Watch: Event Videos
When award-winning writer, Ben Judah, embarked on a pandemic-fuelled mission to learn Hebrew, he did not anticipate the immensely personal internal shift that would occur in him. Judah will speak with critic and writer Tali Lavi about his experience of longing for and learning the language, and of his belief in Hebrew as the missing connection between Israel and the Diaspora.
Ninety-eight-year-old German born Ruth Weiss is an international treasure. A celebrated anti-apartheid journalist and activist, she was exiled from South Africa and for many years lived in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). This year, Ruth addressed the Bundestag in Westphalia Germany on World Holocaust Day and returned to South Africa to receive the most important award that country bestows upon foreign dignitaries: the “Order of the Companions of OR Tambo”. Interviewed by Dr Michael Cohen, Ruth speaks of her experiences of Jewish activism, exile, and why her work continues to have relevance today.
The 1994 ‘AMIA Bombing’ was an attack on Argentina’s Jewish centre in which 85 people were killed. Join writer, editor and digital producer, Elissa Goldstein in conversation with award-winning author and journalist, Javier Sinay to discuss his remarkable essay in the May issue of the Jewish Quarterly. The essay examines the ongoing political intrigue surrounding this catastrophic crime and the reasons it remains unsolved.
Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin are from ‘enemy’ sides but are self-proclaimed ‘brothers’.
Join them on their path of
dialogue and reconciliation.
In this live event filmed at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum, acclaimed American author Shalom Auslander digs deep in conversation with David Slucki, revealing how his upbringing in an ultra-orthodox community has helped shape him and his view of the world. Shalom uses humour to not just defuse but illuminate the trauma. Please note, the discussion contains expletives.
Dr Andrew Dean (Deakin University) will interview Devorah on her latest essay, ‘The Myth of the Jewish Literary Mafia’ featured in the Jewish Quarterly. Devorah Baum is Associate Professor in English Literature at the University of Southampton. Her books include Feeling Jewish: a book for just about anyone (Yale University Press), The Jewish Joke (Profile)…
In this wide-ranging Book Chat, author Lee Kofman discusses the inspiration behind The Writer Laid Bare — a work that is both reflective memoir and practical guide aimed at writers and deep readers. She shares her love of Chekhov, Ferrante and Knausgård, and her theory of writers as ‘builders or renovators’.
Presented in partnership with The Jewish Quarterly, the latest entry in our series of Global Conversations is only a few weeks away. Professor Steven Nadler, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has spent a great deal of his professional life researching and writing about Spinoza’s life, philosophy and relationship with his faith. In the current issue…
Ali and Michelle have been best friends for life. As ten year olds, they could be found ditching play time for writing club. Now, they write books together. ‘Fancy Meeting You Here’ is their latest novel — a charming and unconventional love story about trying to rewrite history. In this Book Chat, Ali and Michelle…
In this Book Chat, June discusses the ‘Employment Companies’, a uniquely multicultural force in the Army long before the term ‘multicultural’ was coined.
In conversation with David Slucki, Sarah Abrevaya Stein discusses her ground-breaking book, ‘Wartime North Africa: A Documentary History, 1934–1950’ (with Aomar Boum).
In a Melbourne first, one of the most respected writers of our times, David Grossman, will speak to Tali Lavi in an intimate conversation about love, vulnerability and home, encompassing his recent novel More Than I Love My Life, and his life’s work. David Grossman is an international guest and will be appearing via live…
How tolerant are the various Jewish communities when faced with stories and articles that question or provide external insights into their ways of life? What have been the experiences of novelists who have provided narratives that question accepted norms, or of journalists whose articles have caused controversy and dissent? Bram Presser (moderator), Lisa Emanuel, Ashley…
Yiddish performance, whether in theatrical, spoken or music form, is alive and well in Melbourne. Our panel of practitioners and researchers discuss what such performances tell us about ourselves, our past and our identity. Nicola Mensa Hearn (moderator), Galit Klas, Rebecca Margolis, Simon Starr
Alice Zaslavsky, the friendliest voice in Australian food, leads the discussion with this team of highly respected culinary figures. How do we write about food? Who gets to write about food? What is it like being a caretaker of a cuisine? Alice Zaslavsky (moderator), Dani Valent, Joanna Hu, Tony Tan
Our panel of keen writers and readers review and discuss some of the less well-known books by Jewish authors, or on Jewish themes, which have given them great pleasure over the years. Expect a lively discussion of some unearthed and rare titles. Bram Presser (moderator), Andrea Goldsmith, Lee Kofman, Veronica Sullivan
Join Elissa Goldstein as she chats with Canadian-American novelist, essayist and New Yorker contributor Rivka Galchen. Her range as a writer is vast and brilliant, encompassing everything from wry, psychological literary fiction to ruminations on motherhood, to reporting from the COVID frontlines in a New York City hospital. Galchen’s most recent novel, Everyone Knows Your…
Natasha Sholl’s recently published memoir Found, Wanting, tells the story of Natasha’s attempt to rebuild her life in the wake of her partner’s sudden death, stumbling through the grief landscape and colliding with the cultural assumptions about the ‘right way’ to grieve. Natasha will be in conversation with Dalit Kaplan, who has had a few…
Two recent books have offered new insights into the remarkable exploits and achievements of the ‘Dunera Boys’. Leah Garrett’s X Troop recounts the story of a secret commando group made up of Jewish refugees in Australia and elsewhere, who returned to Europe to liberate concentration camps. The Passenger, a lost novel by Ulrich Boschwitz, a…
Join us as Melbourne Jewish Book Week presents In Our Nature – an opening night of original storytelling featuring writers, musicians and performers live on stage at Melbourne’s Memo Hall. Travel to landscapes near and far, real and imagined, thriving and disappearing. Meet creatures of flight, fur, and fancy from places urban and remote, vast…
Leo and Mina Fink’s contribution to Australian Jewry is well known but this book is the first that concentrates on their shared contribution, rather than individual efforts.
