London’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas

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Festival Archive

Jewish Book Week 2010

Saturday, 27 February 2010 to Sunday, 7 March 2010
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Events

02-27 Saturday

Sex, Lies and Regal Japes; The story of Esther, the sex-crazed king and his evil counsellor
Saturday, 27 February 2010 - 3:00pm

A Purim Spiel, with a contemporary twist, bringing a little bit of Persia to Bloomsbury, with a backbeat of Iranian rhythms and all hosted by our favourite modern-day Sheherazade, David Schneider. Unmasking the Book of Esther we revealed the story behind the story of Purim, hatching all-new consp

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02-28 Sunday

George Webber Evening: The Ascent (and Descent) of Money
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 12:15pm

We were delighted to welcome Niall Ferguson, one of those rare historians who is equally brilliant  investigating the past, and analyzing the present.

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Clarice Lispector
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 12:30pm

In his internationally acclaimed biography of Clarice Lispector, Why this World, Ben Moser traces the roots of the mysterious Brazilian novelist -this “rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf”- back to her Ukrainian origins and to the Jewish mystical tr

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Football across Borders (The Talk)
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 12:30pm

Assaf Gavron, the author of CrocAttack, Uri Sheradsky, editor of the monthly sports magazine, Shem Hamisehak, both members of the Israeli writers' football team and their counterpart on the English team, Jeremy Gavron, (An Acre of Barren Ground) and Simon Kuper (Why

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The Universal Language of Mathematics
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 12:45pm

The two mathematicians, known for their ability to make their science understandable and enjoyable to the most reluctant person, discussed the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics, a universal language that transcends physical and cultural barriers.

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Sir Moses Montefiore
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 12:45pm

Abigail Green's biography of Sir Moses Montefiore has been hailed by Niall Ferguson as a “masterpiece”.

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Hebrew Language Session
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 1:00pm

שלושת הסופרים הישראלים שהם גם מחברי רבי מכר וזוכי פרסים, ישתתפו בדיון עם יד על הדופק של התרבות הישראלית העכשוית שיבחן את רוח התקופה מהשולים של תרבות הנגד ועד המיינסטרים הספרותי.

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A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 1:30pm

Author of A Fine Romance, cultural critic David Lehman, joined us at JBW 2010. He delved into the American songbook—the compendium of music written from the 1920s to the 1960s that includes Broadway hits, Hollywood musicals and Tin Pan Alley tunes -largely written by Jews.

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The House of Rajani
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 1:45pm

Bestselling 2009 Sapir Prize winner, Alon Hilu shed light on the present through his representation of the past.  He told the partly true story of the difficult friendship between asickly, but brilliant, Muslim boy and a dynamic Jewish settler, in the shifting world of nineteenth-century Palestin

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Unravelling the Truth about the Eitingons
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:00pm

The editor of the LRB presented the biography of her remarkable Russian family whose story spans fur trading in the Pale of Settlement, spying on the Soviets in Constantinople to befriending Freud in London. The Eitingons, the result of 29 years of research, re-traces a mysterio

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Long Shadows
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:00pm

The horrors of WWII, what led to them and their aftermath, are at the heart of these outstanding novels by German writer Julia Franck (The Blind Side of the Heart), Norman Lebrecht, (The Game of Opposites), and Booker shortlisted Simon Mawer, (The Glass Room).

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A Senseless Squalid War
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:15pm

Drawing on a rich medley of official documents, private papers, personal reminiscences, even songs, Norman Rose’s A Senseless Squalid War offers eloquent expression to all those who took part in the events leading  to the declaration of the state of Israel, whether Briton, Jew or Arab.

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A Beginner's Guide to Jews on the Edge
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:15pm

On half-Jews, non-jewish-Jews, self-hating Jews, anti-semitic Jews, et al…

Two of the most formidably minded polemicists on the literary scene discussed the many possible manifestations of Judaism and whether any of these semitic permutations actually matters.

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Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:30pm

In his magnum opus, Anthony Julius looks fairly and squarely, with no propensity to exaggeration, at the history of anti-semitism from Medieval times with their blood libels, through exclusion and gradual rehabilitation, to today’s alarming new brand of anti-Zionism.

