Literature

On this day: William Styron dies

By Jennifer Lipman, November 1, 2010

When Sophie’s Choice was first published in 1979, it provoked controversy and debate. More than 30 years later, it has been both banned and a bestseller, become part of the canon of Holocaust literature and been made into an Oscar-winning film starring Meryl Streep.

The story of a Polish, non-Jewish woman who was sent to Auschwitz with her two young children, and her life after the Holocaust in Manhattan, it won the 1980 National Book Award.

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On this day: the Statue of Liberty is dedicated

By Jennifer Lipman, October 28, 2010

Inscribed on what is perhaps America’s most famous landmark and certainly one of its most treasured, is this: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me!”

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Nicole Krauss nominated for National Book Award

By Jennifer Lipman, October 13, 2010

Jewish American author Nicole Krauss has been nominated for the prestigious National Book Award for her latest book, Great House.

The writer, married to novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, is one of five authors competing in the fiction category.

The book, her third, tells the story of reclusive novelist and an antiques dealer in Jerusalem.

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On this day: Harold Pinter wins a Nobel Prize

By Jennifer Lipman, October 13, 2010

The Nobel Prize committee praised him as a writer “who in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression’s closed rooms.”

Born in 1930 in Hackney, Harold Pinter attended Hackney Downs school and then pursued a career on stage, screen and as a writer. He became known for plays including The Birthday Party and The Caretaker, as well as The Homecoming, for which he won a Tony award.

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Howard Jacobson wins Man Booker prize for 'The Finkler Question'

By Jennifer Lipman, October 12, 2010

Howard Jacobson has won the Man Booker prize for the first time.

His novel The Finkler Question was chosen by judges above the five other books nominated, including the favourite, C by Tom McCarthy.

Mr Jacobson has been nominated twice before for the prestigious literary award, which comes with a £50,000 prize as well as the likelihood of increased book sales. This year was the first he made the shortlist.

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Israeli author wins German peace prize

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010

An Israeli novelist has been awarded a German peace prize for giving a literary voice to coexistence.

David Grossman, whose books include The Smile of the Lamb and Someone to Run With, was announced as the recipient of the peace prize of the German book trade on Sunday.

Mr Grossman, 56, is a prominent figure of Israel’s left , and a campaigner for a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict. He is close friends with fellow Israeli writer Amos Oz.

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A bunny ate my Man Booker nominee

By Jennifer Lipman, October 11, 2010
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North London literature fan Carol Muskoron found a novel way of identifying this year's Man Booker winner.

She launched a new competition called "The Bunny Booker" and set her pet rabbits, Audrey and Harrison, the task of eating their way through the shortlist.

But the winner of the Man Booker was Jewish author Howard Jacobson, while the bunnies awarded it to Andrea Levy's The Long Song.

Watch them chow down on Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question.

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Rachel Weisz to star in Peter Morgan drama

By Jennifer Lipman, September 22, 2010

Rachel Weisz is to star in a new “psychosexual drama” written by Jewish director Peter Morgan.

The London-born actress, who recently appeared in The Lovely Bones, will play the lead in the upcoming film 360.

The film will be a loose adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s play Reigen and will reunite her with Fernando Meirelles, who directed her in the thriller The Constant Gardener.

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Hero or faker? Debate over Nazi-hunter Wiesenthal

By Simon Rocker, September 17, 2010

Fresh controversy has erupted over the reputation of the legendary Nazi-hunter, Simon

A new biography of him by Israeli historian Tom Segev was this week dismissed as a "whitewash" by Guy Walters, the British author who challenged Wiesenthal's credibility in his own book Hunting Evil last year.

Mr Walters recently branded Wiesenthal "one of the biggest conmen of the 20th century" for lying about his wartime experiences and exaggerating his role in tracking down war criminals.

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A very Jewish book's appeal

By Jonathan Freedland, September 16, 2010

At least one Jew among us has begun the new year sweetly. Twenty-four hours before Rosh Hashanah, Howard Jacobson was named on the shortlist of the Man Booker Prize. "About bloody time" was my reaction. Incredibly, Jacobson - long placed by the critics in the first rank of British writers - had never made the shortlist before. (Almost as surprisingly, Jacobson thereby became the first Jewish man to have achieved the feat: Jewish women, including past winners Anita Brookner and Bernice Rubens, have tended to do better.)

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