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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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Aug 20, 2018

In this talk, Griselda Pollock discusses her major re-evaluation of Berlin born artist, Charlotte Salomon, which sheds new light on her remarkable combination of image, text, and music.

Aug 17, 2018

In his collection of essays Colin Shindler presents his very personal take on Israel, based on over 50 years of writing on the subject for The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post and the Guardian. This vivid and engaging ‘history’ speaks of Shindler’s deep understanding of the problems of the region.

Aug 15, 2018

In this exquisite volume Professor Mohammad Gharipour charts the development of synagogues in lands under Muslim rule, from North Africa and Spain to Central Asia and the Middle East. He shines a spotlight on the extraordinary architectural and artistic collaboration between Muslims and Jews in creating spaces for Jewish worship.

Aug 13, 2018

Jonathan Dean writes of the trials, tribulations, tragedies and successes of his grandfather and great grandfather as they fled persecution, comparing their struggles to those that beset today’s refugees. Tony Kushner explores Jewish refugee movements before, during and after the Holocaust, to place them in a longer history of forced migration from the 1880s to the present.

Aug 10, 2018

Why do smart people make stupid mistakes? Why do tall, slim people earn more? Does society determine who we are? What really makes us tick? Internationally acclaimed businessman, innovator and writer, Jacob Burak, embarks on a quest to answer these and other burning questions, examining whether it is destiny or personality that controls our lives.

Aug 8, 2018

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.

Aug 6, 2018

Set in an upper-middle-class Tel Aviv apartment building, prize-winning author Eshkol Nevo’s brilliant recent novel, translated by Sondra Silverstein, presents a complex and emotionally wrought society, through revealing the turmoil, secrets, unreliable confessions and problematic decisions of the building's interconnected residents.

Aug 3, 2018

Jeremy Dauber delivers a breath-taking and enthralling illustrated history of Jewish humour ‘in all its vast and variegated forms from antiquity to yesterday’, from the Book of Esther to Seinfeld, by way of Mel Brooks and Philip Roth, offering an erudite yet entertaining history of Jewish comedy, not evading the question: what is Jewish humour and what makes a joke a Jewish joke?

Aug 1, 2018

Award-winning writer Caroline Moorehead, in the concluding volume of her remarkable WW2 Resistance trilogy, draws on the unseen letters and diaries of an extraordinary family in Mussolini’s Italy. The Rosellis, mother and two sons, were in many ways a family like any other, but in their bold and uncompromising resistance to the brutal rule of Fascism, they lived at the limits of love, loyalty and sacrifice.

Jul 30, 2018

Helen Fry’s riveting book finally uncovers the fiercely-guarded and controversial military secrets regarding London’s Kensington-based interrogation centre during WWII. She provides sensational evidence to counter official denials concerning the use of ‘truth drugs’ and ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, bringing dark secrets to light.

Jul 27, 2018

In 1947, Elisabeth Åsbrink, previous winner of the August Prize, intertwines global events with key moments from her personal history as the daughter of a Hungarian survivor. This was the year when Orwell commenced 1984, Israel was about to be born and Dior created the New Look. Writer and global analyst Jonathan Fenby’s forthcoming bookCrucible turns the spotlight on 1948, from the beginnings of the Cold War and China’s civil war to the fall out of the creation of India and Pakistan.

Jul 25, 2018

Gardens have been a source of enchantment since the dawn of time. Today’s speakers illuminate why gardening can be as vital an expression of the creative impulse as reading, writing or praying, and why designing, planting, tending, sharing produce, or simply looking, are so rewarding. In literature gardens can be oases or jungles, magical places where supernatural events happen and passions are aroused.

Jul 23, 2018

In this unique narrative of the Hebrew language from biblical to modern times, Professor Lewis Glinert explores the extraordinary hold that Hebrew has had on Jews and Christians, who have invested it with a symbolic power far beyond that of any other language in history. Preserved by the Jews for millennia, Hebrew was a bridge to Greek and Arab science; Kabbalists and humanists sought philosophical truth in it; and Colonial Americans used it to shape their own Israelite political identity. In the past 70 years, modern spoken and written Hebrew has evolved into a richly resonant and fully metaphoric language, now able to express the most subtle and nuanced contemporary thoughts and feelings.

 

Lewis Glinert's The Story of Hebrew has been named a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards 2017 (History) and selected by CHOICE (the magazine of the Association of College & Research Libraries) as one of its 'Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017’.

Jul 20, 2018

Poet Joanne Limburg has produced an exquisite and heart-breaking memoir of her childhood, her Jewishness, her mother’s death, and how she came to terms with her brother’s suicide: ‘I explained to the rabbi that his death was the point of fracture in my world.’ Hilary Mantel has written of Small Pieces, ‘Can a writer be too honest? At times you want to close this book to protect its subject.’

