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Sea of Azov

Tania Hershman, Michelene Wandor, Tamar Yellin, Karen Maitland

22/02/2009 10:45 am
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“The dark menace lurking in the best fairy tales is never far from the surface…”

JBW 2009 launched World Jewish Relief’s first ever collection of short stories. Jewish and non-Jewish writers from Britain, Israel and North America came together to support WJR and to tell their tales, trying to make fictional sense of the previous century and the century just beginning to evolve. This book has been given the title of The Sea of Azov, after both the birthplace of Chekhov, that consummate master of the short story, and the site of one of WJR’s campaigns to support distressed Jewish communities.

Celebrated writers, including Ali Smith, Nicole Krauss and Jon McGregor, offered tales of fear and betrayal, unrequited desire and revenge, grief and longing, love and fulfilment.

Readings by Tania Hershman, Karen Maitland, Michelene Wandor and Tamar Yellin were followed by a discussion chaired by Anne Sebba.

Tania Hershman

Tania Hershman\'s prize-winning flash fiction has been widely published, and a week of her short short stories was broadcast on Radio 4 in June 2010. Tania\'s first book,The White Road and Other Stories, was commended, 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. Tania is currently writer-in-residence in the Science Faculty, Bristol University, working on a collection of biology-inspired short stories funded by an Arts Council England award.

Michelene Wandor

Michelene Wandor is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and musician. She is the first woman to have had a drama on one of the National Theatre’s main stages – The Wandering Jew, in 1987. Her radio drama includes original radio plays and dramatizations, the most recent,Tulips in Winter, about the Jewish philosopher, Spinoza. Her books about contemporary theatre include Carry On, Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics, and Postwar British Drama: Looking Back in Gender. She has made a CD of the music of Salamone Rossi, the 17th century Italian-Jewish composer. Her poetry collection, Musica Transalpina, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for 2006.

Tamar Yellin

Tamar Yellin\'s first novel, The Genizah at the House of Shepher, received the Ribalow Prize 2006 and the Rohr Prize 2007 and was short-listed for the Wingate Prize. Her collection, Kafka in Bronteland and other stories, was a finalist for the Edge Hill Prize and received the Reform Judaism Prize 2006. Tales of the Ten Lost Tribes appeared in September 2008.

Karen Maitland

Karen Maitland lives in Lincoln. She writes fiction and non-fiction, including co-writing a number of cross-cultural books. Her first novel, The White Room, was short-listed for The Authors\' Club Best First Novel Award. Her medieval thriller, Company of Liars, was published in 2008.

Anne Sebba


Anne Sebba is a biographer, lecturer, radio presenter and former Reuters\' foreign correspondent. She has written nine critically acclained books, most recently Les Parisiennes.