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Jewish Book Week

Podcasts from our annual festival of art and ideas, held at Kings Place in London.
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Jewish Book Week
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Aug 1, 2017

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk explores the strange and sometimes monstrous nature of womanhood through the opposing figures of mother and daughter. Dreamlike and utterly compulsive, this is a delirious fairy tale of feminine potency, a story both modern and timeless.

In Three Daughters of Eve, celebrated author Elif Shafaktakes us from Istanbul to Oxford University and home again, tracing the relationship between childhood friends Peri, Shirin and Mona, re-visiting their divergent visions of Islam, femininity and God to confront the scandal that tore them apart. Gaby Wood is Literary Director of the Booker Prize Foundation.

 

Jul 27, 2017

In conversation with China expert, Jonathan Fenby, Oxford Professor of Modern China, Rana Mitter, and economist and broadcaster, Linda Yueh, the FT’s Gideon Rachman, author of Easternisation: War and Peace in the Asian Century, outlines the challenge to America’s supremacy by a troubled but rising China and other ambitious Asian powers, which have the potential to transform the whole world. The consequences could be calamitous. These four leading authorities on the Far East and international affairs, analyse the new world order.  


Ian Morris has pessimistically observed that 'geopolitical shifts on the scale of China’s takeoff have always been accompanied by massive violence.' Taking in Russia and the Middle East', Jonathan Fenby describes Rachman’s book as 'the best survey of global affairs I have read for some time.'  

Jul 25, 2017

In A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever LivedAdam Rutherford tells the story of you and how you came to be. In every one of our genomes we carry the history of our species – births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration and a lot of sex – so this is also our collective story.

In a captivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, Adam Rutherford subverts many of our preconceptions. He traces where humankind has passed through or put down roots, uncovering the genetic kinship in all our footfalls. Rutherford reveals what our genes can tell us, what they should be able to tell us, and what they can never fully explain. He talks to Rohan Silva, co-founder of Second Home.

Sponsored by Hanna and Robin Klein.

This event took place on Monday 27th February 2017 as part of Jewish Book Week 2017.

Jul 20, 2017

David Rieff poses hard questions about whether remembrance has – or indeed ever could – inoculate the present against repeating the crimes of the past. Collective remembrance can be toxic, he argues, and sometimes it may be more moral to forget.

Ranging widely across some of the defining horrors of modern times – the Irish Troubles, the white settlement of Australia, the American Civil War, the Balkan Wars, the Holocaust and 9/11 – Rieff presents a pellucid examination of the uses and abuses of historical memory. His contentious, brilliant and elegant essay In Praise of Forgetting is an indispensable work of moral philosophy. David Rieff is challenged by historian Simon Schama.

Sponsored by David and Judy Dangoor.

This event took place on Monday 27th February 2017 as part of Jewish Book Week 2017. 

Jul 18, 2017

Funny and moving in equal measure, Jem Lester’s Shtum and Keith Stuart’s A Boy Made of Blocks reflect the authors’ personal experiences with their autistic sons. In Shtum, Jonah – blissful in his innocence – becomes the prism through which all the complicated strands of personal identity, family history and misunderstanding are finally untangled. To eight-year-old Sam in A Boy Made of Blocks the world is a puzzle he can’t solve on his own, but when he plays Minecraft it opens up a place where he and his father begin to rediscover both themselves and each other. In conversation with Adam Feinstein, also the father of an autistic son.

This event took place on Sunday 26 February 2017.

Jul 13, 2017

Shaul Bassi masterminded the events in the summer of 2016 to commemorate the 500-year anniversary of the Venetian Ghetto, including the production in Italian of The Merchant of Venice. Paulo Gnignati is current President of the Venetian Jewish community; Jacqueline Nicholls was one of the eight artists commissioned to design the etchings for a new Venice Haggadah; and Aviad Stollman, who was involved in last summer's events, is Head of Collections at the NLI. With many visual images on display, they discuss the half-millennium of Jewish life in Venice.

Sponsored by the National Library of Israel.

This event took place on Saturday 25th February 2017 as part of Jewish Book Week 2017.

Jul 11, 2017

Philip Mansel chronicles the history of Syria’s first capital city, vividly describing Aleppo as a pinnacle of cultural and economic power. Few places are as ancient and diverse as Aleppo, a once vibrant world city, famous for its food and music, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived and traded together in relative peace and harmony. Presenting many first-hand accounts for the first time, Mansel’s portrait is a poignant testament to a city shattered by Syria’s civil war. In conversation with David Abulafia.

This event took place on Sunday 26 February 2017.

