Jewish Book Week 2023 Saturday 25 February - Sunday 05 March | Tickets now on sale

Janet Suzman

Janet Suzman has played most of Shakespeare’s women during her long career, most notably Cleopatra, a character so unlike his other heroines that 45 years later she decided to re-explore the play as a director with Kim Cattrall playing the Serpent of Old Nile. Janet starred in a wide range of classical and modern drama in the West End, ranging from Hedda Gabler (Evening Standard Award) in the 70’s to Solomon and Marion 5 years ago, set in post-apartheid South Africa. On TV, Clayhanger, The Singing Detective and Mountbatten, last Viceroy of India stand out as mini-series. Films include Nicholas and Alexandra (Oscar Nomination), A Dry White Season, and the freshly re-mastered Draughtsman’s Contract, re-issued at the BFI last November. She has directed both in the UK and in South Africa where her Othello with John Kani at The Market Theatre in 1987 caused quite a stir. It was later commissioned by the UK’s Channel Four TV. She was made a Dame in 2011. At present, rather than stage-work, she prefers to chair the committee agitating for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece; like her famous Aunt the late Helen Suzman, she detests an injustice. Today’s reading highlights the greatest injustice ever perpetrated, and she feels honoured to be asked to help bring this personal story into JBW’s spotlight.
Joanna’s Story: Read by Janet Suzman
A three-year old child is found in Theresienstadt at the end of the war with no memory of her past, her only words ‘dog’ and ‘soup’. Brought to children’s homes in England with other survivors, she was adopted under a new name and identity; her past was erased. This is the story of how Joanna Millan reclaimed her life. Award-winning playwright David Peimer created Joanna’s Story from hours of testimony and Dame Janet Suzman r...
A Glimpse of Malamud

This is the classic story of a Brooklyn Jewish boy, the child of immigrants, who turned himself into one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Philip Davis has written the first-ever biography of Bernard Malamud who died in 1986 and has suffered a certain neglect since then. In this celebratory event, designed to mark Malamud’s revival, Davis told the story of the life and work, accompanied by powerful readings given by the distinguished actress, Janet Suzman.

Vasily Grossman

Vasily Grossman is famous for his masterpiece Life and Fate and his writing as a reporter embedded within the Red Army, particularly for his powerful report on Treblinka. Robert Chandler (his translator and editor of The Road) revealed to us Grossman not only as a heroic witness, but also as a supreme artist, focusing on Grossman’s dialogue with another great short story writer, Isaak Babel.

Janet Suzman read from three of Grossman’s recently published short stories.

I Lived on this Earth…. Hungarian Poets on the Holocaust
Dame Janet Suzman and George Gömöri read poems from I Lived on this Earth… Hungarian Poets on the Holocaust, edited by poet and translator George Gömöri and his wife Mari Gömöri. They were accompanied by violinist Marianne Olyver and pianist Robert Schuck. …the voice speaks to you from inside and does not let you rest whilst you sit in your homes whilst you are out whilst you lie down or rise until you speak with their voice speak with their words spea...
Bright Star in a Dark Chamber
Armed with relentless determination and biting wit, anti-apartheid legend Helen Suzman fought the white male establishment to form a groundbreaking human rights campaign. Robin Renwick, former British Ambassador to South Africa discusses Helen Suzman’s extraordinary life and achievements with her daughter, art historian Frances Suzman Jowell and niece, actress and director Janet Suzman, facilitated by Rebecca Taylor...

Yael Dayan, daughter of the legendary Moshe Dayan, looks back at her life as a fierce and eloquent activist and influential politician. Chaired by Janet Suzman.

The Play’s The Thing

These three towering Shakespeareans who have taught, written about, directed and performed the greatest dramatist of all times, engage in a witty and illuminating exchange about why the pre-eminent playwright and poet is studied, interpreted and translated the world over, providing inspiration for new operas, films, plays, novels, and other works of art.

Bertolt Brecht: The Poet Now
David Constantine and Tom Kuhn have, for the first time, translated and edited the complete poems of Bertolt Brecht, the greatest German playwright of the 20th century, whose works include The Threepenny Opera, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and Mother Courage. In this stunning live performance, David and Tom are joined by actor Janet Suzman, singer Sarah Gabriel and pianist Joseph Atkins, as they breathe life into the work of an artist whose unquenchable ‘love of l...
Jewish Voices
The grand finale of Jewish Book Week 2019, in partnership with World Jewish Relief, is a celebration of the power of words. A stellar line-up, featuring Henry Goodman, Nicholas Hytner, Jason Isaacs, Brian Leveson, Emily Maitlis, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Jay Rayner, Philippe Sands, Janet Suzman and Zoe Wanamaker, will read poems, letters and speeches, stretching from the beginnings of Jewish history, right up to the present day. Prepare to be piqued and provoked, dazzled and delighted. M...
Shylock Speaks
The world premiere of a new short play followed by a discussion with Anthony Julius and Janet Suzman. Robert Gordon and David Peimer present their new play, Shylock Speaks, exploring Shakespeare’s ‘outsider’. Shylock asks: Who is a citizen? Who an ‘alien’? As recurring forces of antisemitism frame cultural identity, where does Shylock belong today? The play promises a surprising new approach to The Merchant of Venice as the characters speak to our times. This ...
Steven Isserlis on Bach
A unique insight into one of the greatest composers of all time, from a leading light of contemporary classical music, in a world-class concert hall. Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, cellist Steven Isserlis is also an author and broadcaster. In addition to a discussion of his latest book The Bach Cello Suites: A Companion, the evening will include readings from Dame Janet Suzman, Shakespearian star of stage and...