Austin Ratner: The Jump Artist
Chair: A. D. Miller
Philippe Halsman was famous for photographing the 20th Century’s greatest names jumping in mid-air - from Dali to Monroe, Hitchcock to Picasso.
But his professional renown masked the shocking tragedy haunting his life. In 1928 aged twenty-two Halsman was unjustly accused of murdering his father in the Austrian Alps. The anti-semitism of the sensational Halsman case foreshadowed the Holocaust. Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann spoke out on his behalf and Sigmund Freud was called in to testify.
Austin Ratner's debut novel The Jump Artist tells of Halsman’s journey from prison to fame and triumph over injustice. Originally published by a tiny US press, the book won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature in 2011.
Jewish Book Week 2013 was the author’s first appearance in Britain.
Drawing from historical sources Ratner has crafted a stunning work of fiction. He discovered the Halsman case when he typed 'psychoanalysis and murder' into Google, and eventually abandoned a medical career to turn it into a novel. Only later did he realise that an Einstein portrait by Halsman had hung on his bedroom wall through his teenage years.
To buy this book from Blackwell's, click here. Ten per cent of the proceeds of book sales through Blackwell's benefit Jewish Book Week.
** This event will have live subtitling for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing visitors provided by STAGETEXT