What Does it Mean to be a Jewish Writer?

Howard Jacobson, Eva Hoffman, Gabriel Josipovici

Chair: Adam Kirsch

01/03/2020 5:00 pm
Kings Place, Hall 1

Saul Bellow said, ‘I have tried to fit my soul into the Jewish-writer category, but it does not feel comfortably accommodated there.’ To many of us, Bellow and authors such as Philip Roth are quintessentially Jewish writers. But does the concept of a Jewish writer even exist? Three of our greatest living – and ‘Jewish’ – writers discuss the notion.

In Association with the TLS

Sponsored by Dangoor Education

Howard Jacobson


Howard Jacobson is a multi-award-winning writer of 13 novels and five works of non-fiction, as well as a regular contributor to major newspapers and journals, including a regular column for The Independent. He won the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question.

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.

Gabriel Josipovici


Gabriel Josipovici was born in Nice in 1940 to Jewish parents of Italo-Russian, Romano-Levantine extraction. He lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956, when he came to England. He read English at a St. Edmund Hall, Oxford and from 1963 to 1998 was first a lecturer, then a Professor in the School of European Studies at the University of Sussex. He is the author of some twenty novels, ten books of criticism, a memoir of his mother, the poet Sacha Rabinovitch, and numerous stage and radio plays. His reviews have appeared in the Guardian, The Independent, The Times Literary Supplement, the New York and the London Review of Books. Image cr. Tereza Stehlikova

David Herman


David Herman was a TV producer for twenty years and for the past twenty years has worked as a freelance writer, writing more than a thousand articles, reviews and essays for The New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian and a wide range of Jewish publications including The Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Renaissance and The Jewish Quarterly.

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In Association with the TLS Sponsored by Dangoor Education