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  • Talma Gotteiner

Jerusalem: "The Writers Festival and the International Book Forum" 2022

Updated: Apr 30, 2022

Hi there,

This year, the Writers Festival and the Book Forum will take place concurrently and in cooperation with each other. The Writers Festival offers a program that features the best writers from Israel and the world, tours, activities for children, comics workshops, musical performances, exhibitions, cultural events, and more. The Book Forum hosts professional events that showcase leading figures from the international publishing world. It brings together publishers from around the world and holds discussions on key issues and changing global trends in the field of publishing today.

Among the Writer Festival’s guests this year are Nobel Prize winners Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) and Peter Handke (Austria), Véronique Olmi (France), Hervé Le Tellier (France), Joshua Cohen (USA), Christian Kracht (Switzerland/Germany), Peter Singer (Australia), and Jonathan Franzen (USA)

Among the Forum’s guests this year: David Rowan, founder of WIRED magazine, Juergen Boos, CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Elena Pasoli, director of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Jan Paterson, head of book and audio publishing at BBC Studios, Lisa Lucas, publisher at Pantheon and Schocken Books USA, Barbara Marcus, president of Random House Children’s Books USA, Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, and many others.

The Jerusalem Prize will be awarded as part of the Jerusalem International Book Forum to British author Julian Barnes at the opening ceremony.

Jerusalem: "The Writers Festival and the International Book Forum" 2022
Credit: Julian Barnes photo by Urszula Soltys

WHEN: May 15 to May 19, 2022.

The Writers Festival will be held with the support of the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Beracha Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and others.

The Book Forum is an event of the Jerusalem Municipality, produced and managed through the Ariel Municipal Company.


Fantastic Realism: Olga Tokarczuk, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature and the 2018 Booker International Prize. Of all her diverse works, two notable books have been translated into Hebrew—the historical novel The Books of Jacob (Carmel), about the life of the eighteenth-century Jewish false messiah Jacob Frank, and the ecofeminist suspense novel Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (2009) (Achuzat Bayit), which centers on a lonely woman who shows compassion and love for animals and nature, but renounces social frameworks and orders. Tokarczuk will speak with journalist and television presenter Tamar Ish Shalom about the fine line between fiction and history and her commitment to the principles of equality and minority rights.

An Account of a Minor and Ultimately Even Negligible Episode in the History of a (Very) Famous Family: Joshua Cohen, whose novel The Netanyahus was hailed by critics as one of the best books of 2021, will talk with Benny Ziffer, editor of the Culture and Literature Supplement of Haaretz, about Benzion Netanyahu's teachings, contemporary Jewish identity, and the Gordian knot between Israel and the United States.

Julian Barnes, winner of the 2021 Jerusalem Prize and one of Britain’s greatest living authors, in a discussion on love, death, and time as the cornerstones of his writing, with literary critic Neta Halperin. His award-winning books—including Flaubert's Parrot, The Sense of an Ending, and The Only Story, among many others—have gained a loyal audience of readers around the world who are swept away by his brilliant writing and subtle humor that apparently conceals an abyss of sadness and true love for human beings and literature.

On the Power of Responsibility, a series of meetings dedicated to examining the relationships between power, state, economy, and climate in the twenty-first century: The series was created in response to the new global reality dictated by the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine and will address the individual’s place in society and his commitment to community and the environment. In collaboration with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Israel.

What Did You Do Today for Planet Earth? Prof. Peter Singer and Prof. Yuval Noah Harari will speak online with Prof. Liad Mudrik about human responsibility for the environment and the growing impact of globalization on Earth. Singer is one of the most important philosophers of his generation on the subject of animal rights and a leader in the fight against global poverty. Yuval Noah Harari, who wrote the introduction to the new edition of Singer's foundational book Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, is an Israeli historian whose books Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011), Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2015), and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018) have been translated into more than sixty languages ​​and sold 40 million copies.

