Mira and Tony Rocca
This was a nostalgic session on a vanished multicultural Middle East, fragrant Cairo and vibrant Baghdad, where Jews lived in peace with their Muslim neighbours in a Babel of languages. With stories of sudden hatred, bloody destruction and, ultimately, uprooting and exile, Lagnado remembers her Egyptian father and his American nightmare; Mira Rocca, her Iraqi mother, Violette Shamash.
Born in Cairo, Lucette Lagnado is a senior special writer and investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal, where she has received numerous prizes for her work. She is the co-author of Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz, which has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. She has won the prestigious Sami Rohr prize for The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit, My Family's Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World.
Violette Shamash’s memoir, Memories of Eden, is drawn from recollections and notes she sent over a period of 20 years to her daughter Mira, and edited by her son-in-law, Tony Rocca, a journalist whose Fleet Street career spanned two decades with the Daily Mail and Sunday Times. He is the author ofCatching Fireflies.
Jo Glanville is editor of Index on Censorship – winner of an Amnesty Media Award 2008. She was a current affairs producer at the BBC for eight years. She has a particular interest in the Middle East and edited Qissat. Her documentaries for the BBC include A Thousand and One (a series about the influence of The Arabian Nights on western culture), and Drancy: Story of a Housing Estate. She has contributed to many publications including The Guardian, New Statesman, the Observer and the Independent.
Sponsored by Dr Naim Dangoor OBE, the founder and producer of The Scribe, Journal of Babylonian Jewry, www.dangoor.com and the Association of Jews from Egypt