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 of Russo-Italian, Romano-Levantine parents. His plays have been performed throughout Britain and on radio in Britain, France and Germany, and his work has been translated into the major European languages and Arabic.

David Herman


David Herman was a TV producer for twenty years, working with Jeremy Isaacs and Melvyn Bragg among others, and has been a freelance writer for the past fifteen years writing 700 articles for a number of leading magazines and newspapers including The New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian and The Independent. He is chief fiction reviewer of The Jewish Chronicle.

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In Association with the TLS Sponsored by Dangoor Education