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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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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.

Jun 20, 2018

In City on a Hilltop, Sara Hirschhorn tackles the much-contested American settler movement. Over 60,000 Jewish-Americans have settled in the territories since 1967. Who are they, and why did they chose to leave America to live at the centre of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? In Dov Waxman examines the seismic shift in American-Jewry’s attitude towards Israel, which is more conflicted than ever before.

Jun 18, 2018

‘Grade B Reporter’, Martin Bell, has covered major international conflicts, from Vietnam to Bosnia, from Northern Ireland to the Six-Day War and Iraq. One of the outstanding journalists of our times, he provides a moving, personal account of the travesties of war and issues an impassioned call to put the substance back into our news.

Jun 15, 2018

Scottish Book of the Year author, Kapka Kassabova, presents in Border a sharply-observed portrait of a little-known corner of Europe, the enigmatic zone between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. She offers a fascinating meditation on the borderlines that exist between countries, between cultures, between people, and within each of us. In Divided, best-selling author of Prisoners of Geography, Tim Marshall, offers an unflinching scrutiny of the world’s fault-lines, to show how isolationism and fear of ‘the other’ look set to shape our world for years to come.

Jun 13, 2018

In partnership with World Jewish Relief

You’re British. Your parents are British. You were raised in Britain. Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking where you are from? In this personal and provocative investigation, Afua Hirschexplores a very British crisis of identity. We are convinced that fairness is one of our values, but that immigration is one of our problems. Brit(ish) is the story of how and why this came to be, and an urgent call for change. 

Jun 11, 2018

On 14 September 2015, gravitational waves were first detected on Earth. The source – two merging black holes – briefly pumped out 50 times more power than all the stars in the Universe together. Gravitational waves are the ‘voice of space’. Join science writer and broadcaster Marcus Chown, author of The Ascent of Gravity, to discover how, after centuries of ‘seeing’ the Universe, we are now ‘hearing’ it.

Jun 8, 2018

Why are 27% of drinks bought on aeroplanes tomato juice? Why do we consume 35% more food when eating with one more person, and 75% more when with three? This is just a small taste of gastrophysics, the new field of knowledge pioneered by Oxford professor, Charles Spence, combining science, neuroscience, psychology and design. Gastrophysics, written by the world-leading expert in sensory science, argues that the pleasures of what we eat lie mostly in the mind. Anthony Warner, alias blogger turned the Angry Chef, interrogates a crack team of psychiatrists, behavioural economists, food scientists and dieticians to unravel why sensible, intelligent people are so easily taken in by food fads. Mealtimes will never be the same again.

Jun 6, 2018

Three of today's finest writers and commentators on Russian history and politics explore the parallels between then and now – Stalin’s era and Putin’s – drawing on the paradox that, as revelations about Stalin’s atrocities continue to shock, his reputation is gaining strength in Russia. Is Putin, one of the most powerful and feared men in the world, Stalin’s heir? Do the ghosts of Russia’s autocratic past retain their stranglehold on the present?

Jun 4, 2018

We are all playing the Reputation Game, whether or not we know it. In the prevailing climate of social media, acquiring the reputation you desire, and avoiding the one you don’t, could be a matter of life or death. Global consultants David Waller and Rupert Younger reveal the key mechanisms that make and break our reputations. They illustrate with case studies of international figures such as Putin and Pope Frances, and interviews with the famous and the infamous alike, from Hilary Mantel to Jay Z to Bernie Madoff. 

Jun 1, 2018

Is Europe a continent with its finger on the self-destruct button? Douglas Murray reflects on Europe’s pervasive and seemingly unfathomable inertia in the face of an immigration crisis, the potential failure of multiculturalism, and the Western fixation on guilt. He travels from Paris to Berlin, from Scandinavia to Greece, in his quest to uncover the malaise at the very heart of European culture. But is the future really so bleak? 

May 30, 2018

The George Webber Memorial Event

Trust in the media is at an all-time low. How does the media exert its power, and are the stories that are told in repressive regimes so different from those conveyed in the West’s liberal democracies? James HardingJohn Lloyd and Matthew d’Ancona, in conversation with professor and broadcaster, Rana Mitter, investigate exactly how truth can be mediated and distorted. 

May 25, 2018

Have you ever wanted to know more about the classical canon but had no idea where to begin? Are you an aficionado who would like to widen your acquaintance with sublime music? Clemency Burton-Hill selects one piece of music for each day of the year in an interactive guide that allows you to listen as you learn, discussing her musical choices with internationally acclaimed singer, conductor and cellist Simon Wallfisch.

May 23, 2018

Sponsored by Dangoor Education

Journalist, broadcaster, and commanding figure in the arts, John Tusa has had a career fighting for – and winning victories – for the UK’s cultural and critical output. From the battle to create Newsnight in 1979, to standing up publicly for the independence of the BBC, to spearheading the recovery of the Barbican Centre. This is a fascinating romp through 60 years of making friends and, sometimes, enemies at the heart of British arts and media.

May 21, 2018

Antony Sher played the title role in Gregory Doran’s critically acclaimed RSC production of King Lear and his stupendous performance was designated ‘a crowning achievement in a major career’. Sher describes his year researching, rehearsing and performing one of the greatest roles in English theatre, in conversation with Doran.

 
May 18, 2018

Michael Baum and Paul Boorstin discuss why biblical stories remain a rich source of inspiration. Michael Baum’s novel Aaron’s Rod is a murder mystery, taking the reader on a gripping quest for an ancient artefact from the Assyrian conquest, via 20th century Hampstead, to modern day Israel. Paul Boorstin’s fiction David and the Philistine Woman tells the story of David and Goliath through the perspective of Nara, Goliath’s betrothed, in a witty and richly- embroidered narrative. 

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