While the Guns Roar: Renowned Ukrainian author Oksana Zabuzhko, whose debut novel Field Work in Ukrainian Sex, considered one of the most important works of Ukrainian literature, has been translated into 15 languages and called the “feminist bible,” in an online conversation with Shalom Boguslavsky, who leads tours in eastern Europe, and Asaf Bartov, founder of the Ben Yehuda Project and the Nemala initiative (which aims to translate Ukrainian literature into Hebrew for the first time), about the intersection of literature and national identity, writing during war and crisis, and the political power of the author.

There is Also Beauty in Alienation: Christian Kracht, one of the most prominent and controversial writers of contemporary German literature in the world. His writing blends influences from high and low cultures. His latest book, Eurotrash (2021), is a work of satirical autofiction that depicts a family journey into the abysses of the soul. Kracht will talk with author Julia Fermentto-Tzaisler and journalist Nissan Shor about the intersections of pop culture, consumer culture, and contemporary literature. With the support of the Swiss Embassy and Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council.

The Horror of Motherhood: The French novella Beside the Sea, by Véronique Olmi, which describes one bitter day in the life of a single mother on the verge of a breakdown, became the subject of a heated debate in Israel even before it was published in Hebrew, when it came to be associated with a plagiarism scandal that involved the Israeli novel Tomorrow We’ll Go to the Amusement Park (2018). Dorit Shiloh will talk with Olmi about motherhood as an ongoing crisis and the shattering of the myth of the “good mother” in literature and life. With the support of the Institut Français Israel.

A Suburban Tale: Jonathan Franzen in Conversation with Dorit Rabinyan – An online interview conducted for Yedioth Ahronoth's Literature and Culture Supplement. Franzen, who has been described more than once as the greatest American writer of his generation and hailed by critics as the “Tolstoy of the internet era,” spoke with author Dorit Rabinyan (Israel) about his new book, Crossroads, a family epic from the American suburbs of the 1970s and about his projected trilogy.

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams: Peter Handke, one of the greatest contemporary writers in the world and winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature, in conversation with journalist Oren Nahari. They will discuss writing that strives for truth at all costs. Handke, who is also known for writing the screenplay for the immortal film Wings of Desire with German film director Wim Wenders, is concerned with controversial contemporary issues alongside affairs of the mind. In his 1972 novella A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (Hakibbutz Hameuchad), Handke attempts to understand the despair that led his mother to end her life. Supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum.

False Consciousness: Hervé Le Tellier, winner of the 2020 Prix Goncourt and author of the international bestseller The Anomaly, which moves between the thriller and science fiction genres and is being adapted into a television series, will talk about parallel consciousnesses and the connection between mathematics and suspense literature with translator Dr. Illa Ben Porat and Yaron Sivan, social entrepreneur and translator of Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind. With the support of the Institut Français Israel.

Between Italy and Africa: Author Giovanna Giordano has published four critically acclaimed novels and received many awards for her journalistic work. Her book A Magic Flight tells a story set during the war in Africa in the shadow of exploitative and violent colonial dictates. Giordano will speak with journalist Itai Anghel about the wounds of European colonialism and the West’s passion for Africa. With the support of the Italian Institute of Culture in Israel.

Avigdor Arikha/In Between – Opening of an Exhibition of Works at the Dwek Gallery at Mishkenot Sha’ananim:

Avigdor Arikha (1929–2010) one of the most prominent artists of the twentieth century, in a creative dialogue with his closest friend, Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, alongside self-portraits and portraits of other friends, and paintings and drawings of the landscapes of Tel Aviv, Paris, and Jerusalem, the cities among which he divided his time. The works are from the Doron Sabag collection, Tel Aviv. Curator: Dana Golan Miller

A Tribute to A. B. Yehoshua: On the renowned author’s extensive and varied work, his place in the Hebrew literary canon, his political activity, and his Jerusalem past. Featuring Dorit Rabinyan, Dror Mishani, Prof. Yehouda Shenhav-Shahrabani, Roni Koban, and Alma Dishy.

My Literary Failure: The stories behind the discarded texts of Noa Yedlin, Dror Mishani, Joshua Sobol, and others.

Rappers Read Poetry: Featuring Michael Cohen, Ravid Plotnik, Eden Derso, Sima Noon, Shay Tra Litman, and Orit Tashoma.

