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Great Writers of the 20th Century: Adam Thirlwell on Isaac Bashevis Singer

Adam Thirlwell, David Schneider

13/03/2005 9:45 am
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When Nobel Prize-winner Isaac Bashevis Singer died in 1991 aged 87, he was already a canonical American writer. Yet Singer never wrote in English, although he did edit his stories in their English translations. His fame is as a Yiddish writer who kept the language, and the lost world it sprang from, alive in the world of the imagination. For writer Adam Thirlwell, Singer’s fascination is as a master storyteller with a strikingly modernist approach.

Extreme, ironic and unsentimental, with a keen awareness of the clash between tradition and modernity, Singer brought universal human conditions to life in a very contemporary manner.

Adam Thirlwell

Adam Thirlwell is the author of three novels, Politics, The Escape and Lurid & Cute; a novella, Kapow!; and a project with international novels that includes an essay-book – which won a Somerset Maugham Award – and a compendium of translations edited for McSweeney’s. His work is translated into 30 languages. He has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

David Schneider

David Schneider researched a PhD in Yiddish drama at Oxford before becoming the hilarious writer of – and actor and comedian in – award-winning comedy shows and films such as I’m Alan Partridge and Mission Impossible.