Literature

Israel critic Nathan Filer wins Costa Book of the Year

By Charlotte Oliver, January 29, 2014

A debut novelist who is a staunch critic of the Israeli government has won the Costa Book of the Year.

Nathan Filer won the £30,000 prize last night, beating bookies’ favourites Kate Atkinson and Lucy Hughes-Hallett, for his first novel, The Shock of the Fall – a story about mental illness.

More..

Will Self, Neil Gaiman and the return of Uncle

By Jenni Frazer, January 13, 2014

If I wanted to be cute, I could call this piece The Elephant and the Jewish Problem, except that while there is indeed an elephant, there is as yet no discernible Jewish problem. And, I have to confess, neither is the Jewish presence exactly Jumbo sized.

More..

Profile: Nathan Filer, Costa first-novel award winner

By Daniel Easterman, January 10, 2014

Nathan Filer is fast emerging as one of the rising stars of British literature. His first novel, The Shock of the Fall, has just won the Costa Prize for best debut novel and he is now in the running to win the competition’s grand £30,000 prize.

More..

Anti-Israel novelist wins prestigious Costa prize

By Charlotte Oliver, January 9, 2014

Nathan Filer’s debut novel, The Shock of the Fall, will be published this year in 12 countries, including Israel. It was a decision, he said, that “was not easy” to accept.

Mr Filer, who won the Costa First Novel Award this week, is a virulent critic of the Israeli government and and was last year arrested and deported from the country after attempting to travel to the West Bank.

More..

Thousands set to browse the ‘global bookshelf’ at Jewish Book Week

By Charlotte Oliver, January 9, 2014

Ian McEwan, Julie Burchill and Simon Schama are among the 150 internationally-renowned writers and artists taking part in next month’s Jewish Book Week.

The annual festival, which celebrates Jewish writing, film and art, attracted a total of over 10,000 people in 2013 — and organisers are hoping to beat that figure with this year’s programme, details of which were revealed this week.

More..

Detecting a nasty side to Maigret

By Norman Lebrecht, December 1, 2013

Early this summer, at a colleague’s suggestion, I returned to an author I last read in my teens. Georges Simenon churned out some 200 crime novels in 40 years, of which 75 featured his imposing creation, Inspector Jules Maigret.

More..

Writer Howard Jacobson to set next book in future

October 10, 2013

Howard Jacobson has revealed that his next book will be something of a departure for him — he is setting it in the future.

But it is a future that is all too familiar, a time when, the author said, a disaster has befallen the Jews.

More..

Chesterton defence that doesn't stand up

By Oliver Kamm, October 10, 2013

Antisemitism is an evil, not a writerly idiosyncrasy. That’s a mere truism. It needs to be stated, however, because the Catholic Church is examining the case for canonising G K Chesterton, author of the Father Brown detective stories.

More..

The wives working for Hitler during the Holocaust

By Simon Round, October 10, 2013

German housewife Erna Petri was on her way home from a shopping trip near her wartime house in the Ukraine when she saw six naked boys hiding by the side of the road. As the wife of an SS officer, she realised that they were Jewish escapees. She took them into her home and fed them.

More..

Novel twist from an ex-Mossad man

By Jenni Frazer, October 3, 2013

Spy thrillers are always suspect, aren’t they? Either the writer is boasting about his or her expertise, or they tip over from the preposterous into parody. Not so with the thrillers of Mishka Ben-David, the first of which, Duet in Beirut, is published in English for the first time this month. For 12 years Ben-David was a Mossad operative — and it shows.

More..