London’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas

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Festival Archive

Jewish Book Week 2007

Saturday, 24 February 2007 to Sunday, 4 March 2007
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Events

02-24 Saturday

Behold, There Were Twins in her Womb (Gen 25:23)— One Birth, Two Sons, Three Approaches
Saturday, 24 February 2007 - 5:00pm

Jewish Book Week proudly opened the 2007 festival by bringing together admired authorities on the Bible.

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02-25 Sunday

No Laughing Matter: Martin Amis in conversation with Christopher Hitchens
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 3:30pm

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”.

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Self-Made Englishmen
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 3:45pm

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.

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Corresponding With The Past: An Israeli Born Author Bears The Scar Of The Holocaust
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 3:45pm

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.

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In Search of the Real Leonard Woolf
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:00pm

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.

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Graphic & Novel
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:00pm

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

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Passions: Bob Marley
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:15pm

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.

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Mr Gum
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:15pm

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.

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Edgardo Cozarinsky in conversation with Julia Pascal
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:15pm

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.

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Walking tour of Jewish Bloombsbury
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:30pm

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.

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Taboos
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:30pm

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?

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Janusz Korczak
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:30pm

‘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

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The Attack
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:45pm

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.

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Translation Masterclass
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:45pm

“In order to translate the Bible, you have to do philological spade work. That is sort of like detective work.”

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Web of Deceit: The War in Iraq
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:45pm

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.

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Rome and Jerusalem
Sunday, 25 February 2007 - 4:45pm

Both historians took us back to 70 AD and the destruction of the Second Temple.

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02-26 Monday

The Outsider
Monday, 26 February 2007 - 2:45pm

‘Between man and citizen there is a scar: the foreigner’ Julia Kristeva

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The Illusion of Return
Monday, 26 February 2007 - 3:00pm

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.

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Meet the Author: Cecil Helman
Monday, 26 February 2007 - 3:00pm

Suburban Shaman: Tales from Medicine's Front Line

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Documentary Film: Aharon Appelfeld
Monday, 26 February 2007 - 3:15pm

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.

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Survivors' Stories
Monday, 26 February 2007 - 3:15pm

Extraordinarily, Roman Halter made it out of the Lodz ghetto, survived Auschwitz and endured the Dresden bombing, before finally escaping to England.

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Reading Group: Suite Française
Monday, 26 February 2007 - 3:30pm

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.

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02-27 Tuesday

The Power of Prayer
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 - 2:00pm

George Webber Memorial Evening

Is Jewish prayer an eternal constant or does its role evolve in a contemporary world?

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Passion for Programmes
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 - 2:00pm

“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.

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Inspired by the Bible
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 - 2:00pm

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.

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Documentary Film: David Grossman
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 - 2:15pm

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.

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Take Off Your Party Dress
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 - 2:15pm

“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.

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Meet the Author: Rohan Kriwaczek
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 - 2:30pm

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.

 

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02-28 Wednesday

Great Writers of the 20th Century: Abraham Joshua Heschel
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 - 12:00pm

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was perhaps the most significant Jewish theologian of the 20th century.

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The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A Tour of the Jewish Horizon
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 - 12:15pm

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?

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Passions: Jews On and Off the Record
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 - 12:15pm

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.

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Documentary Film: Philip Roth's Twenty First Century
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 - 12:30pm

Mark Lawson is in conversation with Philip Roth, arguably the most powerful voice in modern American fiction.

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Meet the Author: Jonathan Wilson
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 - 12:30pm
A Palestine Affair
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Doing Our Bit For a Better World
Wednesday, 28 February 2007 - 1:45pm

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.

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03-1 Thursday

The Bookniks Session
Thursday, 1 March 2007 - 11:15am

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.

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Bookniks: Is Humour Good for the Jews?
Thursday, 1 March 2007 - 11:30am

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.

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Bookniks: Postcards From the Unholy Land
Thursday, 1 March 2007 - 11:45am

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.

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Meet the Author: Olivia Lichtenstein
Thursday, 1 March 2007 - 11:45am

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.

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Documentary Film: Saul Bellow's Gift
Thursday, 1 March 2007 - 11:45am

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.

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Living with Mother
Thursday, 1 March 2007 - 12:00pm

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.

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Reading Group: Reuben Sachs by Amy Levy
Thursday, 1 March 2007 - 12:00pm

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)

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03-2 Friday

The Dream of the Poem
Friday, 2 March 2007 - 11:00am

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.

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How to Write a Good Crime Novel
Friday, 2 March 2007 - 11:00am

Sophie Hannah, the author of the gripping psychological suspense novel, Little Face, shared some secrets of the trade.

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How to Write Children's Books
Friday, 2 March 2007 - 11:15am

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.

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03-3 Saturday

I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
Saturday, 3 March 2007 - 10:45am

Nora Ephron launched her book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, at Book Week.

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03-4 Sunday

Remembering Babylon
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 10:00am

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.

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Rubies and Rebels
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 10:15am

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.

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The Seventh Gate
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 10:15am

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.

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Gabriel Josipovici in conversation with Bryan Cheyette
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 10:30am

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.

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Reading Louis Jacobs
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 10:30am

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

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Michael Rosen
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 10:45am

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!'

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Howard Jacobson in conversation with Peter Florence
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 3:30pm

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.

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Forgiveness and Retribution
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 3:45pm

Judith Butler's book, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence is considered her most impassioned and personal book to date.

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Michael Morpurgo
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 4:00pm

The former children’s laureate presented the awards for the PRIMARY SCHOOLS POETRY PRIZE and the winners read their poems on “Colours”.

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Missing Kissinger
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 4:15pm

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.

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Passion: Travelling in Search of History
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 4:15pm

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.

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Purim Puppet Show
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 4:15pm

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.

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Judith Kerr
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 4:15pm

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.

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Shared Histories
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 4:30pm

There is no single history of the development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there are always two narratives.

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Yiddish Civilisation: The Rise And Fall Of a Forgotten Nation
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 4:45pm

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?

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Jewish Book Week 2007
Sunday, 4 March 2007 - 11:45pm

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. 

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Contributors

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Video

 
David Grossman speaks with Mark Lawson at a special out-of-fesitval event.