Chair: Elena Lappin
Is Shalom Auslander taking the name of God in vain when imagining Him as a big chicken? Is Naomi Alderman’s story of a lesbian relationship in Hendon blasphemous?
Brought up as an orthodox Jew in New York, Shalom Auslander has produced a collection of short stories, Beware of God, which is viciously funny and irreverent.
Naomi Alderman’s novel, Disobedience, is about a young woman who has turned her back on her father – a respected rabbi – and his ultraconservative community who conceal their lack of humanity behind a shroud of tradition.
Are these two books dangerously iconoclastic or part of a noble tradition of transgressive Jewish writing?
Naomi Alderman is already hailed as the Jewish Zadie Smith.
Shalom Auslander was nominated for the Koret Award for writers under 35.
Elena Lappin was born in Moscow, grew up in Prague and Hamburg, and has lived in Israel, Canada and the United States. She moved to London and edited the Jewish Quarterly from 1994 to 1997. She is the author ofJewish Voices, German Words: Growing Up Jewish in Postwar Germany and Austria, Foreign Brides, twelve humorous short stories about women coping in foreign countries with foreign husbands and her latest novel The Nose.
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