Desert Island Books: Howard Jacobson
In a light-hearted and often hilarious finale to Book Week 2003, Howard Jacobson, acclaimed novelist and master of irreverent comedy, revealed to Vanessa Feltz the Jewish books he would take with him to that mythical desert island. Along the way he discussed his life and work with his customary biting wit.
Howard Jacobson has written seven novels. The Mighty Walzer (1999), set in the Jewish community in Manchester during the 1950s, won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic writing and the Jewish QuarterlyLiterary Prize for Fiction in 2000. He is a regular broadcaster and his two non-fiction books, Roots Schmoots: Journeys Among Jews (1993), an exploration of his own Jewish roots, and Seriously Funny: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime (1997), an analysis of comedy and its functions, inspired related television series. He has also made two recent television programmes, Howard Jacobson Takes on the Turner, broadcast byChannel 4 in 2000, and a South Bank Show special entitled Why the Novel Matters broadcast in 2002. He writes a regular column for The Independent.
Vanessa Feltz is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. She presents a radio show every weekday afternoon on BBC London 94.9.
"I remember we all loved making speeches when I grew up in Prestwich and we all got married. We got engaged, had as many barmitzvahs as we could, got married to make speeches. Because it was a terrific way to make a speech. Because with all the weddings in Manchester, all the simchas, you never had less than 400 people if you wanted a big audience like this. Now I can come to Jewish Book Week, but then you had to get married. I must say this is less pressure on the nerves!' [Howard Jacobson]
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