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Kafka’s Trial: A Play Reading and Panel Discussion

Jewish Literary Foundation presents Book Week

Sat 9 Mar

Kafka’s Trial: A Play Reading and Panel Discussion

Jewish Literary Foundation presents Book Week

Speakers Benjamin Balint, Carolin Duttlinger, Henry Goodman, Stefan Litt, Eve Matheson, Daniel Fraser
Chair David Herman

A specially commissioned play reading, featuring Henry Goodman, to mark the centenary of the death of Franz Kafka, followed by an expert panel discussion.

A unique performance to mark the centenary of Franz Kafka’s death, featuring two-time Olivier Best Actor winner Henry Goodman.

After 100 years of slumber, he awakens into nightmare; people have been complaining about his writing and he is accused of giving his name to an expression, Kafkaesque, which no one really understands. As Kings Place transforms into a court for his trial, the case is presented through excerpts from Kafka’s DiariesLetters to Felice, Letter to his FatherMetamorphosisThe Parables and, of course, The Trial.

The cast includes two-time Olivier winner Henry Goodman (Golda, The Merchant of Venice), National Theatre veteran Eve Matheson (May to December, Vanity Fair) and West End regular Daniel Fraser (Wolf Hall, Chariots of Fire). Produced by Honor Borwick and scripted by Roger Gartland.

Following the staged reading, there will be a panel discussion with Benjamin Balint, author of Kafka’s Last TrialCarolin Duttlinger, Co-Director of the Oxford Kafka Research Centre, and Curator for General Humanities at the National Library of Israel Stefan Litt; chaired by David Herman.

This event will last approximately 2 hours, including an interval. 

About the speakers:

Benjamin Balint, a writer living in Jerusalem, is the author most recently of Bruno Schulz: An Artist, a Murder, and the Hijacking of History, which the New York Times called ‘the clearest, most even-handed account to date of the tangled afterlife of the Master of Drohobych.’ He is previously the author of Kafka’s Last Trial, which was awarded the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize, named a Book of the Year by the Economist, and translated into a dozen languages. His essays regularly appear in the Wall Street Journal and the Jewish Review of Books, and his translations from the Hebrew have appeared in the New Yorker.

Carolin Duttlinger is Professor of German Literature and Culture at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of Wadham College and Co-Director of the Oxford Kafka Research Centre. She is currently leading a major research project, ‘Kafka’s Transformative Communities’, which brings together academics and creative practitioners. Her books include Kafka and Photography (2007),The Cambridge Introduction to Franz Kafka (Cambridge, 2013) Franz Kafka in Context (2017) and Attention and Distraction in Modern German Literature, Thought, and Culture (2022). This year, she is also co-curating a major Kafka exhibition at the Weston Library Oxford, which will open at the end of May.

Henry Goodman is a multi-award-winning actor, including Oliviers for The Merchant of Venice and Assassins. Most recently seen in Golda and HBO’s The Regime, his stage credits include Broadway, the West End, the National Theatre and Chichester and on screen Yes, Prime MinisterNotting Hill, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Their Finest.

Stefan Litt is an archival expert at the National Library of Israel, where he is in charge of European language holdings, featuring authors such as Martin Buber, Stefan Zweig, Franz Kafka, and others. He received his PhD in Pre-Modern Jewish History from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2001), and a post-doctoral degree (habilitation) from Graz University Austria (2008). He did research and was visiting professor at the universities of Erfurt and Dusseldorf in Germany, Graz in Austria, as well as Jerusalem and Bar-Ilan in Israel. He has published on the history of early modern European Jewry and on Jewish archival collections.

Eve Matheson’s theatre work includes appearances at the National Theatre, The Young Vic, Shakespeare’s Globe, Riverside Studios, The Lyric, Hammersmith, Hampstead Theatre, The Royal Court, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Shaw Theatre, repertory theatres around the country and abroad and at The Globe, Wyndhams’ and Lyceum Theatres in London’s West End. On television she appeared in Vanity Fair; May to December, Ambassador, Jericho and The Thick of It, amongst many others. She has made many radio recordings and audio books, taken part in rehearsed readings, directed student productions, run workshops and appeared in theatre/opera collaborations at the Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Barbican and most recently in The Indian Queen with Opera Vlaanderen in Caen, Antwerp and Luxembourg.

One half of award winning comedy duo Maris Piper, Daniel Fraser has starred in Wolf Hall/Bring Up The Bodies at the RSC and Broadway, as well as The Mousetrap and Chariots of Fire in the West End. His screen credits include Grantchester, The Crown and most recently films The Book of Clarence and The Art Lovers.

David Herman was a TV producer for twenty years and for the past twenty years has worked as a freelance writer, writing more than a thousand articles, reviews and essays for The New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian and a wide range of Jewish publications including The Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Renaissance and The Jewish Quarterly.

Date:Sat 9 Mar
Start time:7.15pm (Doors: 6.45pm)
Venue:Hall One

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