A Writing Workshop on Sexuality led by Noam Parom and Ron Dahan.

Poetry of the Social Networks with Tchelet Zohar, Roy Hasan, Odeya Rosenak, Noam Partom, and Ofir Mashraki

Jason Danino-Holt and Amir Naaman in conversation with Goel Pinto on the #MeToo movement in the gay community in Israel.

Zohar Weiman-Kelman and Danny Luzon in Conversation with Yaakov Herskovitz on the renewed power of Yiddish poetry.

Tours around Jerusalem led by writers and intellectuals in the footsteps of Yona Wallach, Pinchas Sadeh, and the poet Zelda.

The Secrets behind Cramel: A meeting for the whole family with Meira Barnea-Goldberg and the actors of the beloved Kan Educational television series.

Festival Director: Einat Ashdot, Director General of Mishkenot Sha’ananim: Moti Schwartz, Artistic Director: Julia Fermentto-Tzaisler, Evening Events: Roni Brodetzky


The International Book Forum will open with the award ceremony of the Jerusalem Prize, which will be awarded to British author Julian Barnes. The award will be presented by Mayor Moshe Lion. Among the members of the publishing community who will come to Jerusalem this year to participate in the forum are David Rowan, founder of WIRED magazine, who will speak about publishing in a new era of artificial intelligence and advanced technology, and Jan Paterson, head of book and audio publishing at BBC Studios, who will lead a panel on audiobooks and podcasts and the new possibilities that they create. Lisa Lucas, publisher at Pantheon and Schocken Books, and Jean Mattern, editor-in-chief of the French publishing house Grasset, will take part in a discussion on the promotion and exposure of debut authors today.

Four directors of international book fairs—Juergen Boos from Frankfurt, Elena Pasoli from Bologna, Nopi Chatzigeorgiou from Thessaloniki, and Frida Edman from Sweden—will come to Jerusalem to discuss the future of these industry meeting places. There will be a fascinating discussion on the unexpectedly meteoric success of children’s books in the last two years. Among its participants will be Barbara Marcus, president of Random House Children’s Books USA, and Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, managing director of Macmillan Children's Books UK. Other discussions will focus on the original activities and success of independent publishers in recent years, the contemporary sociopolitical discourse in publishing, and the experience of literary agents who work in countries and languages ​​that are foreign to them. Among the participants will be Mitzi Angel, president and publisher at Farrar Straus & Giroux in the United States and Amy Spangler, founder of the AnatoliaLit agency in Turkey. Another honored guest will be Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (owner of Macmillan). This year, some 30 editors, publishers, agents, and scouts from 19 different countries will participate in the Zev Birger Editorial Fellowship program. The Israelis who will take part this year are Ben Vered, nonfiction editor at Matar Publishing, Shira Hefer, founder of Locus Publishing House and editor there, and Gili Bar-Hillel, translator and publisher at Utz Publishing.

Moti Schwartz, Director-General of Mishkenot Sha'ananim: "The 10th International Writers Festival at Mishkenot Sha'ananim is celebrating this year with a special edition that features two Nobel laureates, Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke, as well as a long list of prominent writers from Israel and the world, including Jonathan Franzen, Yuval Noah Harari, Meir Shalev, and many others. We have strived, as always, to bring to this year’s Writers Festival diverse voices from the field of literature that also relate to the spirit and events of the times. The effects of these voices will remain long after them."

Yoel Makov, director of the International Book Forum: "We are happy and excited to bring together once again the finest professionals in the field of publishing in Jerusalem after the pandemic prevented us from holding this meeting last year. This special forum, which I have been accompanying since 1987, yields many moments of sharing and friendship. We are proud to take part in this enterprise and grateful to all its participants."

Director of the International Book Forum: Yoel Makov, Artistic Director: Hadar Makov-Hasson, Production Coordinator: Sharon Katz, CEO of Ariel Municipal Company: Uri Menachem


Entrance to the outdoor and online events is free. For the program and to purchase tickets, please visit Writers Festival website

Participation in the Forum’s events is free of charge, but pre-registration is required.



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