Unpacking the Book: Writers Make the Best Detectives
The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave
New York, NY 10128
The one in which our award-winning writers time travel across three hundred years of history — from London and Paris to New York — in order to uncover the lost stories (and people) of a scattered post-Inquisition and post-Holocaust world, unravel the meaning behind text, piece together mysteries, and reveal the power of distance in the pursuit of truth. Rachel Kadish won a 2017 National Jewish Book Award and Lisa Moses Leff won the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. This conversation will be moderated by Stephanie Butnick, deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of “Unorthodox,” its weekly podcast.
Rachel Kadish is the award-winning author of the novels The Weight of Ink (2017 National Jewish Book Award Winner), From a Sealed Room and Tolstoy Lied: a Love Story, as well as the novella I Was Here. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, Ploughshares, and Tin House, and has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and elsewhere. She has been a fiction fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, has received the National Jewish Book Award, the Association of Jewish Libraries Fiction Award, and the John Gardner Fiction Award, and was the Koret Writer-in-Residence at Stanford University. She lives outside Boston and teaches in Lesley University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.
Lisa Moses Leff is a historian of 19th and 20th century Europe whose research focuses on Jews in France. Her first book, Sacred Bonds of Solidarity (Stanford UP, 2006), examines the rise of Jewish international aid in 19th century France. Her second book, The Archive Thief (Oxford University Press, 2015), tells the story of Zosa Szajkowski, an influential Jewish historian who stole tens of thousands of documents from French archives and sold them to libraries in the United States and Israel. It was awarded the Jewish Book Council’s 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and was a finalist for a 2015 National Jewish Book Award. At American, her teaching is broad, encompassing French, Jewish, and general European history of the 18th and 20th centuries. She was named American University’s 2017 Scholar-Teacher of the Year.
Hosted at the Jewish Museum in New York City (1109 5th Avenue), Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation brings together some of the finest writers of the day for conversations around contemporary Jewish life and identity. This event is FREE with pay-what-you-want admission and includes wine and refreshments, a book sale and signing, and the opportunity to visit the Jewish Museum galleries on the day of the program; however, space is limited and guests must register in advance.