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Little Publisher Wins Big! Carole Matas's Book Tuscan Jo is named Finalist in 2014 National Jewish Book Awards

For Immediate Release, January 18, 2015



Press releasse


Gabriola Island, BC – A small Canadian publisher has won literary recognition for a book that major publishing houses rejected. “I just thought that with a little editing, Tuscon Jo, by Carol Matas, could be a winner,” said Fictive Press Publisher Morri Mostow.

Mostow’s judgment was rewarded when the book was recently named a finalist in the 2014 National Jewish Book Awards. Matas was the only Canadian author honoured in the award category for Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

For Matas and Mostow, who have been best friends for more than half a century, this recognition by the most prestigious awards in the Jewish book world is particularly sweet because traditional publishers had turned down Tucson Jo, despite Matas’ track record of over 40 published books, and a worldwide readership.

Set in the American Wild West of 1882, Tucson Jo is a fast-paced historical novel for Middle Grades packed with action and deeds of derring-do, shootouts and holdups, while dealing with Jewish themes and such moral issues as right and wrong, law and order, and women’s rights. Josephine – known as Jo – the feisty 14-year-old protagonist, challenges her father at every turn, especially when he decides to run for mayor of Tucson. (The novel is inspired by the life of Charles Strauss, the first Jewish mayor of Tucson, Arizona.)

Tucson Jo joins the ranks of the hundreds of well-respected, classic Jewish books that have been National Jewish Book Awards finalists. Now in its 64th year, the National Jewish Book Awards is the longest-running program of its kind in North America. It is sponsored by the Jewish Book Council, based in New York City.

Carol Matas is an acclaimed Canadian author of books for children and young adults. She writes in all genres, from historical fiction to fantasy, sci-fi to contemporary. Her numerous awards include the prestigious 2014 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award in the youth category and a 2014 Sydney Taylor Honor Award for Older Readers (from the Association of Jewish Libraries), both for Pieces of the Past: The Holocaust Diary of Rose Rabinowitz (Scholastic Canada). Her books have been published all over the world in more than a dozen languages, and have been best-sellers in Japan, Germany and Spain. Tucson Jo is her 45th book.

Matas and Fictive Press are continuing their collaboration, with the first of a New Adult thriller series set in California, Palm Springs Paranormal, scheduled for publication in autumn 2015.

Since 2012, Fictive Press has published seven titles: a whimsical collection of 55-word stories, two poetry collections, a religious-philosophical work in translation, a meditation on death (also by Matas), and an historical play about a Canadian aboriginal World War I hero.

Fictive Press, a digital publisher, was launched in 2011 by Morri Mostow as a division of BizNet Communications, a corporate and marketing communications firm that she and her husband, Doug Long, have been running since the early 1980s, first in Quebec and, since 2005, on Gabriola Island, BC.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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