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Psycho-Thrillers
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:30pm

In the best traditions of historical crime writing, Philip Sington’s The Einstein Girl and Frank Tallis’ Deadly Communion interweave fiction and fact, as well as re-create whole eras.

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Day after Night
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:45pm

The author of the Red Tent told us about her new mesmerising new novel, Day after Night, a story of friendship set in a camp in Palestine between four women who each has her own tale to tell of surviving the war in a different European country.

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Leading from the Front
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:45pm

Fighting the fascists, building an empire, the object of scandal, suffering bankruptcy, rebuilding both empire and reputation, public benefactor, Gerald Ronson has done it all and tells the story in his autobiography, Leading from the Front. He revealed details of his roller coaster life

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Philipp Manes: A Thresienstadt Chronicle
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 2:45pm

Philipp Manes spent two years in the Czech ghetto of Theresienstadt, where he played a minor role in the Jewish self-administration. He also organised over 500 cultural events, ranging from lectures, to play-readings, poetry competitions and concerts.

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The Poetry Hour
Sunday, 28 February 2010 - 3:00pm

This was a moving event with readings and musings from three major poets. They may be about Budapest or the East End, film reels or music scores, philosophy or politics, reflections on love and death or the dilemmas of being Jewish.

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03-1 Monday

Collette Hassan Evening: Defining a Moral Compass for the 21st Century?
Monday, 1 March 2010 - 11:30am

Jonathan Sacks and Susan Neiman outlined their visions for addressing the ethical challenges, both religious and secular, confronting us in the 21st century.

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Extremely Bad and Incredibly Cruel
Monday, 1 March 2010 - 11:45am

Etgar Keret stopped eating meat aged five after his father told him that hunters killed Bambi’s mother in order to eat her. Jonathan Safran Foer was inspired by his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, to repudiate indifference and hypocrisy.

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CrocAttack!
Monday, 1 March 2010 - 11:45am

We met with one of Israel’s most exciting young writers who was translated in English and discovered a gripping, novel that explores the minds of both serial terrorist victim and suicide bomber.

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Goals for Galilee: We Too Have No Other Land
Monday, 1 March 2010 - 12:00pm

2007, Israel, 62 min  Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler

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Extraordinary War Stories
Monday, 1 March 2010 - 12:00pm

Rosemary Bailey’s book, Love and War in the French Pyrenees, offers an emotional history underlying the bitter facts of wartime in the Pyrenees and the unspoken secrets of the french Resistance.

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Schools Morning
Monday, 1 March 2010 - 12:15pm

Year 6 and 7 classes were invited to sample some of the most exciting parts of the festival including talks, music and readings from actors.

 

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03-2 Tuesday

Voodoo Histories
Tuesday, 2 March 2010 - 11:00am

David Aaronovitch has always been fascinated by the absurdity of conspiracy theories, from allegations that the moon landings were fake, to the attribution of the 2004 tsunami to Israeli nuclear tests.

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Judeities
Tuesday, 2 March 2010 - 11:00am

Hélène Cixous, one of France’s foremost intellectuals, spoke to writer and literary critic Nicholas Royle. They considered “Judeities”, a word and notion in the plural, favoured by Jacques Derrida over the more conventional terms “Judaism” and “Jewishness”.

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Arthur Miller
Tuesday, 2 March 2010 - 11:15am

Access to previously undisclosed papers proved a gold mine to captivating storyteller Christopher Bigsby.

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Imagine... Arthur Miller: Finishing the Picture
Tuesday, 2 March 2010 - 11:30am

(2004) LOUISE HOOPER, LESLIE MEGAHEY

Alan Yentob spends three days with legendary American playwright Arthur Miller,
during the course of which Miller extensively discusses his life and work.

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Stories about Stories: Etgar Keret Masterclass
Tuesday, 2 March 2010 - 11:30am

This was a unique opportunity to meet with award-winning writer Etgar Keret who read some stories about writing (some yet unpublished) and spoke about the creative process. This was followed by a serious discussion about story writing.

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03-3 Wednesday

What have we learnt (if anything) from the economic crisis?
Wednesday, 3 March 2010 - 10:00am

Have we learnt anything from the economic crisis that rocked the world only too recently? At the time of going to print, the UK was one of the few Western countries still not officially out of recession.

