Reading at Jewish Book Week has to go down as a highlight of my Jewtown experience. Ten years ago, I never thought that I would ever write a poem, never mind be asked to read at a major book festival in the UK. Not only that, the event was completely sold out two weeks before the event.
The event took place in Kings Place and I was being interviewed by Jonathan Self, who is based in Ireland. Jonathan was interviewing both me and Ruth Gilligan, author of the fantastic novel, Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan. This was the first time that the event was not a reading, as such, it was a full hour talking about the Jews of Ireland through both of our books. It was a really interesting interview covering everything from how it felt being a minority in Ireland to how we felt Irish people treated minorities today as opposed to when our books were set. Audience questions were tough dealing with European politics (I dodged that one) to the Irish being “whipping boys” of the British. There were also some anecdotes from audience members speaking about growing up in Ireland.
With over 100 people in attendance, it was the biggest event I have ever “read” at apart from the launch of the book. I think it went down well and to celebrate, in the most Jewish fashion of all, I headed to Reuben’s Deli in Baker Street for a hot salt beef sandwich.