London’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas

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2015 Festival

Jewish Book Week 2015

Saturday, 21 February 2015 to Sunday, 1 March 2015

Jewish Book Week 2015 featured a rich array of talks, debates and entertainment. The festival may be over, but you can listen to or watch many of our events again.

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Events

02-19 Thursday

The Genius of Gershwin, a pre-festival performance
Thursday, 19 February 2015 - 8:30pm

Due to popular demand, Jewish Book Week have added a pre-festival performance of its opening night Gershwin event.

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02-21 Saturday

George Gershwin
The Genius of Gershwin
Saturday, 21 February 2015 - 8:00pm

In our specially commissioned two-act tribute to George and Ira Gershwin, we celebrate the wit and melodies of the brothers from Brooklyn who created some of the most memorable songs ever written.

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Cherchez la femme
Saturday, 21 February 2015 - 8:00pm

Lisa Appignanesi, Stephen Frosh, Eva Hoffman and John Launer discuss how sex became a scandal, not only in the so-called “dangerous method”, psychoanalysis, but also beyond the consulting room.

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02-22 Sunday

Karl Marx by Jonathan Sperber
Jonathan Sperber and Jonathan Freedland reconsider Marx
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 11:00am

Jonathan Sperber’s Karl Marx: A Nineteenth Century Life: Karl Marx has been hailed as “a brilliant embedding of Marx in his times.” Marx is portrayed as a man looking over his shoulder at the philosophes of the French Revolution, while stoking t

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Jews and the Military, Derek Penslar
Jews and the Military
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 11:00am

Jewish active involvement in the military is often perceived as a relatively new phenomenon, associated with the establishment and defence of Israel.

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Melnitz: a Sweeping Swiss Family Saga
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 11:00am

Charles Lewinsky’s portrait of Swiss Jewish life in his ambitious and panoramic novel Melnitz bears an astonishing resemblance to British provincial Jewish life in all its glory, saturated with familiar Yiddish idioms.

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Mark Rothko, Annie Cohen-Solal
Mark Rothko: the Man and His Art
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 12:30pm

Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkovitz, aka Mark Rothko, emigrated from the Russian Empire to the US aged 10 to become one of the most influential and original painters of the 20th century. Annie Cohen-Solal, the French cultural historian, has had unique access to previously un

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You Say Potato, David and Ben Crystal
David and Ben Crystal: You Say Potato...
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 12:30pm

Linguist David Crystal and his actor son Ben travel the world in search of the stories of spoken English.

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After Auschwitz, Eva Schloss
Eva Schloss: After Auschwitz
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 12:30pm

Eva Schloss recounts the story of her long journey home after the liberation of Auschwitz and looks back at her family’s culturally rich life before tragedy struck.

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Just One More, Gemma Levine
Gemma Levine: Life Behind the Camera
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 2:00pm

Gemma Levine presents her photographic memoir: Just One More…. With talent and verve, Gemma has photographed many of the prime movers of the 20th century, from actors to artists, prime ministers to royalty.

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The Jewish Parrot
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 2:00pm

The Jewish Parrot and Other Judeo-Spanish Tales is a unique book which combines striking illustrations with folk tales told in both English and Judeo-Spanish, known as Ladino.

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Chloe and Simon Schama
Simon and Chloe Schama Unravel the Father-Daughter Bond
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 2:00pm

Biographer and journalist Chloe Schama dedicated her first book, Wild Romance, to her father “who taught me how to tell a story.” Simon and Chloe engage in an intimate and lively conversation about family bonds, parental expectations, intergenerational values and the nat

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Frédéric Brenner: Israel through 12 Lenses
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 3:30pm

One country: 12 different worlds.

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Linda Grant, Julia Neuberger and Anne Sebba on a Lost Classic
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 3:30pm

2015 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of GB Stern, the little-known, but influential author of The Matriarch.

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Chaim Bermant Award for Journalism
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 3:30pm

Maureen Lipman introduces The Chaim Bermant Award for Journalism, produced for Jewish Book Week 2015.