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Bad Ideas? How our Finest Inventions May Finish Us Off.
Wednesday, 3 March 2010 - 10:15am

Professor Winston, one of the world’s leading experts in human reproduction, took a fresh look at man’s greatest discoveries and questioned whether our dependence on science and technology has led us into a precarious situation?

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Book of Clouds
Wednesday, 3 March 2010 - 10:45am

Chloe Aridjis read from The Book of Clouds and discussed her highly atmospheric novel, set in contemporary Berlin, yet fraught with a sense of fragmentation and the haunting layers of history.

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Documentary Film: Into the Arms of Strangers
Wednesday, 3 March 2010 - 10:45am

Narrated by Oscar winner Judi Dench, this film is written and directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, writer and director of the Academy Award-winning feature documentary The Long Way Home and produced by Deborah Oppenheimer. 

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Save the Children
Wednesday, 3 March 2010 - 10:45am

Susan Soyinka told the story of the evacuation of the Jewish Free School to Cornwall during World War Two and a remarkable story of integration into village life.

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Reading Group: Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig
Wednesday, 3 March 2010 - 11:00am

The story of two lovers separated by war, class and fortune, Zweig's long-lost final novella - recently discovered in manuscript form - is a poignant examination of the angst of nostalgia and the fragility of love.

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03-4 Thursday

The Strange Alchemy of Life and Law
Thursday, 4 March 2010 - 4:30pm

Two cult figures in the fight for justice, looked back on Albie Sachs’ life-long devotion to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. For this he paid a high price - losing both an arm and the sight in one eye in a car bomb.

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The Dove Flyer
Thursday, 4 March 2010 - 4:45pm

When his Uncle Hizkel is arrested, Kabi and his family face an uncertain future as do all Jews living in Baghdad.

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A Different World, Poland's Jews, 1919-1943
Thursday, 4 March 2010 - 4:45pm

(Struggles for Poland, Channel 4)

Documents through archival films, stills, interviews and readings the once flourishing and dynamic community of Polish Jews, and the events leading up to the Holocaust. 58 min.

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Democracy at Risk
Thursday, 4 March 2010 - 4:45pm

Our panel discussed the threats to democracy. In Freedom for Sale John Kampfner explores the widespread surrender of freedom for stability and wealth.

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The Good Doctor
Thursday, 4 March 2010 - 5:00pm

‘John Marks is something of a national treasure. He is a man whose life for more than 40 years marched in beat with that of the National Health Service.

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Workshop: Free Up Your Writing
Thursday, 4 March 2010 - 5:00pm

Behind every published work is a creative life and commitment to regular writing.

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03-5 Friday

Chez Elles
Friday, 5 March 2010 - 4:15pm

The award-winning author of Five Photos of My Wife and Chez Moi spoke to Claudia Roden about her passions for writing and cooking and how they complement each other, about translating and being translated, about love, motherhood and the pursuit of happiness.

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Writing Workshop: From Memoir to Fiction
Friday, 5 March 2010 - 4:30pm

This workshop looked at how you can turn your life into fiction. After examining examples from various writers, participants discussed how to select material from their own lives, did some short writing exercises and had the opportunity to read their work and receive comments.

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03-6 Saturday

True Tales?
Saturday, 6 March 2010 - 4:15pm

For the first time, JBW commissioned new work; storytelling with a common theme. We entitled this evening ‘True Tales?’ and selected some of our favourite writers who presented works of either truth or fiction.

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36 Arguments for the Existence of God
Saturday, 6 March 2010 - 4:15pm

She is glamorous, incredibly bright and has a great sense of humour.

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03-7 Sunday

A Way Forward?
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 12:15pm
The relationship between Israel and the Diaspora has never been as complex.
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Celebrating Irène Némirovsky
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 1:45pm

The dramatic discovery and publication of Suite Française, a manuscript her two daughters had carried around with them unaware of its value, made Irène Némirovsky famous worldwide and a great writer cut down in her prime by the Nazis.

