JBW 2022 Digipass

Ruth Wisse, Josh Glancy, Amy Bloom, Devorah Baum, Nessa Rapoport, Sally Berkovic, Lewis R Gordon, Dennis Davis, David Grossman, Melvyn Bragg, Timothy Snyder, Claudia Kalb, Simon Parkin, Christopher Andrew

02/03/2022 12:00 pm
KPlayer, Virtual Event

Jewish Book Week Digi-Pass gives access to all eight KPlayer (online streaming) events for £39.50.


Mourning & Evening – Monday 28 February 1pm GMT

From burials to sitting shiva, join the authors of two intriguing new books on how Jewish communities mark death. Nessa Rapoport, author of Preparing for Sabbath and A Women’s Book of Grieving, returns with Evening: A Novel, with a Jewish family mourning the death of one of two sisters. And in Death Duties: The Chevra Kadisha Jewish Burial Society, What Being Around the Dead Taught Me About Life Sally Berkovic, CEO of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe and author of Under My Hat, takes the reader into a sometimes mysterious world, reflecting on the meanings of the rituals and their place in the entirety of Jewish life.

Ruth Wisse: Free as a Jew – Monday 28 February 6.30pm GMT

“Ruth Wisse’s intellectual autobiography is a lasting work of profound moral force and scathing political discernment.” High praise from Cynthia Ozick for Free as a Jew: A Personal Memoir of National Self-Liberation. Harvard Professor Emerita Ruth Wisse escaped the Nazis as a child and devoted her life as a female Jewish refugee to pioneering women’s equality in the academy and amplifying the literary voice of her decimated people. In her controversial new memoir she argues that the American Jewish establishment is refusing to exercise its power in the defence of Jews being assaulted on streets today and that Harvard is infested with anti-Judaism, as well as shedding light on her relationships with Leonard Cohen, Saul Bellow and Isaac Bashevis Singer. An unmissable online encounter with the leading scholar and author as she approaches her 86th birthday.

Stars and Spies – Monday 28 February 8pm GMT

Espionage relies on secrecy and show business on publicity, but both require high levels of creative thinking, improvisation, disguise and role-play. Stars and Spies is the first history of the lively crossover between the two, which has produced some of the most extraordinary undercover agents as well as dangerous failures.

From Tudor England and Tsarist Russia to the golden age of Hollywood and beyond – and with a cast including Harpo Marx, Voltaire, Mata Hari, John Le Carre and Noel Coward – Cambridge history professor Christopher Andrew will be discussing his vastly entertaining and impeccably researched book.

Love & Loss – Tuesday 1 March 1pm 

New York Times bestseller Amy Bloom has won international acclaim for her novels, essays, children’s books and short stories, with Roddy Doyle calling her “one of the USA’s most consistently brilliant writers”. Her powerful new non-fiction work, In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss is an illuminating story of two people whose love and shared life experiences led them to find a courageous way to part—and of a woman’s struggle to go forward in the face of loss. When her husband Brian was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they were forced to confront a part of life we so often shy away from: its ending. Determined to die on his feet, they made the unimaginably difficult and painful decision to go to Dignitas, an organization based in Switzerland that empowers a person to end their own life with dignity and peace. The award-winning author of Lucky Us and Come To Me joins us online live from the US to discuss this heart-breaking and surprising memoir, described by Meg Wolitzer as “full of everything that matters…In Love is gripping, moving, and beautifully told”.

Fear of Black Consciousness – Wednesday 2 March 1pm

Afro-Jewish philosopher Lewis R. Gordon, one of the leading scholars of Black Existentialism, joins us live from the US to discuss his ground-breaking look at how racial identity is constructed and experienced through history, art, politics and popular culture. Described by Judith Butler as “a thinker whose reflections on race have produced singular illuminations on our times”, Gordon is head of philosophy at UCONN-Storrs, visiting professor at the University of Johannesburg and honorary president of the Global Center for Advanced Studies. He will be in conversation with Dennis Davis, one of South Africa’s most respected legal minds and appointed as a judge at the High Court of Cape Town by Nelson Mandela.

David Grossman & Melvyn Bragg – Wednesday 2 March 6.30pm

Bestselling and award-laden author David Grossman joins us live online from Israel to discuss his writing and latest novel More Than I Love My Life with broadcaster and author Melvyn Bragg. His follow-up to International Booker winner A Horse Walks Into A Bar focuses on a 90th birthday celebration interrupted by a long-estranged family member. A recipient of France’s Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Frankfurt Peace Prize and the Israel Prize for Literature speaks to Lord Bragg about a unique career which has seen his novels and non-fiction translated into 36 languages.

On Tyranny – Wednesday 2 March 8pm

Levin Professor of History at Yale Timothy Snyder joins us live from the US following the publication of a new graphic edition, with illustrations by Nora Krug, of his New York Times No.1 bestseller On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From The Twentieth Century. The winner of the Hannah Arendt Prize, the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding and the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Literature Award discusses his guide to surviving and resisting America’s arc toward authoritarianism, examining the darkest moments in recent history. Described as “a stunning reminder of the myriad, insidious forms oppression takes” by Star Wars director JJ Abrams and “vastly important, deeply affecting, powerful, magnificent” by The Ratline author Philippe Sands, this is a don’t-miss discussion of a must-read book.

The Island of Extraordinary Captives – Thursday 3 March 1pm 

Painstakingly researched from dozens of unpublished first-hand accounts and previously classified documents, The Island of Extraordinary Captives: A True Story of an Artist, a Spy and a Wartime Scandal tells, for the first time, the story of history’s most astonishing internment camp. In these challenging circumstances a group of world-renowned artists, musicians and academics, now seen as ‘enemy aliens’, turn a prison into a university, cultural centre, art gallery, broadcasting station, fitness club, engineering school and concert amphitheatre. But is there really a Nazi spy in their midst?

