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George Webber Evening: Sixty Years On

Linda Grant, Eva Hoffman, Simon Schama, Emily Maitlis

19/02/2012 12:15 pm
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JBW 2012 celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Jewish Book Week.

When the first Jewish Book Week took place, memories of the War were painfully fresh and Israel a fragile idealistic fledgling state; It was the year Queen Elizabeth came to the throne and The Diary of Anne Frank was published in English. The world has changed in more ways than we could have foreseen: religion is openly criticised, we live in a multicultural society, Israel has still not achieved peace with its neighbours and the future of the book seems doomed.

Emily Maitlis invited brilliant minds – novelist Linda Grant, essayist Eva Hoffman and historian Simon Schama – to remember, debate and extrapolate to the future on the anniversary opening night of JBW 2012.

Linda Grant

Linda Grant writes both fiction and non-fiction. When I Lived in Modern Times won the Orange Prize and The Clothes on Their Backs, shortlisted for the Man Booker, won the South Bank Show Award.

Eva Hoffman


Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland and studied music at the Cracow Music Conservatory before emigrating in her teens to Canada and the United States, and eventually settling in Great Britain. After receiving her Ph. D. in literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor and cultural critic at The New York Times, and has taught at various British and American universities. Her books, which have been widely translated, include Lost in Translation, Exit Into History, After Such Knowledge and Time, as well as two novels, The Secret and Illuminations (published as Appassionata in the US). She has written and presented numerous programmes for BBC Radio and conceived a series of programmes at the South Bank on Writing and Music. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award for Writing, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Prix Italia for Radio, for work combining text and music. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the European Institute at UCL. She lives in London.

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.

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