Man Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson laments loss of LJCC Jewish centre

Howard Jacobson at the LJCC. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Howard Jacobson at the LJCC. Picture: Nigel Sutton. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Author Howard Jacobson may have missed out on a second Man Booker Prize recently, but it appears the planned closure of a historic Jewish community centre has caused him greater disappointment.

The 72-year-old author spoke to the Ham&High last week and reflected on his past appearances at the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) based in Ivy House, North End Road, Golders Green.

Last month, it was announced that Ivy House – the former home of Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova –would be sold off by the LJCC as the result of its merger with new Jewish community centre JW3, which will bring the LJCC’s programme of events into its £50million facilities in Finchley Road.

Jacobson, who has spoken to numerous sell-out audiences at the LJCC over the years, told the Ham&High: “I’m actually sad to see the end of it because I like that space.

“The new one is great – lovely restaurant. But I really like that old space. It’s very intimate. You have the audience piled in front of you.

“It’s like a family event and I will miss that. I think it’s a shame. I see why it’s happened, it’s inevitable. I wish there were hundreds of LJCCs.”

And what about the disappointment of losing out to Australian author Richard Flanagan in this year’s Man Booker Prize contest?

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“We all wanted to win but whoever won, I knew I would be very pleased for and I was very pleased for Richard,” insisted Jacobson, who received the Man Booker in 2010 for his comic novel The Finkler Question.

With a new novel due for publication in 2016, Jacobson will no doubt get another shot at that elusive second prize, but before then his old friends at the LJCC will surely invite him along for one final appearance.