Literature

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.)

More..

Howard Jacobson on Man Booker shortlist

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2010

Howard Jacobson has made the shortlist for Man Booker Prize for Fiction for the first time.

His novel The Finkler Question was announced as one of six from the original longlist of 13 vying for the 2010 prize.

The book, Mr Jacobson’s 15th, follows three friends as they reminisce about their life experiences.

It has received rave reviews, with The Independent praising it for balancing "bleak moralising with life-affirming humour".

More..

Rabbi's rhymes - with a twist

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

It might not seem unusual for a rabbi to translate the Torah - but it is if he does it in verse.

Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen has just published a new poetic version of Genesis in English, rendered into rhyming couplets.

It is a new departure for the rabbi who has previously written many books on Jewish festivals and prayer as well as articles on the Bible in scholarly journals.

Since he has written on Jewish liturgy, and a major part of the liturgy is poetic, he has long been captivated by poetry as a form of religious expression, he explained.

More..

Interview: Gabriel Josipovici

By David Herman, September 2, 2010

There could hardly be a more English setting for our meeting: lunch in a country pub in Sussex, near the home where Gabriel Josipovici has lived for almost half-a-century. It is a long way from Vichy France, where Josipovici was born in 1940, "on the last day on which my parents could have escaped from war-torn Europe".

More..

Jonathan Safran Foer boosts Jerusalem culture

August 19, 2010

Two of America's leading young Jewish novelists, husband and wife Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss, have spearheaded a cultural initiative in Jerusalem: the revival of the Jerusalem Fellows at Mishkenot Sha'ananim.

Mishkenot, a cultural hub in the shadow of Yemin Moshe, the capital's famous windmill, used regularly to host artists, writers and musicians when the late Teddy Kollek was mayor of Jerusalem.

More..

From tzitzit to Tattoos

By Robyn Rosen, August 12, 2010

Natalie Portman is the bookies' favourite to land the role of Lisbeth Salander in the Hollywood remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on the best-selling book by Stieg Larsson.

Paddy Power has made the 29-year-old Israeli-American their 11/4 favourite ahead of Harry Potter star Emma Watson and Twilight's Kristen Stewart.

The role of the tough, leather-clad, tattoo covered biker will be a far cry from her last film, New York, I love You, where she played a strictly Orthodox Jewish bride preparing for her wedding to a Chasidic man.

More..

Jeremy Dyson snatches a prize for his ghoulish stories

By Candice Krieger, August 12, 2010

Yorkshire's Jeremy Dyson, one quarter of the team behind the hit television show The League of Gentlemen, is basking in the limelight of a solo success - and it has nothing to do with TV.

More..

It's no mystery why Christie loved Devon

By Anthea Gerrie, July 28, 2010

You don't need to be a sleuth to figure out why Agatha Christie set so many of her crime novels in Devon. She was born in Torquay, fell in love there more than once and spent the happiest years of her life in a holiday home high above the River Dart with her second husband.

More..

Howard Jacobson up for Man Booker prize

By Jennifer Lipman, July 27, 2010

Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson has been placed on the longlist for one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards.

Mr Jacobson has been nominated for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his upcoming novel The Finkler Question.

The book, Mr Jacobson’s 15th, tells the story of three friends as they look back on their lives.

It is the third time the author, known for writing about Jewish characters, has been longlisted for the £50,000 prize, although he has never made the shortlist.

More..

Conference cancelled because of Israeli guest

By Jennifer Lipman, July 26, 2010

A French literary conference has been cancelled after pro-Palestinian activists refused to share a platform with an Israeli author who is a Holocaust survivor.

Novelist Esther Orner, 73, was set to appear at the March 2011 event hosted by the University of Provence.

But an anonymous group of Egyptian and Palestinian writers refused to take part in dialogue with an Israeli, prompting Ms Orner to speak out in the French media.

The controversy led university president Jean-Paul Caverni to cancel the entire conference.

More..