In this Book Chat, Nina Bassat not only explores her family’s experiences before, during and after the Shoah, and contemplates how being a child survivor has shaped her life, she also discusses the process of writing a memoir, and how it draws in other family members.
The Other Side of the Story: Essays on Jews, Christians, Cults, Women, Atheists and Artists, reveals the breadth and depth of Dr Rachael Kohn’s scholarship which led to and informed her creation, production and presentation of more than 1700 programs on religion for the ABC. Rachael Kohn will be in conversation with Rabbi Fred Morgan,…
MJBW and JQ present the latest in our series of Global Conversations. Join internationally acclaimed author and academic Eva Hoffman and Melbourne poet, writer and book editor Alex Skovron. Eva has written an important new essay for Jewish Quarterly about the remarkable but almost forgotten Polish Jewish poet Zuzanna Ginczanka (Gincburg), who was murdered by the…
What happened around this time last year when three Jewish literary tragics entered a room to talk books? Melbourne Jewish Book Week’s bookish version of Margaret and David was a roaring success. Who knew an evening of book recommendations could be so entertaining? Expect even more this year as our passionate book aficionados – Tali, Bram and Elissa – preview some of the biggest forthcoming books, discuss their recent reads and tell…
Originally from New York, Lauren Elkin lived in Paris for over twenty years and now lives in London. Her most recent book No. 91/92: A Parisian Bus Diary reflects on an earlier Paris. In this conversation with critic, writer and programmer for MJBW, Tali Lavi, Lauren will talk about reading the world through writing, and her recent contribution to The Jewish Quarterly, an exploration of…
Professor Danielle Celermajer is a philosopher, and Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. Her books include Sins of the Nation and the Ritual of Apology and The Prevention of Torture: An Ecological Approach. While her professional and academic background have focused on human rights, she has recently shifted her thinking and activism towards environmental, animal…
In her book chat, Anna discusses The Boy Who Stepped Through Time, her time-slip adventure about a boy transported back 1700 years to Roman times. She explores the complexity — and tremendous fun! — of weaving plot, character development and historical fact into her work.SHOW LESS
In her book chat, Lisa discusses The Covered Wife, a fictional examination of the choice made by a young woman choosing to shift from secularism to living by the Torah — and a parallel exploration of why a group of believers might shift from openness to insularity.
In their book chat, Leah and Meg discuss what inspired them to undertake the creation of Animals Make Us Human, a book about the connections of humans with animals in the natural world — and the process of selecting and working with the incredible authors that contributed to the anthology.
In her book chat, Michelle discusses Small Acts of Defiance, the story of a young woman who leaves Australia for France in 1940, immediately prior to the Occupation. Michelle explores why she was personally drawn to telling this story, and how themes of family and loyalty — on both a personal and larger level — formed the basis for the work.
In his book chat, Leon discusses Living in COVID Times, an exploration of Australia’s COVID-19 experience through a variety of lenses — from the political and economic components of the pandemic, to its effects on our shared social and religious practices — and explores what he considers might be involved in the final shift toward ‘Covid normal’.
In this conversation, Lily Brett talks with Michaela Kalowski about ‘Old Seems to be Other People’ — and reflects on the need to move, to live and to have fun while you still can.
In her book chat, Joanne explores what motivates her to write about motherhood, and how one’s identity as a mother is challenged as children grow and no longer want or need to be ‘mothered’ — and explains why she celebrates mid-life and menopause as a freeing relief.
In his book chat, Ashley discusses the AFL’s restricted 2020 pandemic season, the unique challenges faced by an author writing about recent events — and muses about the lasting legacy the events of 2020 may have on the future of Australian rules.
