Jane Biran gets personal in her first novel - and she's very nervous

Zionist, activist and writer Jane Biran can now add novelist to her list of talents with the publication of her first book, Sophia’s Version (Strategic Book Publishing, £14.50).

Written in memory of her brother, who died in 2007, the novel is centred on five siblings from a Jewish family — but Ms Biran, 72, insists that it is not based on her own experiences. She tells People: “It’s not autobiographical. It is a fictional autobiography. Sophia isn’t me but there are bits of me in Sophia.”

The story begins with a mother’s funeral and delves into the history of the family and their complex relationships. “I’m a compulsive writer,” she says. “I’ve written politics, opinions, comment but never anything personal, and that’s why I’m nervous. I’ve never been more nervous than I am about this book.” Born in the UK, Ms Biran now lives in Israel with her second husband, Yoav, the former Israeli ambassador.

She says: “When I made aliyah I did a lot of flying and had to do something on the plane. I started to write.” She has already written another two novels but says she is awaiting the response from this one before becoming a serial novelist.

    Last updated: 10:19am, October 8 2009