Dara Horn has been publishing penetrating essays since she was a teenager, for publications including The New York Times, The Paris Review and The Wall Street Journal.
Often asked to write on subjects related to Jewish culture – and increasingly in response to a recent wave of deadly antisemitic attacks – she was troubled to realise what all these assignments had in common: she was being asked to write about dead Jews, never about living ones. In the much-anticipated People Love Dead Jews: Reports From A Haunted Present, Horn reflects on subjects as far-flung as the international veneration of Anne Frank, the mythology that Jewish family names were changed at Ellis Island, the blockbuster traveling exhibition Auschwitz, the marketing of the Jewish history of Harbin, China, and the little-known life of the ‘righteous Gentile’ Varian Fry. She challenges us to confront the reasons why there is so much fascination with Jewish deaths and so little respect for Jewish lives unfolding in the present. As well as her travels and research she also draws on her own family life, from trying to explain Shakespeare’s Shylock to a curious ten-year-old to her anger when swastikas are drawn on desks in her children’s school.
In a first for Jewish Book Week, as we move to ensure our tradition of presenting international speakers in these changing times, the Eternal Life and The World To Come author will be joining us live from the US for our inaugural Live On-Screen Event at Kings Place, so you can enjoy the experience with other festival-goers, as well as being available online wherever you are.
Zoe Strimpel is an author, broadcaster and historian of gender in Modern Britain. She is a flagship columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and co-presents Hyped!, a podcast that unpicks the hype around recent cultural products. She is the author of What the Hell Is He Thinking? All the Questions You Ever Asked About Men Answered (2010), The Man Diet: One Woman’s Quest to End Bad Romance (2012) and Seeking Love in Modern Britain: Gender, Dating and the Rise of ‘The Single’ (Bloomsbury, 2020).
People Love Dead Jews: Reports From A Haunted Present will be available to purchase at the Blackwell’s pop-up bookstall on Sun 3 Oct.