Jewish Literary Festival takes it up a notch

The Jewish Literary Festival (JLF) is taking it to the next level this year with acclaimed British historian and author Simon Sebag Montefiore as keynote speaker. 

Dr Montefiore will be discussing his newest book, The World — a family history. This nuanced, historical epic has offered Montefiore the greatest satisfaction of his writing life, he says. The author focuses on power families — the Hapsburgs, the Nehrus, the Borgias and the Trumps — from their humble beginnings to greatness and power and finally to collapse — all related with a good dose of humour. 

Other internationally-residing but South African-born authors joining JLF 2023 include Denis Hirson (France), who will talk about his latest book My Thirty-Minute Barmitzvah, Louisa Treger (UK), author of Madwoman, and John Schlapobersky (UK), who wrote When They Came For Me: The Hidden Diary of an Apartheid Prisoner

On the local front, popular authors such as Gail Schimmel, Kate Sidley, Jonathan Ancer, Steven Boykey Sidley, Nechama Brodie, Joanne Jowell and Patricia Schonstein join the line-up. Colin Coleman and Tony Leon discuss what’s next for South Africa on the political front, while Des Lindberg and Aviva Pelham talk about how music crosses cultural divides. Entrepreneurship will be tackled by Spur Steak Ranch founder Allen Ambor and serial entrepreneur Rael Levitt. In total, more than 50 authors are participating, with popular moderators like Nancy Richards, Karina Szczurek, Mandy Wiener and Anton Harber leading the conversations. 

This year, unlike previous iterations of the festival, writers and moderators will gather for a series of panel discussions rather than one-on-one interviews. Get ready for a profound and provocative range of sessions on business, politics, history, narrative, identity, heroes, villains and much more! 

JLF has become a highlight on the local literary calendar, joining such iconic events as the Franschhoek Literary Festival and the Open Book Festival — and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the day. The festival enhances the Cape Town Jewish cultural experience without promoting any political or religious agenda. Festival goers will have the opportunity to talk directly to writers and fellow readers, playing an integral role in powering-up this otherwise under-represented category in the local publishing arena.

The Book Lounge is manning a popup bookstore; a delicious boxed lunch is part of the ticket price; and ample coffee stations encourage a casual relaxed atmosphere.

Partners for the Festival include the Jacob Gitlin Library, The Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre, the SA Jewish Museum, Fine Music Radio, the Cape Jewish Chronicle, The Book Lounge and Lift Airlines.

Human Rights Day, 21 March 2023
9am to 5pm (last session starts 4pm)
Gardens Community Centre, Hatfield Street, Cape Town
R350 includes lunch, access to all sessions and a coffee voucher.
Bookings are open and tickets may purchased online through Quicket or by visiting the Gitlin Library during business hours.

Jewish Literary Festival

• Published in the February 2023 Digital Edition – Click here to read it.

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