Belonging: The Story of the Jews

Simon Schama

04/03/2018 12:30 pm
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Simon Schama’s Belonging is alive with energy, character and colour. Written in his inimitable style, this is a magnificent cultural history. It spans centuries and continents, from the Jews’ expulsion from Spain in 1492 to the brink of the 20th century, telling the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers, but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice, a boxer in Georgian England, a general in Ming China and an opera composer in 19th Germany. The story unfolds in Kerala and Mantua, the starlit hills of Galilee, the rivers of Colombia, the kitchens of Istanbul, the taverns of Ukraine and the mining camps of California.

Simon Schama


Simon Schama is Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. A writer, journalist and broadcaster, he has written and presented 40 films for the BBC, including The Story of the Jews (based on his two-volume work of the same name), Citizens and Rough Crossings. He recently curated The Face of Britain for the National Portrait Gallery and created the book and television series of the same name.

Elif Shafak


Elif Shafak is an award-winning British-Turkish novelist. She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 18 books, 11 of which are novels. Her work has been translated into 54 languages. Her latest novel 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and RSL Ondaatje Prize; and chosen Blackwell’s Book of the Year. Her previous novel, The Forty Rules of Love was chosen by BBC among 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. Shafak holds a PhD in political science and she has taught at various universities in Turkey, the US and the UK, including St Anne's College, Oxford University, where she is an honorary fellow. Shafak is a Fellow and a Vice President of the Royal Society of Literature. She is a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). An advocate for women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights and freedom of speech, Shafak is an inspiring public speaker and twice TED Global speaker. Shafak contributes to major publications around the world and she was awarded the medal of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2017 she was chosen by Politico as one of the twelve people “who will give you a much needed lift of the heart”. Shafak has judged numerous literary prizes, and chaired the Wellcome Prize and is presently judging the PEN Nabokov Prize www.elifshafak.com

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