Jewish literature festival kicks off

Orielle Berry

The first Jewish Literary Festival (JLF) will be held on Sunday May 22, offering a jam-packed day of fascinating events to book lovers and those who enjoy Jewish literature, culture and conversation.

The JLF will showcase authors, poets, illustrators, journalists, writers and educators who have a Jewish connection or are engaged with subjects of Jewish interest. The venue is the Gardens Community Centre in Cape Town, home to the Jacob Gitlin Library which is partnering the festival.

From 9am to 5pm, the various sites comprising the centre will hum with panel discussions, launches, readings, debates, presentations and book-style activities. More than 24 events will cover a variety of genres such as fiction, food, memoir, politics, academia, scriptwriting, journalism, and the arts.

Authors and writers taking part include Anne Landsman, Steven Robins, Diane Awerbuck, Rachel Zadok, Patricia Schonstein, Gus Silber, Kevin Bloom, Joanne Jowell, Rahla Xenopoulos, Milton Shain, Adam Mendelsohn, Raymond Joseph, Greg Lazarus, Tony Leon, John Matisonn, Jenny Morris and Phillippa Cheifitz. Moderators such as Nancy Richards and Marianne Thamm will bring their expertise and connections into the mix.

A full children’s programme is on offer for all ages. Authors, teachers, entertainers and carers will keep the young ones occupied with storytelling, workshopping and creative activities. With food being an important part of Jewish culture, lunches will be served at Café Riteve next door to the Gitlin Library and coffee bars will be open throughout the day between sessions.

The programme has been designed to appeal to all ages and cover a range of genres. It aims to promote constructive dialogue and discussion without promoting any single political or religious agenda.

Exclusive Books is the main sponsor and will have a pop-up bookstore on the day. The Cape Jewish Chronicle is a media partner.

For more details you can email or or visit

Book through, or at the Gitlin Library for cash sales.