With Bernard Kops’s book This Room in the Sunlight: Collected Poems in one hand and Ruth Barnett’s Person of No Nationality in the other I can go to Jewish Book Week and feel that it was worth the sweat to get them ready in time for this annual ten day fest at the Royal National Hotel in London. And as other authors of mine will be there – Etgar Keret co-author of Gaza Blues will be strutting his stuff -giving a writing masterclass, and in a discussion with Jonathan Safran Foer and Miriam Halahmy (Cutting Pomegranates) will be running a workshop – JBW will be the place for me along with 10,000 punters or so who will go to events from Feb 27. So it’s an important starting point for me as a UK publisher of books of Jewish interest.
I am only sorry that Esther Kreitman will not be there (she died in 1953) but her last novel Diamonds has just been published and translator Heather Valencia launched it at Scotland Limmud in Glasgow last weekend, explaining Kreitman’s dystopian view of the world – formed no doubt by being married to a schlemiel of a diamond cutter in Avrom Kreitman.
The next few months will be spent in getting a good an airing as possible for three new titles. Bernard has many bookshop readings, being a popular and well known writer. Ruth will be going into many schools and public platforms talking about the impact of being a refugee from Nazi Germany who was brought up in foster homes on the South Coast, not knowing if her parents were alive or dead. And Heather will be persuading Yiddish speakers that English translations of the mama loshen are not treif but quite kosher for us illiterate non-Yiddish speakers. Kreitman translations have been picked up by many as examples of women’s struggle for emancipation in the early half of the 20th century.