JBW 2012 celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Jewish Book Week.
In his three volume work, The Sages, Rabbi Lau vividly describes how the Rabbis of the Talmud developed novel interpretations of Jewish law which could successfully navigate an ever-changing reality.
Twenty five years after her death, Wallis Simpson exerts a more powerful fascination than ever. That Woman is the first full scale biography written by a woman about the Duchess of Windsor, one of the most glamorous and vilified women of the last century and a key character in the recent
Rachel Kolsky joined us for the launch of Jewish London, throughout the session she delved into literature and films featuring sites, past and present, of Jewish London. Rachel co-wrote 'Jewish London' a new comprehensive guidebook which focuses on the heritage and culture of London’s hi
Dame Janet Suzman and George Gömöri read poems from I Lived on this Earth… Hungarian Poets on the Holocaust, edited by poet and translator George Gömöri and his wife Mari Gömöri. They were accompanied by violinist Marianne Olyver and pianist Robert Schuck.
Adina Hoffman’s Jewish Quarterly-Wingate-Prize-winning biography of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali is a moving account of the ways “ordinary” individuals are swept up by the floodtides of both war and peace.
The Scandal of Kabbalah is the first book about the origins of a culture war that began in early modern Europe and continues to this day: the debate between kabbalists and their critics on the nature of Judaism and the meaning of religious tradition.
Al-Andalus in Islamic Spain and the 19th Century Levant are often mentioned as legendary times and places of peaceful co-existence between different peoples and religions. But how much real social, cultural and economic interaction actually existed among Jews, Christians and Muslims?
The Austrian writer Joseph Roth was born in 1894 on the dusty edge of Eastern Europe. He died, forty four years later in a Paris sanatorium, a rootless, stateless alcoholic. In between he wrote 15 novels and novellas, and some of the most potent and evocative journalism of the 1920s and1930s.
Whether or not Robert Frost ever said it, just about everyone assumes that poetry is in fact what is lost in translation.
Charles Dickens's Fagin is one of the most infamous Jewish characters in world literature. Cunning, manipulative and ruthless, Fagin has become synonymous with 19th Century London's low life and organised street crime.
David Wesley came to Israel as a young Zionist to participate in what he saw as Jewish national rebirth. In this conversation with Tom Selwyn based on his book Zionist Images and State Practices, he challenged popular conceptions about existing and possible Jewish-Arab relations in Isra
Navigating the boundaries of sacred and profane David Goldberg and Elli Sarah are two rabbis who have stuck by their convictions, approaching Judaism with boldness, passion and unfailing intellectual rigour.
One May day in 1896, a meeting took place between a Romanian-born maverick Jewish intellectual and twin learned Presbyterian Scotswomen who had assembled to inspect several pieces of rag-paper and parchment.
Yehuda Halevi defined the Golden Age of Spanish Jewry and is considered Poet Laureate of the Jewish people. Like Maimonides, Halevi spanned multiple worlds.
In Lisbon: War in the Shadows of the City of Light 1939-45, a gripping tale of high-stakes intrigue, betrayal, double-dealing, and survival, Neill Lochery tells the story of how Portugal, a relatively poor European country trying frantically to remain neutral amidst extraordinary pressur
In the late 19th century at a time when women were still denied the vote, Rachel Sassoon Beer edited both The Sunday Times and the Observer.
Both Agnès Desarthe and Fabrice Humbert have written novels about men embarking on a difficult investigation into their own past and the secrets that were kept from them, both taken back to the horrors of WW2.
The capture of Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann by Israeli agents in Argentina in 1960 and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem electrified the world and sparked a global debate on where, how genocide can be judged.
Melisande! What Are Dreams? is a first novel by the acclaimed American-Israeli author and translator Hillel Halkin, known for his essays and books of non-fiction on Israeli and Jewish subjects and for his translations from Hebrew and Yiddish literature. And yet Melisande!
JBW 2012 presented a screening of the powerful 1920 silent film classic, ‘The Golem’, accompanied by a brand new musical score from Robin Harris on piano (with a few brass instrumental surprises).
In The Long Road Home, Ben Shephard describes how for 8 million displaced persons the end of the Second World War didn’t mean the end of their ordeal.
Bob Dylan’s songs formed an indispensable soundtrack to the 1960s, and have continued to capture the imagination of audiences ever since. His song lyrics are often praised for their poetry and he has been acclaimed by some as one of the great unsung poets of the 20th century.
What shapes a city’s identity? Who defines it? Is New York about individualism or community? Is Jerusalem about religion, conflict or cafés?
We embarked on an odyssey through 1950’s suburbia –a Metroland of neat lawns, bridge parties and Martini socials through the eyes of an ‘oddball tomboy’.
Sue Eckstein spoke about her devastating and wonderfully understated novel following the stories of three generations of women from wartime Germany to today.
This is the portrait of a world on the eve of its destruction. Bernard Wasserstein presented a disturbing interpretation of the collapse of European Jewish civilization even before the Nazi onslaught.
An ode to the Liberal Jewish Synagogue on its centenary.
Claude Lanzmann fought in the Resistance, opposed the war in Algeria, was Simone de Beauvoir’s lover and Jean-Paul Sartre's friend. He played a very important role in French intellectual life and is above all known for his magisterial nine-and-a-half hour film Shoah.
