Book Week 2009 unveils an illustrious guest-list

By Gerald Jacobs, December 18, 2008

Jewish Book Week 2009 will begin and end with generous helpings of the cream of Israeli literature, in the shape of Amos Oz, who will open the festival on February 21, and AB Yehoshua, who will close it on March 1.

Oz will be interviewed by Guardian and JC columnist Jonathan Freedland; Yehoshua by BBC foreign correspondent Lyse Doucet. In between, JBW’s most lavish feast yet is expected to attract record numbers.

Announcing the programme, JBW director Geraldine D’Amico drew attention to the eclectic nature of the 2009 event.

Highlights include a free ranging evening with the renaissance man’s renaissance man, Jonathan Miller, who will be in conversation with Mark Lawson; Simon Schama revealing how religious fervour features in American history and politics; Frederic Raphael looking back over a distinguished life in literature, film and scholarship, with Tom Conti reading extracts from his work; and Alberto Manguel on the myth of the Wandering Jew.

Schama is not the only stellar Simon to appear — best-selling historian and latterly novelist Simon Sebag Montefiore, and ever-entertaining classics professor Simon Goldhill will be among the presenters.
Professors Susan Greenfield and Lisa Jardine will be discussing human nature. And Michael Winner will be airing his great passion: himself.

While adults will be able to dip into reservoirs of religion, science, art, literature, humour, history, politics, philosophy and even fashion and food, as always there will be a strong children’s element. Lynne Reid Banks, Morris Gleitzman, Adele Geras and Joe Friedman are among the stars of children’s literature.

There will also be reading groups and workshops, a Yiddish cabaret, and jazz.

JBW 2009 will be held at the Royal National Hotel in Bloomsbury. Programme and booking details are available from:

    Last updated: 3:22pm, December 18 2008