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10 Unmissable Events for Jewish Book Week First Timers


With Jewish Book Week just days away, JBW Director Claudia Rubenstein recommends 10 unmissable events for festival first-timers.

#1 The Hollywood Songbook

feat. Claire Martin, Robert Rinder, Jeremy Brown, Rob Barron

Sun 8 Mar | Hall One 8.15pm

Strange as it is to start at the end, I really hope first-timers will join us for the grand finale of Jewish Book Week. Acclaimed jazz vocalist Claire Martin, accompanied on piano and bass, performs some of Hollywood’s greatest ‘Jewish tunes’ . Featuring classics such as But Not for Me and Witchcraft, this evening of silver-screen glitz and glamour is presented by television’s Rob ‘Judge’ Rinder.

#2 Steven Berkoff: A World Elsewhere

feat. Steven Berkoff, Matthew Stadlen

Sat 29 Feb | Hall One 7pm

From Beverly Hills Cop and Bond on screen to Metamorphosis and Macbeth on stage, Steven Berkoff has had a unique career. He’ll be looking back in conversation with Matthew Stadlen for the opening night on Saturday 29 February.

#3 It’s About Bloody Time

feat. Emma Barnett & Rachel Johnson

Sat 29 Feb | Hall One 7pm

The award-winning Newsnight & BBC R5 Live broadcaster Emma Barnett makes her Jewish Book Week debut in conversation with columnist & Sky News star Rachel Johnson on our opening night. Two fantastic speakers discuss Emma’s brilliant and hilarious first book, Period.

#4 The New Age of Ageing

feat. Nicci Gerrard, Harry Mount, Camilla Cavendish

Sun 1 Mar | Hall One 2pm

2020 marks the first time in human history that the number of people aged 65 and over outnumber children aged five and under. How will we ‘live well’ in this new age? With Camilla Cavendish, Nicci Gerrard and Oldie magazine editor Harry Mount.

#5 The Fashion Revolution: From Berlin to London

feat. Michael Gee, Anna Nyburg, Uwe Westpahl, Daniel Snowman

Sun 1 Mar | Hall Two 6.30pm

19th-century Berlin was the creative world centre for fashion and ready-to-wear clothing, an industry dominated by Jews. Uwe Westphal investigates its brutal Nazi takeover, while Anna Nyburg asks what happened to those who managed to escape to Britain. With Michael Gee, chair of Moss Bros Group and son of fashion innovator Cecil Gee, and social and cultural historian Daniel Snowman.

#6 The State of Nations

feat. Gavin Esler, Adam Gopnik, Anne McElvoy

Sun 1 Mar | Hall One 8pm

I’m so pleased with the expert panel of New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik, former Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler (above) and Senior Editor of the Economist Anne McElvoy for this discussion about the world’s current swing towards populism and the state we are in.

#7 What’s Next for Iran?

feat. Jack Straw, Sanam Vakil, Nazenin Ansari, Lawrence Freedman

Mon 2 Mar | Hall One 8.30pm

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been in existence for over 40 years. Former foreign secretary Jack Straw, deputy head of Chatham House Sanam Vakil and journalist Nazenin Ansari discuss its future, with Professor Emeritus of War Studies Sir Lawrence Freedman.

#8 Who Owns History?

feat. Waikwa Wanyoike, Geoffrey Robertson, Christopher Foster, Karen Sanig

Wed 4 Mar | Hall One 8.30pm

As the UK now faces having to return the Elgin Marbles as part of a trade deal with the EU, this is a timely debate on the moral issues and practicalities of museums returning historic treasures. Joining us are Waikwa Wanyoike, who is implementing Open Society Foundations’ Africa cultural heritage restitution project, Oxford Chinese Studies research fellow Christopher Foster, art law expert Karen Sanig, and leading human rights barrister Geoffrey Robertson.

#9 The Outsiders

feat. Amelia Gentleman, Philip Ther, Panikos Panayi, Matthew Stadlen

Sun 8 Mar | Hall Two 3.30pm

The history of modern Europe is one of enforced exodus and mass migration. Matthew Stadlen is joined by Amelia Gentleman (above), named Journalist of the Year for her Guardian coverage of the Windrush Scandal; Panikos Panayi, whose Migrant City examines London’s immigrants from those escaping pogroms in the Victorian era to the present day; and academic Philipp Ther, whose latest book charts refugees in Europe since 1492.

© Sebastian Nevols

#10 The World According to Physics

feat. Jim Al-Khalili, Etan Ilfield

Sun 8 Mar | Hall One 5pm

Host of Radio 4’s The Life Scientific and Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, Jim Al-Khalili is one of the UK’s most respected science communicators. In his latest bestseller, The World According to Physics, the BBC4 presenter shines a light on what physics tells us about the universe and the nature of reality itself in his informative and engaging style. His previous books have covered quantum mechanics, gravity and aliens!

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