Jerusalem and its poet, Yehuda Amichai, spotlighted at writers festival

Diverse international gathering to offer up Roth, Agnon, motherhood, song, dance and more

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Meir Shalev, pictured here at a previous festival, will be speaking Thursday, May 22, at 7 pm (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)
Meir Shalev, pictured here at a previous festival, will be speaking Thursday, May 22, at 7 pm (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90)

It’s time to appreciate literature and the writing process with the 4th International Writers Festival, which will be held at Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim from Sunday, May 19, to Friday, May 23.

With a particular focus on Jerusalem and the poetry of Yehuda Amichai, this year’s festival offers a diverse selection of international and local writers, engaging readers on a wide range of topics, from literary fiction and science fiction to writing workshops and conversations.

The festival opens next Sunday with “Philip Roth: Unmasked,” a documentary on the American author’s life and work (he officially retired from writing last year).

Other events during the first day will include a discussion on literature, writing and maternity with Ayelet Waldman and Lihi Lapid; a tribute to Jorge Luis Borges, with a conversation with Maria Kodama, his life partner, and a talk between Roni Kuban and Sayed Kashua.

Tuesday morning starts with a poetry encounter for high school students with the works of Yehuda Amichai, and ends with singing the songs of Amichai. The late afternoon and evening will include an encounter between Assaf Gavron and Vietnamese-Australian writer Nam Le, as well as Novels on Screen, talking about the adaptation of novels to film with Etgar Keret and Michael Konyves, with a screening of their short film, “Goldfish.”

Yehuda Amichai, often considered Israel's national poet, died in 2000 (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash 90)
Yehuda Amichai, often considered Israel’s national poet, died in 2000 (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash 90)

On Wednesday, another Jerusalem writer, S.Y. Agnon, will be celebrated with a series of events, including a visit to his home and library in the neighborhood of Talpiot. The day’s events also include a writing jam with Eshkol Nevo and Orit Gidali, and one of the Writing Here, Writing There conversations, this time between A. B. Yehoshua and Nicole Krauss.

Thursday, the final full day of the festival, will open with dancer Ohad Naharin and Nicole Krauss discussing the language of writing and of movement. There will also be encounters and conversations with Marilynne Robinson, Jake Wallis Simons, and Jan-Philip Sendker, and a final one between Krauss and David Grossman.

On Friday, the final morning of the festival, Etgar Keret and musician Shlomi Saban will sing, read and chat in a one-off event.

There will be children’s events held throughout the festival, with art projects, readings and plays in the late afternoon on Monday through Thursday. ReCOVER, an exhibition of Israeli illustrators reinterpreting book covers of festival writers, will be open for viewing throughout the festival.

For tickets and more information, call *6226 or visit the festival website.

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