Jewish Book Week proudly opened the 2007 festival by bringing together admired authorities on the Bible.
Martin Amis spoke to Christopher Hitchens about Saul Bellow with whom he developed an intimate friendship, about the role of the writer as intellectual, the threat of political correctness to the comic novel, Islam, Israel and “horrorism”.
Andrew Miller’s great grand-parents emigrated from Eastern Europe to the East End of London. In The Earl of Petticoat Lane, he tells the amazing story of his grandfather, from barrow boy to high society.
Nava Semel discussed writing about the children of Holocaust survivors in search of an Israeli identity. She gave her personal view on the pain and the hope, on loss and the power of survival through the eyes of the daughter of new immigrants.
Two young and brilliant graphic artists discussed with Paul Gravett the importance of their Jewish roots. Funny, irreverent and bold, Joann Sfar paid homage to both his
Victoria Glendinning spoke to Anne Sebba about Leonard Woolf, exploring his career as a writer, novelist and political thinker, his devotion to his wife Virginia and his complicated relationship with his Jewishness.
In The Book of Exodus, Vivien Goldman takes in the history of Bob and the biblical roots of the Exodus story, as central to the Rastafarian as it is to the Jews.
An angry bathtub fairy, a stinky old man, chocolates made by dolphins and lemon meringue pie! All in this zany, off-the-wall new series from comic genius/ beardy turnip-head Andy Stanton.
The Argentinian writer spoke about life as seen from the New World, longings for the Old World, 1920s Buenos Aires, Jewish gauchos, literature and films.
The walk was an experience of Jewish Bloomsbury. Leonard Woolf was contextualised in this walking tour which went through the heartland of the Bloomsbury Circle.
Should everything be allowed in the name of free speech? How do we react to offensive cartoons? Can we make fun of the Holocaust? Are mothers sacred? Does criticizing Israel necessarily make you a self-hating Jew? Will comedy as a genre survive our politically correct and fearful age?
‘Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be -the unknown person inside each of them is the hope for the future’ Janusz Korczak
Both historians took us back to 70 AD and the destruction of the Second Temple.
The Attack is the second novel in a trilogy in which Khadra sets out to describe the contemporary Middle East, in particular the galvanising power of Islamic fundamentalism.
“In order to translate the Bible, you have to do philological spade work. That is sort of like detective work.”
After WW2, Western democracies united in trying to create a new world order protecting human rights, preventing wars and promoting free trade. Philippe Sands in Lawless Worldhas shown how the US –and the UK- have repeatedly broken those rules.
‘Between man and citizen there is a scar: the foreigner’ Julia Kristeva
In The Illusion of Return, his first novel in English, Samir El-Youssef explores the themes of memory and personal and collective tragedy. Comedy seems to be the only way to survive the absurdity of violence and politics. He discussed this and much more with Linda Grant.
Suburban Shaman: Tales from Medicine's Front Line
The film is a riveting half hour lecture given by Aharon Appelfeld at Cambridge University in 2003 in which he discusses the writing of Holocaust survivors’ testimonies.
Extraordinarily, Roman Halter made it out of the Lodz ghetto, survived Auschwitz and endured the Dresden bombing, before finally escaping to England.
Suite française was the lost masterpiece rediscovered a few years ago by Irene Nemirovsky’s daughter. A very rare view of France at war by a great writer tragically murdered by the Nazis.
George Webber Memorial Evening
Is Jewish prayer an eternal constant or does its role evolve in a contemporary world?
“Small dark Glaswegian Jew” as his first BBC interviewer labelled him, today one of the most influential men in British television, Jeremy Isaacs spoke about his life in broadcasting and the major changes he witnessed and sometimes instigated.
David Maine conveyed Cain’s anguish in the beautiful Fallen and Noah’s wife and children’s dismay in the humorous Flood. The Genizah at the House of Shepher is Tamar Yellin’s thriller about a missing biblical codex and the search for the true text of the Bible.
In See Under: Peace (1993) the leading Israeli author, visits the Territories the day after Israel and the PLO signed a peace agreement. He finds optimism, but recognises the huge divide between Palestinian and Israeli aspirations.
“If I have to read one more headline,” Dina Rabinovitch writes to a friend, “announcing that the cure for cancer is only years away, I may just scream and scream.” Dina, from a long line of Lithuanian Mitnagdim, grew up in a Judaism of rigorous thinking and demanding scepticism.
The v iolinist, clarinettist, bagpipe player and self-appointed Acting President of the Guild of Funerary Violinists presented his groundbreaking book An Incomplete History of the Art of Funerary Violin, a musical form he invented and which he will demonstrate on the day.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was perhaps the most significant Jewish theologian of the 20th century.
Antisemitic attacks are on the rise, the Iranian president calls for the eradication of Israel and the war in Lebanon split the diaspora. But Jewish culture everywhere is experiencing a vibrant resurgence and a two state solution seems inevitable. So what exactly is looming on the horizon?