Jul 6, 2017

Our confidence in markets comes from economics, and our confidence in economics is underpinned by the Nobel Prize in Economics, first awarded in 1969. Avner Offer’s The Nobel Factor offers an unprecedented account of the impact of economics in the actual world: economic theory may be speculative, but its effects are tangible and powerful and the halo of the Nobel brand has sometimes led to disastrous consequences for societies striving to cope with the requirements of economic theory and deregulated markets.

Avner Offer debates the contentious history of the prize and the controversies that still surround it with Will Hutton.

Sponsored by David and Judy Dangoor.

This event took place on Sunday 26 February 2017.

Jul 4, 2017

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.

Sponsored by David and Judy Dangoor.

This event took place on 26th February 2017 as part of Jewish Book Week 2017.

Jun 29, 2017

What are the challenges and opportunities for libraries in the 21st century? Can they offer anything more than cafés with free Wi-Fi?  Director of the British Library, Roly Keating, and Head of Collections at the National Library of Israel, Aviad Stollman, discuss vital issues including open access, provenance of collections, acquisition challenges, digital preservation, public engagement and the importance of libraries as civic hubs.

This event took place on Sunday 26 February 2017.

Jun 26, 2017

Azriel Bermant’s Margaret Thatcher and the Middle East presents a fresh analysis of Britain’s role in the Middle East, based on recently declassified papers. Bermant questions claims that the Prime Minister sought to counter the Foreign Office’s Middle East policy, and maintains that Thatcher was in close agreement with the Whitehall bureaucracy on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Thatcher is revealed to be at odds with Reagan’s administration over key issues and a new angle is offered on the debate surrounding the legacy of the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate in Palestine.

He is in conversation with journalist and editor Stephen Pollard.

In association with The Jewish Chronicle.

This event took place on Sunday 26th February 2017.

Jun 22, 2017

Adina Hoffman’s Till We Have Built Jerusalem is a stunning rumination on memory and forgetting, place and displacement. A biographical excavation of one of the world’s great troubled cities, it is a riveting and intimate journey into the very different lives of three architects who helped shape modern Jerusalem: celebrated Berlin architect Erich Mendelsohn; Palestine’s chief government architect from 1922-1937, Austen St. Barbe Harrison; and the possibly Greek, possibly Arab, architect Spyro Houris. Till We Have Built Jerusalem uncovers the ramifying layers of one great city’s buried history. Adina Hoffman talks to Middle East expert Ian Black.

Sponsored by the Jerusalem Foundation.

This event took place on Sunday 26 February 2017.

May 11, 2017

Through their respective works of fiction and poetry, Ruth Gilligan and Simon Lewis tell haunting stories of Ireland’s once-thriving Jewish communities.

Ruth Gilligan’s beautiful and heartbreaking novel Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan spans three generations of Dublin Jews, intertwining their narratives and posing fierce questions about identity and belonging.

Simon Lewis’s award-winning collection of exquisite poems, Jewtown, evokes the vanished community of Cork.

In conversation with journalist and resident of County Cork Jonathan Self.

May 9, 2017

Sweeping and exhilarating, brimming with passion and betrayal, the new works of two well-known writers are compelling page-turners. In her debut novel, A Quiet Life, feminist activist Natasha Walter, author of the iconic Living Dolls, tells a warm-blooded story of Cold War duplicity and deception. In Tightrope, bestselling, prize-winning author Simon Mawer continues the romantic and political exploits of Marian Sutro, protagonist of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, in a simmering tale of post-war intrigue.

May 4, 2017

Sarit Yishai-Levi’s dazzling The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is a bestselling novel of stories told and untold, following four generations of a Jerusalem Sephardi family through times of dramatic change. Gerald Jacobs’ Nine Love Letters, based on true events, is the tale of two families who flee their homes in Baghdad and Budapest to seek safety in England. As they deal with the challenges, upheavals and horrors of the Holocaust, their fates become intertwined after an unlikely twist of fate. The authors discuss their books with Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger.

May 2, 2017

Claire Hajaj’s assured and ambitious debut Ishmael’s Oranges and Dorit Rabinyan’s prizewinning All the Rivers are spellbinding novels exploring the faultlines that threaten the likelihood of enduring love between Arab and Jew. In a captivating narrative of love and loss, Ishmael's Oranges tells the story of two families against the background of repeated conflicts to examine whether love can transcend the legacy of hatred.

In a momentous tale, crisscrossed by physical and emotional borderlines, Dorit Rabinyan’s All the Rivers courageously demarcates an intimate short-term space for two, far from the tensions and fissures that create the separation between ‘us’ and ‘them’. In conversation with the director of the forthcoming M-Fest, critic Arifa Akbar.

Sponsored by the New Israel Fund. In association with Profile.

Apr 27, 2017

Shulem Deen’s award-winning book offers a moving and illuminating exploration of the highly secretive world of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, bravely tracing one man’s loss of faith. Married at eighteen and the father of five children, Deen was raised to believe that questions are dangerous. His first transgression – turning on the radio – was minor, but initiated a feverish inquiry into the real world and the tenets of his religious beliefs until, several years later, his faith unravelled and he struggled to hold on to those he loved most. In conversation with Rabbi Rebecca Birk.

