Past Events

Past EventsSunday, March 2

Writing About War

Ron Leshem
Ian Black

Written as the diary of the head of a commando team stationed at Beaufort during the last winter of Israeli occupation, Beaufort is a revolutionary and potent look at the triviality of war and death, and the courage it takes to put an end to it.  This is not a story of war, but of retreat.  This is a story with no enemy, only an amorphous entity that drops bombs from the skies. And while thirteen young men propel the novel and give it life and colour, the real hero of Beaufort is fear: contagious, intoxicating, palpable fear, a word they forbid themselves from uttering.

This book is a devastating portrayal of a generation which discovers that the values bestowed on them by their parents have betrayed them.

With a critical eye and an empathetic heart, Ron Leshem dishes up a wholly human story that takes place in conditions that are anything but.  Fast-paced and brutally honest, unflinching and uproariously funny, Beaufort has been hailed – not only by critics but by the generation of soldiers who served in Lebanon during Israeli occupation – as the true voice of that sobering period.

Ron Leshem, born in 1976, is a native of Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv.  Beaufort, in Hebrew Im Yesh Gan Eden (If There is a Paradise), won the 2006 Sapir Prize – Israel’s top literary award – as well as the Yitzhak Sadeh Prize for military literature. It was a huge bestseller in Israel, selling 120 000 copies and was made into a film directed by Joseph Cedar and nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.

From 1998 to 2002 Ron Leshem served on the editorial board of Yediot Ahronot newspaper. Among his most notable achievements there was a series of articles from the field about the Intifada that gained widespread public attention. In 2002 he became deputy editor of Maariv newspaper and in 2006 joined the Channel Two television station as deputy director in charge of programming and special projects. Leshem also teaches media and communications at several academic institutions.

Ian Black is the Guardian's Middle East editor. In more than 25 years on the paper he has also been its European editor, diplomatic editor, foreign leader writer and Middle East correspondent.

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Jonathan Safran Foer discusses his novel Here I Am with Hephzibah Anderson at an out-of-festival event.