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Pope Francis, Paul Vallely
Beyond the Vatican: Pope Francis and the Modern World
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 5:00pm

Jewish Book Week co-presents this event with the Council of Christians and Jews.

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If it’s Not Impossible... The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 5:00pm

Nicholas Winton, regarded as Britain’s Schindler, was a young stockbroker in 1938 when he masterminded an operation to rescue 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.

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End of Days, Jenny Erpenbeck
Jenny Erpenbeck and Doron Rabinovici
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 5:00pm

To Michael Faber, Jenny Erpenbeck is 'one of the finest, most exciting authors alive.' Her novel The End of Days is a story of the 20th century traced through the alternative lives of a single woman.

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Far from the Tree
Andrew Solomon and Julia Neuberger: Far From the Tree
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 6:30pm

Celebrated psychologist Andrew Solomon’s multi-award-winning Far From the Tree: Parents Children and the Search for Identitywas selected as a New York Times ‘Ten Best Books of the Year’.

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Scots Jews, Judah Passow
Judah Passow, Kenneth Collins and Hugo Rifkind on the Jews of Scotland
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 6:30pm

In Scots Jews: Identity, Belonging and the Future, photographer Judah Passow documents the life of Scotland’s contemporary Jewish community. His project has been exhibited in Edinburgh’s Parliament and in galleries across Scotland and the US.

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1946, Victor Sebestyen
Victor Sebestyen: The Making of the Modern World
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 6:30pm

1946 was a pivotal year in which a new world was born that shaped the second half of the 20th century: empires collapsed; new states and regimes sprang into being; national and ideological boundaries were redrawn and the Cold War was looming.

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Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 8:00pm

The George Webber Memorial Lecture

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Jeremy Robson and Maureen Lipman: Blues in the Park
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 8:00pm

Actress Maureen Lipman joins poet Jeremy Robson in reading from his powerful and witty new collection of poetry – Blues in the Park – described by her as “a marvellous wry observation of the sweet, sour and savoury in life.” Maureen also

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The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland, Sharman Kadish
Synagogues at Risk? Why British Jews need Jewish Heritage
Sunday, 22 February 2015 - 8:00pm

There is more to British Jewry than North London and the East End as Sharman Kadish’s expanded guidebook Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland demonstrates.

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02-23 Monday

Hermann Simon: Gone to Ground
Monday, 23 February 2015 - 1:00pm

Gone to Ground is derived from the tape recordings Hermann Simon made of his mother, Marie Jalowicz Simon, who survived the Second World War by throwing away her yellow star and going to ground. The memoir, translated into English by Anthea Bell, is a German bestseller.

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Suzanne Perlman: An Artist’s Life
Monday, 23 February 2015 - 2:30pm

The intensity of Budapest-born Suzanne Perlman’s paintings matches that of her illustrious life. Now 91, her career has spanned many decades and numerous locations, including Austria, Mexico and the southern Caribbean island of Curaçao.

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Jacqueline Rose and Helena Kennedy on Women in Dark Times
Monday, 23 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Jacqueline Rose’s compelling new book opens with three extraordinary women: revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg, German–Jewish painter Charlotte Salomon; and film icon Marilyn Monroe, whose lives intersected with some of the most dramatic events of the 20th century.

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Banker, Traitor, Scapegoat, Spy by Antony Lentin
Antony Lentin: the Rise and Fall of Sir Edgar Speyer
Monday, 23 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Sir Edgar Speyer was a much admired US-born philanthropist who, among his many contributions, founded the Whitechapel Art Gallery, financed the construction of new tube lines, and rescued the Proms from collapse. Shortly after the outbreak of WWI, however, Speyer was accused of being a spy.

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John Lahr: Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh
Monday, 23 February 2015 - 8:30pm

John Lahr wasThe New Yorker 's renowned chief drama critic for over 20 years and is now a regular contributor.

