‘I’m a bit of a duff musician,’ says Nicky Singer. It is a surprising statement from the award-winning author considering that her novel, Knight Crew, has been adapted as a youth opera and is being performed on Glyndebourne’s main stage. The book is a retelling of the King Arthur legend in a modern setting, with knife crime at the centre of the story. It is Glyndebourne’s first-ever commission of a teen novel. Singer has also written the libretto.
It was always going to be a curious affair. More than 200 journalists from around the globe invited to quiz the Mad Hatter the Red Queen, the White Queen, Tweedle Dum and Dee in the faux splendour of the grand ballroom at The Dorchester. But things just got curiouser and curiouser. A Hungarian reporter asked the White Queen - aka Anne Hathaway in Tim Burton's new version of Alice in Wonderland - why she had never done a role with her pants off.
The post-Holocaust heroines of Day After Night owe their existence - absolutely and undeniably - to Boston novelist Anita Diamant. For a whole year, Diamant sat at her computer breathing character and history into Shayndel, Tedi, Leonie and Zorah, who were detained as illegal immigrants then dramatically rescued from Atlit internment camp in Israel in 1945.
Alon Hilu has been feted as one of Israel's finest young writers. He has also been condemned as a traitor to his own country.
Very few novels have attracted the level of interest, both positive and negative, as his latest book, The House of Rajani. The novel, set in the 19th century, tells in diary form the story of the relationship between an Arab boy in Jaffa and a Russian immigrant, and has been lavishly praised and condemned in equal measure. Israeli President Shimon Peres described it as "an extraordinary book" while critics have condemned it as unpatriotic.
One of the bigger Jewish stories to be given lots of coverage in the wider media in recent times concerned the curious case of sheitels, Victoria Beckham and Russian prisoners. Oh, and Hindu temples.
Samantha Ellis was working in Joseph’s Bookstore in the north-west London, Jewish heartland suburb of Temple Fortune at the time. She was in the process of making the leap from journalism — and working part time in a bookshop — to becoming a full-time playwright.
‘I’m not mainstream,” says Yasmin Levy, sitting down with a coffee in a West Hampstead café, her local hang-out when staying in London. She is about to go on the road for a UK tour that takes in a different city every night — with a day of rest for Shabbat. Levy is in demand — a 700-seat venue in Paris recently sold out within days; US promoters are clamouring for her.
You do not have to be the son of a world-famous Marxist historian to have a sense of social justice, but once you know that theatre director Joss Bennathan’s father is Eric Hobsbawm, it seems to make more sense.
They have both, for instance, devoted themselves to communicating their respective fields to as wide an audience as possible. In Bennathan’s case this not only means staging classics for those who rarely get the chance to see them, but performing in them too.
Earlier this week an exhibition of photographs by American-Israeli photographer Elinor Carucci, entitled Intimacy, opened at the James Hyman Gallery in London. Many of the moments that she records show scenes that others would probably prefer to remain private; rituals of personal hygiene, moments of marital crisis, portraits of her and her family naked.
The humble surroundings of an east London pizza restaurant is about as far as you can get from the glitz of the X Factor studio, but that is where Stacey Solomon found herself this week, as she relaxed and reacquainted herself with her family after her 10-week stint on the nation’s favourite talent show.
More than 12 million viewers watched the former King Solomon High School pupil crash out of last weekend’s final, coming third behind eventual winner Joe McElderry and Olly Murs.