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

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.
Shalom Auslander & Howard Jacobson
Mothers loom large in Jewish culture and literature in general. They feature in the titles – and contents – of the latest books by two of the most acclaimed authors around; Shalom Auslander’s novel Mother for Dinner and Howard Jacobson’s memoir Mother’s Boy. Now as the opening event of the 72nd annual Jewish Book Week, these two much-loved, extremely funny, Wingate-winning writers join broadcaster Francine...
The Jewish Book Week 2023 Keynote: Howard Jacobson
With Jewish Book Week now into our eighth decade, Howard Jacobson, who has been speaking at the festival for almost half of our existence and predates us by just 10 years, delivers a specially created keynote: How the Jews Invented Disappointment. The Booker winner explains: “When asked to name what Jews were best at, I used always to say ‘argument’. Disputatiousness is our element, I insisted, but I don’t expect you to agree with me. Today I’d say ...
Desert Island Books: Howard Jacobson

In a light-hearted and often hilarious finale to Book Week 2003, Howard Jacobson, acclaimed novelist and master of irreverent comedy, revealed to Vanessa Feltz the Jewish books he would take with him to that mythical desert island. Along the way he discussed his life and work with his customary biting wit.

Passions: Jews

Described as Britain’s “funniest living writer”, Howard Jacobson explored his passion for Jews and Jewishness in his latest novel, The Making of Henry (2004). Here he wondered about the nature of this passion for Jews as characters in life and literature, and spoke about the process of “arguing with myself in the matter of how Jewishly I should write”

Howard Jacobson in conversation with Peter Florence

The seriously funny writer, our greatest British Jewish novelist, spoke to Peter Florence about literature, comedy, Jewishness and much more. The conversation was witty, thought provoking and a fitting finale to JBW 07.

In association with The Independent

JC Evening: Last Word
The Finkler Question is the ‘first unashamedly comic novel’ to win the prestigious Booker Prize and flagrantly Jewish to boot. Howard Jacobson and Jonathan Freedland – two restlessly questing souls – wrestled “finklerisms” in intellectual combat: Does Jewishness provide a “way in” to the deep and meaningful questions of life? Is life invariably melancholy? Are friends inevitably disloyal? Can love endure? These two mighty Mega-Wits contemplated life’s tragicomic dimensions a...
Ulysses Revisited
For Howard Jacobson, James Joyce’s Ulysses is the greatest Jewish novel of the 20th century; for Henry Goodman the novel that hugely articulated and reshaped his artistic hopes and identity as an actor. Together they revisited, discussed and read from the iconic text published 90 years ago this February. They contended that Bloom, this great hero of consciousness and inaction, weakness and masochism, belongs in the great tradition of comic fiction. They also looked at Bloom as a ...
How to Make Love to your Mother-in-Law

Man Booker Prize-winning author Howard Jacobson returned to the festival to discuss his latest novel, Zoo Times and have a frank and funny discussion about love – love of literature, laughter and women (particularly mothers-in-law).

An Interview with Howard Jacobson
Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson returns to Jewish Book Week to discuss his enigmatically titled novel J with John Mullan. The work is a dystopian fiction set in a future where the past has become a dangerous country. Steeped in mystery and interwoven with romance, this compelling novel explores whether the past can ever truly be left behind. Howard Jacobson, wordsmith par excellence, is a tour-de force both on and off the page. Sponsored by Dr Naim Dangoor...
The Big Debate

The Big Debate addressed the critical issues and challenges confronting Jews today.

Shylock is My Name
Written with Howard Jacobson’s customary originality, energy and wit, Shylock is My Name is the Man Booker Prize-winner’s profound and provocative re-telling of The Merchant of Venice in a contemporary setting. Howard Jacobson talks to the Guardian’s Alex Clark about his interpretation of Shylock’s story, asking what it means to be a father, a Jew and a merciful human being in the modern world. We are delighted that ...
Howard Jacobson On The Writing Of Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson writes with his customary thunder, passion and peerless wit in his latest collection of journalism, The Dog’s Last Work (and other Pieces). As eloquent in person as he is on the page, the incomparable Jacobson is in conversation with Alex Clark.

Trump ‘On Trial’

Freedland, Jacobson and Schama take on Donald Trump, at least figuratively, as they compete for bandwidth to expose the latest exploits of the Western World’s most powerful and contentious leader. The inspiration for a satire by Jacobson, a thriller by Freedland and steaming articles by Schama et al, Trump is the object of obsessive interest to everyone.

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.

What Does it Mean to be a Jewish Writer?

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

Live a Little
Nonagenarian Beryl Dusinbery, forgetter of her own children and tormentor of her two longsuffering carers, meets the sprightly Shimi Carmelli, last of the eligible bachelors of North London. Shimi is prized for his ability to do up his own buttons, speak without spitting and walk without the aid of a frame. Prize-winning author Howard Jacobson has written a characteristically funny and wickedly observed novel about falling in love toward the end of your life. In Associ...
Modern Jewish Literature
From mass emigration out of Eastern Europe to the creation of Israel, the last century transformed Jewish life. The same was true of Jewish writers: their novels, plays, poems and memoirs provided intimate access to new worlds of experience. In The Blessing and the Curse: The Jewish People and Their Books in the Twentieth Century, Adam Kirsch discusses the impact of writers from Kafka and Roth to Hannah Senesh and Tony Kushner with Booker winner...
Howard Jacobson Talks With Melvyn Bragg
In Memory of Dr David Cohen CBE As Jewish Book Week celebrates its 70th anniversary one of the festival’s favourite speakers marks a milestone of his own as he turns 80 this summer. In Mother’s Boy, Howard Jacobson explores belonging and not-belonging, being an insider and an outsider, both English and Jewish. Full of his trademark humour, this much-anticipated memoir also reveals how the Booker-winner became a writer. He will  discuss his childhood and caree...