In partnership with Mavar.

Apr 18, 2017

Yitzhak Rabin: Soldier, Leader, Statesman recounts Rabin’s foreshortened life, from his childhood in Tel Aviv in the 1920s through his military and political careers, taking in his ambassadorship to the US and, ultimately, premiership of Israel. Based on the author’s own relationship with Rabin, archival research and extensive interviews, the book depicts Rabin’s complex personality within the wider context of Israel and the Middle East.

Apr 17, 2017

In this highly personal memoir, both funny and poignant, Robin Lustig describes a career spanning more than 40 years, from his childhood as the son of German refugees to interviewing some of the world’s most revered and reviled leaders – from Mandela to Karadžić. The award-winning journalist and broadcaster has lived in, worked in and reported from more than 80 countries, including three years as the Observer’s Jerusalem correspondent. He was shot at in Pakistan, was in Berlin the day Germany was re-unified and in Moscow for the final day of the Soviet Union. He talks to David Aaronovitch about his life as a newsman.

Apr 11, 2017

Elena Lappin’s life as a multiple emigré could be described as ‘five languages in search of an author’. Russian, Czech, French, German, Hebrew and English – each language is a link to a different piece of her rich family mosaic. Triggered by the discovery of a biological father she never knew, Lappin's memoir is the story of finding a voice in a language not one’s own, and a meditation on how language runs throughout memory and family history to form identity. She writes: ‘As a writer, I died when my parents decided to emigrate, and I knew it. And then came the miracle of being reborn in English.’ She talks to novelist Elif Shafak about writing in English. Chaired by Lucy Scholes.

Apr 10, 2017

Darian Leader and Emma Tarlo unveil some of the mysteries of our bodies. Psychoanalyst Darian Leader’s Hands: What We Do with Them – and Why is a fascinating odyssey through the history of what human beings do with their hands, drawing examples from popular culture, art history, psychoanalysis, technology and clinical research. Anthropologist Emma Tarlo’s book Entanglement: The Secret Lives of Hair is full of surprising revelations and penetrating insights, from fashion and beauty to religion, politics, cultural identity and commercial exploitation. Chaired by sociologist and author Anne Karpf.

Apr 6, 2017

John Steinberg’s Blue Skies Over Berlin is a moving and thought-provoking book about guilt and identity, featuring a young German woman who moves to London from war-ravaged Berlin in 1956. Taking a false name – Charlotte Brown – she lands the job of her dreams at the National Gallery, becoming enmeshed in a world of aristocratic rogues, conmen, thieves and shady art dealers.

Head of Sotheby’s Restitution Department, Richard Aronowitz’s An American Decade is an ambitious novel that takes in the tumultuous 1930s and the subsequent dramatic events of mid-twentieth century history: the Third Reich; the little-known story of the Nazi organisation – the German American Bund; and the Kindertransport. The authors discuss their work with writer and journalist Jenni Frazer.

Mar 20, 2017

Anne Sebba’s compelling new book, Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s, investigates the lives of women in this most feminine of cities during years of fear, courage, deprivation, secrets and, finally, renewal and retribution. Her fascinating cast includes Americans, Nazis, writers, painters, journalists, couturiers, spies, collaborators, mothers and mistresses.

In enthralling detail Sebba explores the aftershock of WW2. How did women who survived to see the Liberation of Paris come to terms with their actions and those of others? Although politics lies at its heart, Les Parisiennes is the first in-depth account of the everyday lives of women and young girls in this most feminine of cities.

Ariane Bois is one of France’s leading journalists. She talks about France and her latest novel, the award-winning Le gardien de nos frères, a story of two brave young heroes who fight to save Jewish children in WW2 Paris.

In conversation with Jonathan Fenby, author of The History of Modern France.

In Association with Tel Aviv University

 

Mar 15, 2017

This event took place on Sunday 26th February 2017 as part of Jewish Book Week 2017. 

In a last-minute change to the advertised event, Philippe Sands discusses his book East West Street and the images that were significant in its writing.

In association with Index on Censorship.

- See more at: http://www.jewishbookweek.com/events-new/3-books-3-photographs#sthash.O5I6MhJT.dpuf

Mar 13, 2017

From Jewish Book Week 2017. 

James P Rubin was a senior media advisor to Hilary Clinton in the latter part of her election campaign. An analyst, consultant and commentator on international affairs and US foreign policy and advisor to both Clintons, he possesses in-depth knowledge and understanding of US politics and the world stage. A highly influential broadcaster, writer and journalist, he talks to Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis about his many public roles, past and present, and his global vision for the future.

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