Eminent writers including Ian McEwan lined up for Jewish Book Week

as tevye in fiddler on the roof

as tevye in fiddler on the roof - Credit: Archant

Ian McEwan, David Grossman, Julie Burchill, and Simon Schama are among the headline writers at Jewish Book Week which runs at King’s Place from Saturday.

The annual festival of Jewish writing and ideas features 150 international writers and artists in a programme embracing books, art, music, film, live performance and debate.

Israeli author David Grossman launches his latest work to be translated into English, Falling out of Time, in a conversation with Ian McEwan; celebrated film-maker and photographer William Klein talks with Alan Yentob about his work, and journalist Julie Burchill tells Tanya Gold about Unchosen, a crowd-funded book about her love of the Jewish people.

Other notable speakers include Israeli Holocaust survivor Otto Dov Kulka in conversation with historian Simon Schama; children’s author and illustrator Judith Kerr, blockbusting author Robert Harris, Camden Town polymath Jonathan Miller talking to his unofficial biographer Kate Bassett about her book (which he hasn’t read) and the tribulations of biography, and Golders Green poet Dannie Abse, who, like Kerr, turned 90 this year.

Festival director Hester Abrams says: “Alongside sessions on literary fiction, art, history, politics, religion, travel and food, our speakers will tackle the hotly debated issues of the moment, from privacy and youth rebellion to sanity and whistle-blowing. It’s going to be noisy, argumentative, funny and moving.”

Composer Jocelyn Pook previews her new work inspired by the drawings and poems made by children in Terezin Nazi camp (see music page 5) and following the discovery in a Munich flat of 1,500 artworks seized by the Nazis, journalist and writer Hannah Rothschild talks with Anne Webber, co-chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe about the continued quest for restitution of looted cultural property.


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The festival also celebrates 50 years since the original Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, and 100 since the publication of Sholem Aleichem’s stories that inspired the hit musical. Henry Goodman who starred as Tevye in 2007 joins the discussion.

New Yorker literary critic Claudia Roth Pierpont discusses her book about her friend, the American literary giant Philip Roth (no relation) – and Maida Vale-based actor Andrew Sachs, recounts his extraordinary 83-year life story, from growing up in Nazi Berlin to fleeing to England in 1938 and creating the iconic comedy character of Manuel in Fawlty Towers in his autobiography I Know Nothing.

Jewish Book Week runs from February 22 until March 2 at King’s Place, York Way. www.jewishbookweek.com. Tickets King’s Place Box Office on 020 7520 1490.