The role of Jews in creating the popular music industry has been widely documented. Less known is the part played by a handful of Jews in the making of classical legends.
Mark Lawson is in conversation with Philip Roth, arguably the most powerful voice in modern American fiction.
For those who are fed up with the way we are destroying the planet and governments talk without achieving anything, the session with Michael Norton and Hilary Blume gave ways to change the world and try to make it a better place.
It was a cabaret fusion of music, visuals and a selection of live literary performances from some of JBWs most exciting talent including Idit Eshel, Etgar Keret, Sophie Hannah and it featured music from a mystery.
We brought you some of the hottest Jewish talent on the comedy circuit for what was an hour of laughs, discussion and kvetching. Jonny Geller asked whether humour is good for the Jews.
Viewed from the outside, Israel sometimes appears to be a maelstrom of violence, insecurity and religious-secular conflict. But Israel is also a hub of creative energy with its emerging subcultures producing often radical and highly distinctive art in a number of fields.
Olivia Lichtenstein read and discussed Mrs Zhivago of Queen's Park, her sharp, funny and deliciously entertaining first novel about how to survive being forty, married, and just a little bit bored with your life.
Martin Amis in conversation with author Saul Bellow. They spoke about his background and life in America, his work and the influences on it. Interweaving their conversations were readings and dramatisations from some of Bellow's works.
Michele Hanson’s mother Clarice decided that rather than being miserable whilst paying for a care home she could be miserable for free living with her daughter and granddaughter, which she did from the age of 88 until her death, aged 99.
We looked at a great classic: Reuben Sachs, written in 1888: 'This is a novel about women, and Jewish women, about families, and Jewish families, about snobbishness, and Jewish snobbishness.' (Julia Neuberger)
Peter Cole presents his anthology, The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492, arguably the most powerful body of Jewish poetry written since the Bible.
Sophie Hannah, the author of the gripping psychological suspense novel, Little Face, shared some secrets of the trade.
The prolific and much loved children’s writer and founder of Barn Owl Books, Ann Jungman explained how to write captivating stories and get published.
Nora Ephron launched her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, at Book Week.
Naim Kattan grew up in a multicultural Baghdad as did Marina Benjamin’s grandmother. A violent pogrom shook their world in 1941 and eventually 130, 000 Jews were airlifted out of Iraq and scattered across the globe in the early fifties.
Continuing in the long tradition of Jewish women causing trouble Susannah Heschel, Julia Neuberger and Lynne Segal explored the impact of the Women’s Movement on Judaism and vice versa.
In The Seventh Gate, the fourth volume of Richard Zimler’s series, Isaac Zarco, a distant relative of the 16th-century Portuguese kabbalist, becomes convinced by the pact between Hitler and Stalin that an apocalyptic prophesy made by his ancestor is about to come terribly true.
Gabriel Josipovici has been publishing fiction and criticism for close to forty years. Last year saw the publication of a substantial volume of essays, The Singer on the Shore and of a work of fiction, Everything Passes.
Rabbi Louis Jacobs was Anglo-Jewry's greatest scholar. To mark his passing, a structured reading scheme has been set up in London, Chicago, Jerusalem and on-line at www.readingrabbijacobs.org. This was a unique session which allowed parti
Michael Rosen's mother told him not to kvetsch, greps at the table or chup his soup. His father told him he was meshugge. His mother told him not to be a shlump. His brother said, 'Don't flick my tukhes with the shmatte!'
The seriously funny writer, our greatest British Jewish novelist, spoke to Peter Florence about literature, comedy, Jewishness and much more. The conversation was witty, thought provoking and a fitting finale to JBW 07.
Judith Butler's book, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence is considered her most impassioned and personal book to date.
The former children’s laureate presented the awards for the PRIMARY SCHOOLS POETRY PRIZE and the winners read their poems on “Colours”.
The Pomegranate Puppet Theatre performed their magical Purim show, ‘The Story of Esther’: an all –singing-all -dancing interactive version of the original tale. There was face painting, fancy dress and some great prizes.
In this rare event, the renowned children’s writer and illustrator Judith Kerr spoke about her life and work which has delighted and charmed generations of readers.
Etgar Keret's short stories are fast paced and precise, hilarious and off-the-wall, they are also dark, sometimes violent, and often intensely poignant. They are, in short, brilliant. He discussed his very special world with journalist Hephzibah Anderson.
For more than fifty years, Martin Gilbert has been travelling the world in search of people and documents to illuminate his quest for Jewish historical facts and enigmas.
In this session he shared some of the untold stories behind his fascinating books.
There is no single history of the development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are always two narratives.
David Schneider spoke to Paul Kriwaczek about his engaging and entertaining, though controversial book on the history of the Yiddish-speaking Jews. Why does he describe Yiddish as a civilisation rather than a culture or language?
Sunday 4 March was the final day of Jewish Book Week 2007. The main festival ran from 24 February to 4 March at London's Royal National Hotel. More than 100 challenging and entertaining speakers took part in 61 sessions, presenting arguments and many different points of view.