.

She has been the Distinguished Visiting Writer at St. Mary’s College of California and California College of the Arts, and was the Helen Herzog Zell Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. From 2008–2009 she was the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and in the fall of 2009 she taught at Columbia University. She is currently at work on a novel about Varian Fry.

She is a 1996 graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a two-year Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford from 1999–2001, and was Stanford’s Marsh McCall Lecturer in Fiction from 2001–2003.

Established over 45 years ago by Dr. and Mrs. Irving Waltman of West Hartford to honor the memory of the late Edward Lewis Wallant, author of The Pawnbroker and other works of fiction, the Wallant Award is today one of the oldest and most prestigious Jewish literary awards in the United States. It is presented to an American Jewish writer, preferably unrecognized, whose published work of fiction is deemed to have significance for the American Jew.

As a Wallant Award winner, Orringer joins a distinguished list of award recipients, including Cynthia Ozick, Curt Leviant, Chaim Potok, Myla Goldberg, Dara Horn, and Nicole Krauss, as well as last year’s award winner, Sara Houghteling.

For more information, contact Susan Gottlieb at the Greenberg Center, at 860.768.4964 or For more information on the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, please see