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Klop, Peter Day
Peter Day and Henry Hemming on Unlikely Spies
Monday, 23 February 2015 - 8:30pm

Our absorption in espionage stories has produced an explosion of heroes, books and films.

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02-24 Tuesday

Bright Star in a Dark Chamber
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - 1:00pm

Armed with relentless determination and biting wit, anti-apartheid legend Helen Suzman fought the white male establishment to form a groundbreaking human rights campaign.

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Elaine Feinstein: Portraits 
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - 2:30pm

Elaine Feinstein has been an academic, a novelist, a playwright, a biographer and a translator, but it is for her poems that she is best-known. Her new long-awaited collection of poems looks back at her life and the many fascinating people she has encountered.

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Breakfast at Sotheby's, Philip Hook
The Contemporary Art Scene
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Experts in the contemporary art scene will elucidate how the global art market works and how artists ignore it at their peril.

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The Language of Peace
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Raja Shehadeh, the award-winning human rights lawyer from Ramallah and author of Palestinian Walks, returns to Jewish Book Week to explore the politics of language and the language of politics with Hay Festival director Peter Florence.

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Tamsin Waley-Cohen
Life on and off the Stage
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - 8:30pm

Jewish Book Week and the Jewish Music Institute together present a father-daughter conversation between theatre impresario Stephen Waley-Cohen and violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen.

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Philosophy Bites Again
Philosophy Bites
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - 8:30pm

The Philosophy Bites podcast has been downloaded 23 million times (and rising), proving there is a huge appetite for philosophical exchange on topics such as the nature of pleasure, pain, free will and humour.

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02-25 Wednesday

Lyndall Gordon: Divided Lives
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 - 1:00pm

Susie Orbach has called Lyndall Gordon a “biographer of soul”...  This acclaimed biographer of Emily Dickinson, TS Eliot and Henry James turns to examine her own life in this fascinating memoir, recounted with searing honesty and candid self-analysis.

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Kenneth Marks: Jewish Archaeology
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 - 2:30pm

Jews were readmitted to Britain by Cromwell in 1656. In just over a century their number grew from a mere handful of families to 60,000 residents, who mostly lived in London.

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Caroline Moorehead and Edward Stourton: French Resistance
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Caroline Moorehead’s Village of Secrets is a gripping and penetrating account of the villagers of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon who risked (and sometimes lost) their lives to save several thousand Jewish fugitives from being deported by the Vichy regime.

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The Rich, John Kampfner
John Kampfner and Giles Fraser on The Rich  
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 - 7:00pm

The super-rich inhabit a parallel world, competing with each other for power and influence. They mesmerise and horrify us in equal measure. But is this globalised and gilded class something new?

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The Shifts and The Shocks, Martin Wolf
Martin Wolf and Mervyn King on the Economy
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 - 8:30pm

FT chief economics commentator, Martin Wolf, and former Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, discuss how far the global economy has recovered from the collapse of financial markets in 2008.

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Notting Hill Editions
The Art of the Essay: Notting Hill Editions
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 - 8:30pm

Michael IgnatieffPhillip Lopate and Adam Mars-Jones celebrate the essay, the sine qua non of Notting Hill Editions.

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02-26 Thursday

Upstairs at the Party, Linda Grant
The Writer’s Craft
Thursday, 26 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Linda Grant and AD Miller, together with Charlotte Mendelson, discuss the creative process – how they arrive at their ideas and characters or, perhaps, how ideas and characters come to them.

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A Bazaar Life, David Alliance and Ivan Fallon
A Bazaar Life: David Alliance and Ivan Fallon
Thursday, 26 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Ivan Fallon, former business editor of The Sunday Times and co-author of A Bazaar Life, talks to Liberal Democrat peer, captain of industry and philanthropist, David Alliance.

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Salvage, Keren David
The Art of Writing for Young Adults: a Workshop
Thursday, 26 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Writing for young adults is a genre of its own, prompting the challenges one might expect in creating enjoyable, age-appropriate, but trenchant works of fiction for those of not-quite adult status, who in many ways are wiser than their parents.