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Time Travelling in Polish Literature
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 2:00pm

From the urban decadence of Yiddish theatre to the timeless world of the shtetl, Henry Goodman and Beverley Klein gave voice to the prose, poetry and drama of a century of Jewish Poland interspersed with new musical arrangements from Lemez Lovaz. They took us into an irrecoverable world, invoking

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Meet the Cult Author
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 2:15pm

Pawel Huelle has a cult following both in Poland and internationally. A novelist, playwright and newspaper columnist, he worked for Solidarity, was a university lecturer in philosophy and head of Gdansk’s local television channel.

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The Books of Esther
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 2:15pm

Esther David has been compared both to Isaac Bashevis Singer and Rohinton Mistry. The author of The Book of Esther and Shalom India Housing Society told us wry, affectionate tales about the dwindling Bene Israel community.

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The Stuff of Legend
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 2:45pm

Award-winning writers Inbali Iserles and Justin Somper joined us to talk about their worlds of adventure beyond the familiar time and spaces.

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Anne Fine
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 2:45pm

Anne Fine is one of our most prestigious authors, translated into thirty five languages. In this family session, Anne answered the questions she is asked most frequently by her readers of all ages and took further questions from the audience.

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Memory and Revival
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 2:45pm

In Rediscovering Traces of Memory, Jonathan Webber, with the help of Chris Schwarz’ arresting colour photographs of present-day Polish Galicia, has captured the traces of memory that remain of eight hundred years of Jewish life.

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Queer Jewish Culture
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:00pm

Intersections and overlap between Queer and Jewish cultures were prominent within classic Yiddish films and writing and have resurfaced ever since. The synthesis of the two cultures which has a great tradition in which the outsider is celebrated, also has a darker side, complicated by Antisemitic

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History Revisioned: Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:15pm

The author/historian on pioneer Jews in the New World will argue that a tipping point in the readmission of Jews to Great Britain was a heretofore unreported role of Jewish merchants in the conquest of Jamaica in 1655.

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Reflections on the Bibilical Unconscious
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:15pm

The great Torah scholar and philosopher underpins literary analysis with classical Freudian concepts to offer us an increased understanding of the motivations of the men and women whose stories form the basis of the Bible.

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Shmendrick and the Croc
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:30pm

Shmendrick and his friend the Croc travel through the Jewish year, sharing in its joy, searching for its meaning and having small adventures along the way. They always try to do the right thing, but Shmendrick's love of chocolate is sometimes a distraction.

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Marriage, Motherhood and Murder
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:30pm

Licoricia of Winchester was a prominent Jewish business woman close to Henry III whose rise to fortune makes for a fascinating read. Why was she brutally murdered? Could this be linked to the deterioration in the conditions of Jews that would lead to the expulsion of 1290?

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The Human Condition
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:30pm

We were delighted to launch two great works of fiction: Amy Bloom’s Where the God of Love Hangs Out and So Much for That, by the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver.

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The Ultimate Book Guides
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:45pm

The editors of The Ultimate Book Guide joined us at JBW 2010 as well as not one, but two much loved children’s writers, former Children's Laureate, Anne Fine and Carnegie prize winning Meg Rosoff. They shared their favourite books and suggested a treasure trove of new reading.  

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Lookit Cookit
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:45pm

Remember being told: 'Don't play with your food' ? This is the opposite, a cookbook for kids filled with recipes they can actually make, and you’ll actually want to eat.

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Writing to Change the World
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 3:45pm

Here were three writers not afraid to tackle serious issues: racism and homophobia, the right to die, the meaning of art, the absurdity of cycles of vengeance, faith and religion - and much more.

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Little Bookniks - the Interactive Literary Lounge
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 4:00pm

JCC presented a fair for the little literati, Little Bookniks, at Jewish Book Week 2010. Little ones had the chance to step inside their imagination and be inspired by the dreams and nightmares theme.

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Torah Queeries Workshop: Reading the Bible Through a “Bent Lens”
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 4:00pm

Following on the ancient tradition of interpreting the Torah portion by portion, Torah Queeries brought together some of the world’s leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Bible through a "bent lens".  

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Jewish Book Week 2010
Sunday, 7 March 2010 - 11:45pm

Sunday 7 March was the final day of Jewish Book Week 2010. The main festival ran from 27 February to 7 March at London's Royal National Hotel. More than 100 challenging and entertaining speakers took part in 67 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.