Unpacking the Book: Season 1

**Find out information about the current season of Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation here.**

This spring, join Jewish Book Council for an exciting new event series featuring incredible authors in an incredible venue. Hosted at the Jewish Museum in New York City (1109 5th Avenue), Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation will bring together some of the finest writers of the day for conversations around contemporary Jewish life and identity. These conversations will be moderated by Bari Weiss, associate books editor at The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, each program is FREE and includes wine and refreshments, a book sale and signing, and the opportunity to visit the Jewish Museum galleries; however, space is limited and guests must REGISTER.**

More information about each conversation can be found by clicking the links below:

A Grand Debut - February 24, 2015 | 6:30-8:30PM
Molly Antopol | Alexis Landau | Daniel Torday | Bari Weiss

Women of the Book - March 24, 2015 | 6:30-8:30PM
Elisa Albert | Anita Diamant | Ruth Andrew Ellenson | Bari Weiss

Soviet Roots, American Branches - May 19, 2015 | 6:30-8:30PM
Yelena Akhtiorskaya | Gal Beckerman | Boris Fishman | Bari Weiss + Special Guests Alina and Jeff Bliumis

Planning on attending all three programs? Join the JBC Circle membership program! Space is limited, so be sure to request membership early. JBC Circle members will be invited to a private reception with the authors preceding each program and will also receive the following:

Request JBC Circle membership here. (In the case of inclement weather, events will be rescheduled accordingly.)

A special thank you to the following sponsors for their support:


If you have any trouble registering, please contact the Jewish Book Council at jbc@jewishbooks.org or 212-201-2920.

**RSVP required to gain entry. Early arrival is suggested as space is limited. Entry is not guaranteed, unless you are a JBC Circle member.

A Grand Debut

Program Co-Sponsor: Electric Literature
Download this event's BOOK CLUB GUIDE

February 24, 2015 | 6:30-8:30PM

Each of these authors have recently published either their first collection of short stories or full-length novel. We’ll sit down with them to talk about their books, how their “Jewishness” influences and impacts upon their writing, experiences on the road, their inspirations, and where they see the action going next. Are there any similarities or trends among their works or are they writing from completely different perspectives? We’re going to find out.

Molly Antopol's debut story collection, The UnAmericans, was published here by W.W. Norton in 2014, and in six other countries. She teaches creative writing at Stanford University, where she was a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow. A recipient of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 award and longlisted for the National Book Award, she holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives in San Francisco.

Alexis Landau graduated from Vassar College and received her MFA from Emerson College. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California, currently finishing a thesis about Irène Némirovsky. The Empire of the Senses (Pantheon) is her first novel; her short stories have appeared in journals such as LA CityZine and Amor Fati. Originally from Los Angeles, Alexis lives with her husband and two children in Santa Monica.

Daniel Torday is the Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College. An author and former editor at Esquire magazine, Torday currently serves as an editor at The Kenyon Review. The Last Flight of Poxl West (St. Martin's Press) is his first novel. His short stories and essays have appeared in Esquire, Glimmer Train, Harper Perennial’s Fifty-Two Stories, Harvard Review, The New York Times and The Kenyon Review. Torday’s novella, The Sensualist, won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction.

Women of the Book

Program Co-Sponsor: Jewish Women's Archive
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March 24, 2015 | 6:30-8:30PM

This panel features Jewish women who have contributed greatly to the Jewish literary community. They will discuss what it's meant to be a female Jewish writer over the past several decades—how have things changed and how have things remained the same? They will also discuss their most recent works, what they tackle in their own writing, and what issues they think will emerge in the (near) future. What’s next?

Elisa Albert is the author of After Birth (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), The Book of Dahlia (2008), How This Night is Different (2006), and the editor of the anthology Freud’s Blind Spot (2010). Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Tin House, Post Road, Gulf Coast, Commentary, Salon, Tablet, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Believer, The Rumpus, Time Magazine, on NPR, and in many anthologies.

Anita Diamant is the bestselling author of the novels The Red Tent, Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown, Day After Night, and Boston Girl (Scribner) and the collection of essays, Pitching My Tent. An award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe Magazine and Parenting, she is the author of six nonfiction guides to contemporary Jewish life. She lives in Massachusetts.

Ruth Andrew Ellenson is a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, People, Huffington Post, The Forward and many other publications. She received the National Jewish Book Award for editing the best selling anthology The Modern Jewish Girl's Guide to Guilt. Ellenson recently collaborated on editorial projects, including a forthcoming book, with late philanthropist Edgar M. Bronfman, and is currently working on a book with philanthropist Michael Steinhardt. She received her MFA from Columbia University.

Soviet Roots, American Branches

Program Co-Sponsor: Genesis Philanthropy Group
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May 19, 2015 | 6:30-8:30PM

This panel features writers who are part of or write about the Russian American Jewish community. Each year brings a new crop of voices reflecting on Russian Jewish experience in America, and we're bring together a range of voices with the goal of provoking a discussion about what it means to be a Russian American Jew today and why Russian Jewish literature is such a stand-out in the field.

Yelena Akhtiorskaya was born in Odessa in 1985 and raised in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. She holds an MFA from Columbia University. She is the recipient of a Posen Fellowship in Fiction, and her writing has appeared in n+1, The New Republic, Triple Canopy, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City. Panic in a Suitcase (Riverhead) is her debut novel.

Gal Beckerman is the opinion editor at The Forward. His first book, When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in September 2010. It was named was one of the best books of the year by The New Yorker and the Washington Post, and received both the 2010 National Jewish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Boris Fishman immigrated from the USSR at age nine. He studied Russian literature at Princeton, was on staff at The New Yorker, co-wrote the US Senate’s Hurricane Katrina report, and has received a Fulbright to Turkey. He’s written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Tablet, The Forward, The Jerusalem Report, and many others. A Replacement Life (Harper) is his debut novel. He lives in New York.

Joining us for "Soviet Roots, American Branches" will also be Alina and Jeff Bliumis, who will be photographing guests as an extension of the project featured in their new book, From Selfie to Groupie. Read more about the book below, which will be for sale at the May 19th program.

From Selfie to Groupie by Alina and Jeff Bliumis is a book of photographs and essays that explores the variety and intricacy of Jewish-American identity, beginning with the Russian-jewish immigrant enclave of Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach and continuing in locations from New York to Philadelphia, Miami, Sonoma Valley, and St.Paul. Thousands of participants have helped make this a vital portrait of the community today—in its many shades, shapes, and sizes—and a collaborative statement about collective identity. From Selfie to Groupie has been made possible with the generous support of Genesis Philanthropy Group.