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Eleanor Marx by Rachel Holmes
Rachel Holmes on Eleanor Marx: A Life
Thursday, 26 February 2015 - 8:30pm

Rachel Holmes talks to Rachel Cooke about her critically acclaimed biography of Eleanor Marx. Marx’s favourite daughter was a revolutionary socialist campaigner and fiery feminist.

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Peter Beinart and Jonathan Freedland on Israel and the Diaspora
Thursday, 26 February 2015 - 8:30pm

 

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02-27 Friday

Vintage Glamour, Michael Greisman
Boris Bennett: East End Weddings
Friday, 27 February 2015 - 1:00pm

Boris Bennett chronicled the major life events of Jewish East End families for over 25 years. His iconic photographs of East End weddings have been collated and edited by Michael Greisman and the result is a stunning testament to Jewish East End life in the early 20th century.

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02-28 Saturday

The Betrayers, David Bezmozgis
The Betrayers
Saturday, 28 February 2015 - 7:00pm

Fresh from winning the National Jewish Book Award for his latest novel The Betrayers, Canadian author and filmmaker David Bezmozgis returns to Jewish Book Week to talk to Ben Judah about political principles, personal loyalties and Mossad agents.

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John Simons
The King of Ivy League
Saturday, 28 February 2015 - 8:00pm

John Simons was one of the leading menswear designers in 1960s London, introducing the Ivy League look to young, fashion-obsessed Mods. A new documentary The Neat Offensive about his life and distinctive style is now in the making.

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Tel Aviv
Roger Cohen, Michael Ignatieff and Simon Schama on Israel's Future
Saturday, 28 February 2015 - 8:30pm

Last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas sharpened perceptions of the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict. With an ever-more uncertain future ahead, many potential scenarios – some more pessimistic than others – are debated in the region and across the world.

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03-1 Sunday

The Serpent's Promise, Steve Jones
Steve Jones: Where Science Meets the Bible
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 11:00am

Science and faith are often viewed as mutually exclusive, but both are concerned with life’s most profound mysteries. Steve Jones, the world-famous geneticist, evolutionist and environmentalist, is an authority on snails, flies and people.

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The Girl from Human Street, Roger Cohen
Roger Cohen: The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 11:00am

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen’s memoir is an intimate and moving Jewish family history of displacement, prejudice, hope, despair and love.

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Natalie Haynes © Dan Mersh
Natalie Haynes: Stand Up for the Classics
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 11:00am

Fêted comedian, broadcaster and writer Natalie Haynes takes you on a whistle-stop tour of Ancient Greece and Rome.

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A.B. Yehoshua
AB Yehoshua: Lunchtime Lecture
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 12:30pm

AB Yehoshua, one of Israel’s foremost writers and public intellectuals, considers how Jewish culture is now reflected through the prism of contemporary Israeli society. What are the cultural consequences of Israel's recent social and political upheavals? 

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Göran Rosenberg and Sigrid Rausing: A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 12:30pm

Göran Rosenberg is in conversation with Granta’s Sigrid Rausing about his heart-stopping memoir of his father, A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz.

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Dinosaur Derivatives, Jeremy Josse
Jeremy Josse on Financial Paradoxes
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 12:30pm

Contrary to its dull image, the financial world is actually full of strange and wonderful conundrums.

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The Property, Rutu Modan
The Art of the Graphic Novel
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 2:00pm

Join leading Israeli graphic novelists Rutu Modan (The Property and Exit Wounds) and Yirmi Pinkus (Petty Business and Professor Fabrikant’s Historical Cabar

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Assaf Gavron: The Hilltop
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 2:00pm

Rich with humour and insight, hailed as “The Great Israeli Novel” (Time Out, Tel Aviv) Assaf Gavron’s prize-winning The Hilltop is a monumental and daring novel about life in a West Bank settlement. Perched between seri

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The Impossible Exile, George Prochnik
George Prochnik: Reflections on Stefan Zweig and Exile
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 2:00pm

George Prochnik’s family fled Austria in the 1930s, at the same time as Stefan Zweig turned his back on Vienna for the last time.