In Chochana Boukhobza’s moving novel, The Third Day, two cellists travel to Jerusalem for a concert.
Tom Rachman discussed his first novel, The Imperfectionists, about the quirky, maddening and endearing people who write and read an international newspaper based in Rome. Gripping, funny and moving, this is a novel about the hectic but now threatened life of the press as we knew it.
Ron Arad is a central figure in contemporary design, renowned for his willingness to push boundaries between disciplines and experiment with processes and materials. Many of his designs such as the Rover chair and the Bookworm bookshelf are iconic.
The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning by Jonathan Sacks was the starting point for a conversation between the Chief Rabbi and mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, chaired by Daniel Glaser.
Alba Arikha has written a vivid and haunting coming-of-age memoir, Major/Minor, set in Paris in the 1980’s. Her father was the artist, Avigdor Arikha; her mother the poet, Anne Atik; her godfather, Samuel Beckett.
Director Francine Pelletier, 2010 52 minutes
Why should anyone care about a writer’s house? Why do tourists flock to see where the Brontës lived or where Shakespeare was born?
The critically acclaimed master short-story teller Etgar Keret gave us a taste of his magic with his new collection of stories, Suddenly, A Knock on the Door. More absurd, humorous, surreal and compassionate than ever, they reflect Israel’s uncanny reality.
Entirely made up by David Schneider.
Claudia Roden spoke about discoveries she made while researching her new book The Food of Spain.
Why is this text different from all other texts? The Haggadah recounts the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt and is read around the Passover table each year. There are over 4000 known versions in existence; however this one is set to become the most wanted.
Hemingway’s legendary challenge to write a novel in six words—"For sale: baby shoes, never worn"— has unintentionally created one of the hottest modern literary trends.
Oil companies advertise their green credentials. Billionaires orchestrate ‘grassroots’ political movements. Organic food is grown on vast industrial farms. Public spending cuts that target the poor are billed as progressive.
The Croatian novelist spoke about her first novel to be translated into English,Trieste, the story of a mother who has waited over sixty years to be reunited with the son who was stolen from her by the Nazis.
Zygmunt Bauman took us on a sweeping tour of the history of European Jews and their search for a place. He placed back the birth of Zionism in its context, at the peak of modern nation-state building zeal and imperialist expansion.
The novel by Jonathan Freedland - written under the pseudonym Sam Bourne – Pantheon, is set in the Oxford and Yale of 1940. It follows an Oxford academic deemed unfit to serve in the war against Germany and his desperate search to find his missing wife and child.
In We Are Coming, Unafraid: The Jewish Legions and the Promised Land in the First World War, Michael Keren tells the little-known story of three all-Jewish battalions formed in the British army as part of the Allies’ Middle East campaign during WW1.
Why has the European Left become so antagonistic towards Israel? Is such antagonism in opposition to the policies of successive Israeli governments? Or, is it due to a resurgence of anti-Semitism?
Ludmila Ulitskaya came from Russia to talk about her extraordinary novel, Daniel Stein, Interpreter.
David Aaronovitch interviewed Umberto Eco about his brilliant historical novelThe Prague Cemetery set in 19th Europe, from Turin to Prague to Paris, at a time when conspiracies rule history.
Jay Rayner leaped at the chance to play one of the famed Steinways at King’s Place, and spoke about the music that has shaped his life, his flirtations with electro pop in the 80s, why he was drummed out of a blues band made up entirely of writers and, accompanied by a few of Britain’s best jazz
Will the Arab Spring lead to peace between Israel and its neighbours, or does it mean perpetual war? Is what we've been seeing really an Arab Spring, or is it in fact an Islamic Awakening?
In her book, Proust Among the Nations – from Dreyfus to the Middle East, Jacqueline Rose takes her far-reaching and often controversial analysis of the Middle East conflict into the heart of Europe.
Make way for the almighty teenager. Long have we suspected that this awkward figure, lurking in the shadows is an underrated entity.
Darkly hilarious, dangerously subversive and extraordinarily bold, Shalom Auslander delivered a hilarious and disquieting examination of the burdens and abuse of history.
Michael Portillo discussed David Conway’s new book Jewry in Music with the author, accompanied by live musical illustrations by Mark Viner (piano) and Claudia Conway (soprano).
In memory of Risa Domb
The leader of America’s pro-Israel, pro-peace lobby explained to Jonathan Freedland why he felt the need to fund J-Street. He comes from a family who were pioneers in Israel, founders of Tel Aviv and fighters for the country’s independence.
A chance discovery in a Sussex chapel led Stanley and Munro Price to the fascinating but forgotten story of Lewis Way. In 1805, Way, a devout evangelical Christian, came into a fortune by chance and looked for a cause to spend it on.
For Howard Jacobson, James Joyce's Ulysses is the greatest Jewish novel of the 20th century; for Henry Goodman the novel that hugely articulated and reshaped his artistic hopes and identity as an actor.
Here are two beautifully written and meticulously researched new novels.
Sunday 26 February was the final day of Jewish Book Week 2012. The main festival ran from 18 to 26 February at Kings Place. More than 110 challenging and entertaining speakers took part in 64 sessions, presenting arguments and many different points of view.