In her book chat, Sue Silberberg explores the cultural diversity that made up colonial Melbourne. Sue gives a new slant to Melbourne’s development and connects Melbourne Jewry into wider historical themes and experiences such as space and place, urbanisation, imperial networks and diaspora.
In his chat, Rick explores the difficult decision to fictionalise his father’s extraordinary story, and takes us on a journey through the Romanian (now Ukranian) city of Czernowitz — his father’s hometown and the setting of Night Lessons in Little Jerusalem.
In his book chat, Joe discusses the process of melding fact and fiction in creating the protagonist of his latest work, and how his career as an ophthalmologist led him to the story of Ernst Leitz II — creator of the Leica, and the “photography industry’s Schindler”.
In his book chat, Gabby discusses the importance of building a strong workplace culture, hiring ‘intrapreneurs’, and explores the role of trust in business and family life.
Presented in partnership with The Jewish Quarterly. Featuring award-winning Israeli author and journalist Nir Baram and Man Booker International prize-winning translator Jessica Cohen in conversation with The Jewish Quarterly editor Jonathan Pearlman, ‘The Art of Translation in the State of Israel Today’ will provide insights into Baram’s piece in the forthcoming issue of JQ, life…
Sarah Krasnostein — multi-award winning author of The Trauma Cleaner — will be interviewed by journalist Meredith Lake about Sarah’s latest publication, The Believer, and her explorations into the fascinating and labyrinthine realm of belief.
In her book chat, Ayelet discusses her experience growing up as a Yemini Jew in Israel, and the conflict between longing for freedom and a sense of home.
In his book chat, Benjamin discusses Kafka’s literary afterlife — in particular, how the author’s legacy has become inextricably bound in the stories Germany and Israel tell about themselves.
In her book chat, Ilana discusses her experience of learning the Talmud — leading to the very different and new reading she presents in her work.
In his book chat, Nir explores the unique power of adolescent friendship, and discusses how award-winning translator Jessica Cohen brought ‘the music of the Hebrew’ to the English-language versions of his novels.
In his book chat, Yaniv explores what he was able to achieve by setting a narrative in late 19th Century Russia, and discusses the concept of ‘tikkun olam’ — ‘repairing the world’.
In this book chat, Orly discusses the complexities of balancing fact and fiction, particularly when it comes to writing family stories, and the importance of capturing the stories of our loved ones before we forget.
Join Melbourne Jewish Book Week and world-renowned historian Simon Schama, a high-profile contributor to the new issue of The Jewish Quarterly with the editor Jonathan Pearlman – to explore why the stoking of ancient hatreds is so potent right now.
Sue discusses the importance of recording family history, putting her journalistic skills to use on a highly personal project, and the final conversation she wishes she could have with Mindla, her extraordinary grandmother-in-law.
In her book chat, Alice discusses what drew her to writing ‘In Praise of Veg’, which vegetables get the worst rap, and shares how her Georgian and Jewish heritage influences the way she cooks.
In his book chat, Daniel shares the fascinating story of the piece of furniture that serves as the focal point of his latest book, ‘The SS Officer’s Armchair’ — and explores the complexity of historians who find themselves inadvertently part of the stories they’re trying to tell.
In the chat, Henry shares the story of John Henry Patterson, the non-Jewish British army officer who led the ‘Jewish Legion’ during the First World War, and explores the underexplored interactions between the ANZACS and the Jewish troops at Gallipoli and Palestine.
Ramona discusses her new book ‘A Letter to Layla’, in which she travels the world in a quest to understand our deep past — and what may be our near future. In this chat, Ramona outlines her case for optimism for the future.
In his book chat, David Slucki explores what brought him to write his memoir, ‘Sing This at My Funeral: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons’, and shares the history of the Bundists — a Jewish socialist movement, still active in Melbourne, centered on the concept of ‘Doikayt’ or ‘hereness’.
Kosher Soul and the Cooking Gene: How Award-Winning Writer Michael Twitty Explores Identity and History Through Food
Elissa Goldstein will be in conversation with Michael Twitty, a riveting storyteller and a 21st-century multi-hyphenate talent. Michael is a culinary historian and educator with a focus on African, African-American and Jewish cuisines; a Judaic studies teacher; and a historical interpreter who specialises in the foodways of enslaved people, which profoundly influenced contemporary America.
The conversation between Arnold Zable and Tali Lavi offered readers an insight into The Watermill, a quartet of true stories of displacement, of survival and and of resistance, and how Zable sheds a ray of light in the darkest of places.
In a highly-anticipated event, critically acclaimed American writer Nicole Krauss (Man Walks Into a Room, The History of Love, The Great House, Forest Dark and the newly released To Be a Man: Stories) talks to Tali Lavi about freedom, strange truths, restlessness, Kafka and the fluid landscape of fiction writing.