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How About Never
Robert Mankoff: The New Yorker Cartoon
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 3:30pm

The New Yorker cartoon is a unique and distinctive art form. Bob Mankoff, cartoonist and humourist, will demonstrate what makes this genre incomparable in an illustrated talk that will draw from his memoir: How About Never – Is Never Good for You?

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If this is a Woman, Sarah Helm
Sarah Helm on Ravensbrück and David Cesarani on Germany 1933-49
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 3:30pm

Ravensbrück was the only concentration camp with solely female occupants; today it is barely known. Sarah Helm has written the definitive account of the camp, singling out many acts of heroism among the atrocities.Drawing on newly-translated testaments and research, David

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The Zoom No.10 by Zoom Rockman
Workshop on Graphic Novels
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 3:30pm

Come and learn the secrets of creating comics from a team of celebrated graphic novelists. Bring your existing work and produce new work at the workshop.

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Ayelet Gundar-Goshen – One Night, Markovitch
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 3:30pm

Together with Pushkin Press, Jewish Book Week is delighted to launch the English edition of Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s One Night, Markovitch, a colourful debut novel tracing the destinies of a group of young people on the eve of WWII.

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J, Howard Jacobson
An Interview with Howard Jacobson
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 5:00pm

Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson returns to Jewish Book Week to discuss his enigmatically titled novel J with John Mullan. The work is a dystopian fiction set in a future where the past has become a dangerous country.

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Caroline Pick and Lisa Appignanesi: Retrieving Lost Memories
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 5:00pm

Caroline Pick’s Home Movie is a beautifully constructed film capturing the previously veiled story of her parents’ lives in 1930s Czechoslovakia and her own childhood in 1950s Britain.

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Deborah Treisman
Deborah Treisman and Hadley Freeman
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 5:00pm

As fiction editor of The New Yorker, Deborah Treisman is one of the most influential arbiters of literary taste on either side of the Atlantic.

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The Reckoning, Patrick Bishop
Patrick Bishop: The Reckoning
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 6:30pm

As leader of the infamous Stern Gang, Avraham Stern fomented Jewish rebellion in Palestine against British rule. He was shot dead by a British officer on a cold winter’s day in Tel Aviv in 1942, his death hastening the end of the British Mandate.

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Stack of Books
Going behind Closed Doors: Judging Book Prizes
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 6:30pm

Book prizes are almost as commonplace as book festivals. Shortlisted authors enjoy exposure and prestige and the winner tops it all with a substantial reward. But how are decisions actually reached?

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Honey & Co.
How London Fell in Love with Middle Eastern Food
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 6:30pm

Yotam Ottolenghi is not alone: following his phenomenal success a group of talented Israeli and Jewish chefs are taking the London restaurant scene by storm. Jay RaynerThe Observer’s restaurant critic, discusses the allure of Middle Eastern cooking with The Palomar’s 

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The New Yorker
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 8:00pm

New York symbolises the sweeping cultural changes of the 20th century and The New Yorker, first published in 1925, initiated many of these changes. With its extensive reportage and unparalleled arts features, the magazine transcends the city that gave it its name.

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Meir Zamir and Michael Goldfarb on a Secret Anglo-French War
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 8:00pm

In The Secret Anglo-French War in the Middle East 1940-1948, Meir Zamir uncovers an unknown Franco-Zionist intelligence collaboration against Britain in the Middle East that undermined its position in the region at the time of the British Mandate.

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Tracy Chevalier and Ella Leya Talk Jazz
Sunday, 1 March 2015 - 8:00pm

Ella Leya’s childhood in Azerbaijan is the inspiration for her novel Orphan Sky. She talks to Tracy Chevalier about growing up in Azerbaijan, her experiences with the Moscow Yiddish Theatre and her immigration to the West.

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Contributors

The JBW Newsfeed

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Video

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