Spark: How Genius Ignites – Friday 4 March 1pm 

What are the origins of genius? How do luck, failure, personality and serendipity play into the arc of discovery? And why do some people reach extraordinary creative heights early in life while others achieve greatness decades later? New York Times bestseller Claudia Kalb joins us live from the US to answer these questions and more, as in her latest book Spark, via the lives of 13 extraordinary individuals, from child prodgies Shirley Temple, Yo-Yo Ma and Pablo Picasso to those who achieved greatness later in life like Maya Angelou, Alexander Fleming and the creator of Roget’s Thesaurus.

Nessa Rapoport

Nessa Rapoport, born in Toronto, Canada, is the author of Evening: A Novel (Counterpoint Press, 2020; paperback 2021). The story of two sisters in their 30s and their secrets, Evening is set in a shiva house as one sister grieves for the other. It was chosen as a best book of the fall by VogueLitHubEntertainment WeeklyHey AlmaRefinery29, and Brooklyn Public Library’s “Our Favorite Books from 2020”; and praised in a starred Publishers Weekly review. It was a 2020 National Jewish Book Award finalist in fiction and is shortlisted for the 2021 Vine Awards in Canadian Jewish Literature. Nessa Rapoport is the author of a previous novel, Preparing for Sabbath; a volume of her prose poems, A Woman’s Book of Grieving; and a memoir, House on the River. She speaks frequently on Jewish culture and imagination.  image © Eugene Weisberg

Sally Berkovic

Sally Berkovic was born in Australia and is the daughter of Slovakian Holocaust survivors. She studied at Melbourne University and worked as a social worker and academic for ten years. Sally lived in Jerusalem and New York before an epistolary romance brought her to London in 1993 where she established a freelance writing career while her children were young. Since 2009, she has been the CEO of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, supporting Jewish heritage and culture across Europe

Ruth Wisse

Ruth R. Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University emeritus. She is a noted scholar of Yiddish literature and of Jewish history and culture. Image cr Joyce Ravid

Josh Glancy

Josh Glancy is special correspondent for The Sunday Times, reporting for the paper from across Britain and Europe. Prior to this he was the paper's Washington bureau chief and spent five years reporting from across most of America, but never Alaska or the Dakotas. He's also a columnist for The Sunday Times and The Jewish Chronicle.

Lewis R Gordon

Lewis R. Gordon is an Afro-Jewish philosopher, activist and also a musician, who was born on the island of Jamaica and grew up in the Bronx, New York. As Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy at UCONN-Storrs in the United States, Gordon is a pioneer in the school of Black existentialist thought and a pre-eminent scholar working to continue the Fanonian legacy within contemporary philosophy.

Dennis Davis

Dennis Davis was educated at the Universities of Cape Town and Cambridge. One of South Africa's most respected legal minds, he was appointed to a personal chair of Commercial Law in 1989, in 1998 he became a Judge of the High Court, and the President of the Competition Appeal Court in 2000.|Judge Dennis Davis is educated at the Universities of Cape Town and Cambridge. One of South Africa's most respected legal minds, he was appointed to a personal chair of Commercial Law in 1989, in 1998 he became a Judge of the High Court, and the President of the Competition Appeal Court in 2000.

David Grossman

David Grossman is the bestselling author of numerous works, which have been translated into thirty-six languages. His most recent novel, A Horse Walks into a Bar, was awarded the International Man Booker Prize 2017, and shortlisted for the TLS Risa Domb/Porjes Prize 2019. Grossman is also the recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the 2010 Frankfurt Peace Prize. Image c. Peter-Andreas Hassiepen

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is an award winning writer and broadcaster. He is the editor of The South Bank Show and presenter of the BBC’s acclaimed discussion programme, In Our Time.

Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder is the Levin Professor of History at Yale University and the author of The Road to UnfreedomOn TyrannyBlack Earth, and Bloodlands. His work has received the Hannah Arendt Prize, the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding, and an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut. Photo: © Ine Gundersveen

Claudia Kalb

Clau­dia Kalb is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist who blends biog­ra­phy, sci­ence, and first­hand report­ing to illu­mi­nate the lives of great minds. Spark builds on a series of cov­er sto­ries she wrote for Nation­al Geo­graph­ic about the ori­gins of genius. Her first book, Andy Warhol Was a Hoard­er: Inside the Minds of His­to­ry’s Great Per­son­al­i­ties, was a New York Times bestseller.

Simon Parkin

Simon Parkin is an award-winning British writer and investigative journalist. He is the author of  A Game Of Birds And Wolves, which told the little-known story of a small group of women in Liverpool who devised a war game which went on to be the thing that won the Battle of the Atlantic, and has been bought for film by Steven Spielberg. He lives in West Sussex.

Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom is the author of four novels, White Houses, Lucky Us, Away and Love Invents Us; three collections of short stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, Come to Me and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, (all published in one volume as Rowing to Eden); and a collection of essays, Normal. She is the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University. She lives in Connecticut. Image cr. Elena Seibert

Christopher Andrew

Christopher Andrew is Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at Cambridge University, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, in-house historian for MI5, former Visiting Professor of National Security at Harvard University, and guest lecturer at numerous universities. With Oleg Gordievsky, he published KGB – The Inside Story, the book that revealed the identity of the fifth man. He is also the author of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized Official History of MI5. Professor Andrew is also a frequent presenter of BBC TV and radio programmes on history and world affairs.