In Dennis’s book chat, the author discusses his memoir, Unrequited Love — exploring the American and Australian influences on his life and writing, and the cultural gap between generations in terms of gay social politics.
In Philip’s book chat, the award-winning author discusses his latest novel, The Returns, a story about the eccentricities, failings and small triumphs that humans are capable of.
In Andrea’s book chat, the author discusses her latest novel, Invented Lives, a story of identity and exile. How do we ‘invent’ our lives, and is it possible to be exiles within our native countries?
In her book chat, Anna explores her work of non-fiction — Melekh Ravitsh: The Eccentric Outback Quest of an Urbane Yiddish Poet from Poland. What was Melekh Ravitsh’s outback quest, and how much did the How much did the modernist art of Yosl Bergner, Ravitsh’s son, influence her decision to write the story?
In Mark’s book chat, the author discusses his latest work, Australia’s Vietnam: Myth vs History. Was Vietnam a case of Australia fighting ‘other people’s wars’ — and how did the real experiences of veterans differ from our ‘official’ account of their treatment as returnees?
In her book chat, Andy discusses the development of her unique visual style, and balancing tale, allegory and fable against the stark background of war and the Holocaust.
In Miriam Sved’s book chat, the author discusses how the life of her grandmother inspired ‘A Universe of Sufficient Size’, and the process of setting a work between two very disparate locations and time periods: Budapest in the ’30s and Sydney in the early 2000s.
In Suzy Zail’s book chat, the author of ‘I am Change’ discusses the decision to write about the lives of young women in Uganda, opting for fiction over biography, and writing to empower young women In Australia and Africa.
In Jeff Sparrow’s book chat, the award-winning writer, editor and broadcaster discusses the 2019 Christchurch massacre, the urgent need to truly fight fascism, and the complexities of far-right responses to climate change.
In Daniel Ziffer’s book chat, the journalist discusses the gruelling stories of Australians dudded by trusted banks and financial institutions — and shares what surprised him most about the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
In Suzanne Leal’s book chat, the writer discusses the responsibilities an author has when writing a novel about the Holocaust, and whether it’s ever really possible for an author to leave one’s stories and characters behind.
In Ginger Gorman’s book chat, the award-winning journalist — and author of ‘Troll Hunting’ — discusses the spectre of online harassment. Blending both personal experience and rigorous research, Gorman explores the concept of trolling, and highlights strategies to make technology companies accountable to the public good.
What happens when three Jewish literary tragics enter a room to talk books? (Admittedly, it is a virtual room.) Expect passions to be stirred, differences of opinion to be had, raucous laughter and a river of tears to be experienced – and that’s only at your end. It’s Melbourne Jewish Book Week’s bookish version of Margaret and David….
Australian literary legend, Alex Miller talks with MJBW Festival Director, Nicolas Brasch, about his first work of non-fiction, Max — the search for threads of the life of his best friend, Max Blatt.
Melbourne journalist Isabelle Oderberg was joined by Noongar writer Claire G. Coleman and writer, Black American and Orthodox Rabbi Shais Rishon as they journeyed through the variegated terrain of identity and belonging. Exploring experiences of connection and community alongside those of disconnection and divide, Oderberg uncovered Coleman and Rishon’s realities, fears and hopes through the…
Dr Paul Valent MBBS, DPM, FRANZCP, discusses the enigma of violence and its relationship to love with Dr Rachael Kohn AO, FRSNSW. Violence, for Valent, is not an isolated feature of the human condition. Surprisingly close to violence are struggles for love. Find out more about that aspect of humanity.
Our first MJBW seasonal book club selection – Juliet Rieden’s ‘The Writing on the Wall’ — was a memoir uncovering a personal Holocaust tragedy of epic proportions. The conversation between Rieden and Bram Presser offered readers an intriguing and rewarding chat with particular viewpoints from audience members being eloquently answered.
Ben Lewin, internationally renowned Australian film director, considers himself a ‘forty year overnight success.’ Join us for an evening packed with his witty insights as he talks to local film critic Jan Epstein about his recent work The Catcher Was A Spy and beyond. Lewin will consider the creative complexities involved in successfully bringing a book from page…
Broadcast live from New York to Melbourne, Melbourne Jewish Book Week — in partnership with Plus61J — is thrilled to bring you Colum McCann, the international award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin, discussing his new book Apeirogon with Mark Raphael Baker.
In trying to navigate the unknown future, what can the past teach us? Join paediatric infectious disease specialist Professor David Isaacs, (author of Defeating the Ministers of Death: The Compelling History of Vaccination), in conversation with Dr Elizabeth Finkel, as together they shed light on the history of pandemics.
Philippe Sands — eminent international barrister and award-winning author of ‘East West Street’ — discusses his new book, ‘The Ratline’, with Mark Raphael Baker.