What Does it Mean to be a Jewish Writer?
A.B. Yehoshua, Howard Jacobson, Eva Hoffman
Chair: Adam Kirsch
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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? Four of our greatest living – and ‘Jewish’ – writers discuss the notion.
In Association with the TLS
Sponsored by Dangoor Education
Born in Jerusalem in 1936, A.B. Yehoshua is the author of twelve novels, a collection of short stories, and several plays and volumes of essays. One of Israel’s top novelists, he has won prizes worldwide. An outspoken critic of both Israeli and Palestinian politics, A.B. Yehoshua continues to speak and work for peace.
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 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.
Adam Kirsch is a poet and critic who contributes regularly to the New Yorker, Tablet, and other publications. He is the author of ten books, including The People and the Books: 18 Classics of Jewish Literature and Why Trilling Matters.