Jul 18, 2018

Legendary ex-Artistic Director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner, equally known as an opera director, takes us behind the scenes of Britain’s greatest theatre to talk about his multifarious experiences, working with many of the UK’s leading actors, musicians and designers. He discloses the back stories behind some of his spectacular successes such as The History Boys, Stuff Happens and One Man, Two Guvnors, stage gossip, and reveals his vision for his latest ambitious project, the new Bridge Theatre.

Jul 16, 2018

Art and cultural historian Patrick Bade was a lecturer for the MA programme at Christie’s Education in London until 2015. A prolific author, his publications include Femme Fatale: Images of Evil and Fascinating Women, and a number of monographs on artists such as Degas, Renoir, Burne-Jones, Beardsley and Tamara de Lempicka. He has also taught at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Opera House.

Jul 13, 2018

Consummate story-teller, Rebecca Abrams, offers tantalising glimpses into Jewish history through the prism of her personal selection from Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum. Many of the objects are little-known treasures and all 22 have remarkable stories spanning 4,000 years of history and covering 14 countries, they trace the evolution of Jewish life and culture from its earliest beginnings in Ancient Mesopotamia through time and space to the modern day. From objects such as a magic amulet used by Christian Kabbalists, a viola da gamba with links to crypto-Jews, and a forged Nazi banknote, Abrams extrapolates the lives of ordinary citizens, merchants, scholars, courtiers and kings.

Jul 11, 2018

To world-renowned literary critic and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Stephen Greenblatt, the story of Adam and Eve is a prism refracting our most primitive fears and the inspiration for our most glorious works of art. In a richly illustrated talk, he shows how this myth has shaped understanding of our origins and destiny since time immemorial. This most iconic of stories stems from a few verses in an ancient book, yet continues to hold artists, philosophers and theologians in thrall and is the source of perennial contention.

Jul 9, 2018

In Association with the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, UCL.

In this authoritative and fascinating study, Professor Martin Goodman outlines a global history of Judaism, from its inception amongst the polytheistic societies of the second millennium, through exile to Babylon in the 5th century BCE, to Jewish communities as far afield as China, India, America, the Middle East and Europe. Goodman’s is a magisterial account of the Jewish religion. 

Jul 5, 2018

Pascale Hugues embarks on a quest to learn more about the city she lives in, producing a stunning history in the process. Looking at one rather ordinary street — her own — and the people who lived there, she charts its history from 1904, through the dark days under Hitler and the humiliating aftermath of the war, to the arrival of David Bowie and Tangerine Dream, right up to the present day.

Jul 4, 2018

Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the publication of Fat is a Feminist Issue, pioneering therapist Susie Orbach presents the extended new edition of the case histories that inspired her recent Radio 4 series In Therapy. She reveals as much about what is going on in the mind of the person behind the couch as she does the emotional dilemmas of the patient.

Jun 29, 2018

Viv Groskop in her luminous The Anna Karenina Fix, finds the answers to life’s burning questions in the great Russian novels. Not sure what to do with your love life? Turn to Tolstoy. Suffering from unrequited love? Turgenev can help. Are you socially awkward? Chekhov has the answers. Laura Freeman reveals how reading saved her life as she battled with anorexia, learning to embrace life once more through literature. Book by book and meal by meal, Laura acquired an entire library of reasons to live.

Jun 27, 2018

Ian Black draws on four decades of experience as a Middle East correspondent steeped in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to present a gripping narrative of 100 years of the history of the region, originating in Lord Balfour’s oblique 67-word promise of a homeland for the Jewish people, through to the challenges of today.

Jun 25, 2018

During the 1920s and 1930s, German tourism was booming, particularly among Americans and the British. Attracted by the scenery, the food, the culture, and the favourable exchange rates, they also came to witness the rise of Hitler. Julia Boyd’s book, including extracts from her mother’s 1938 diary, offers an exceptional insight into the period. Based on first-hand accounts by foreigners, Julia Boyd gives voice to a wide range of people, from students, politicians, facists and communists, to scholars, musicians, artists and poets. Scores of previously unpublished diaries and letters have been sourced to present a vivid new picture of the rise of Nazi Germany.

Jun 22, 2018

Lawrence Freedman who is an authority on war and warfare, past and present, and consultant to governments on conflict, is joined by the BBC World Affairs editor and foreign correspondent, John Simpson, to investigate how past conflicts inform the present and future of war, weapons, security and strategy. In conversation with former Guardian security and defence editor, Richard Norton-Taylor.

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