Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ideas and literature shine at Sydney Jewish Writers Festival

We are excited to be back, for the Sydney Jewish Writers Festival (SJWF) returns on 27-28 August 2016! It features a remarkable line-up of international award-winners, thought leaders, acclaimed authors, new talent, and plenty of extraordinary stories.

“We are thrilled to showcase such a fine and fascinating line-up of writers”, said Festival Director Michael Misrachi. 

“They stir us to grapple with big, global issues – war, religious extremism, refugees, end of life, and family dynamics – but also write beautifully and invite us to enjoy the poetry and music of life.”

Opening night is a case in point. It features award-winning Israeli author and journalist Matti Friedman whose new book Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story was described by Pulitzer Prize-winner Kai Bird as “destined to become a classic text on the absurdities of war” and critique of media coverage of Israel after its 2014 war with Gaza went viral on social media. He discusses Israel’s battle lines with stereotype-defying Rabbi Dov Lipman, former Member of the Knesset and campaigner against religious extremism in Israel.

The panel is followed by cellist and composer Adi Sappir and author Lee Kofman performing an uplifting, musical rendering of the work of Yehuda Amichai, modern Israel’s most beloved poet.
US-based author Dina Gold shares her
incredible search and long legal battle to reclaim a building that belonged to her German-Jewish family but was stolen by the Nazis, in the spirit of the Helen Mirren movie
Woman In Gold. Precious possessions lost during the Holocaust also feature in the fiction of New Zealand author, Julie Thomas.

SJWF will host the Sydney launch of Rebellious Daughters and feature hot-off-the-press authors Steven Amsterdam, Nathan Besser and MeredithJaffe.

“We are struck every year by the wealth of Jewish literature being published”, enthused Misrachi, “There has been a flurry of excellent Jewish writing in the months leading up to the festival!”

Leading figures David Gonski and Mark Tedeschi open up about their writing, along with Mireille Juchau, whose recent masterpiece The World Without Us won the 2016 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for The Stella Prize and Australian Book Industry Award.

SJWF features prolific acclaimed author Arnold Zable, who will also talk about his work as a refugee advocate with Kooshyar Karimi, who shares his experience as a Jewish-Iranian refugee who languished in Turkey for years.

Holocaust survivor Baba Schwartz tells her story publicly for the first time, recounting the horrors of Auschwitz as well as her happy childhood in Hungary, a period often overshadowed by the subsequent tragedy. She is joined by Frank Vajda and Marcel Weyland, who were both saved by Righteous of the Nations – Raoul Wallenberg and Chiune Sugihara respectively.

SJWF offers writing workshopsfor adults with Lee Kofman and for children with word play extraordinaire Erica Bentel, in conjunction with PJ Library. There is also a special parent-child session with the mother-daughter creative genius behind Tashi, Barbara and Anna Fienberg.

SJWF will once again be hosted by Waverley Council, with events taking place at the Bondi Pavilion and Waverley Library.

For further information or to book tickets, visit

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