Jewish Community Center of Washington, DC

Literary Festival--Past Imperfect: New Jewish Fiction
Washington DCJCC

Thursday, October 22
Binnie Kirshenbaum | The Scenic Route
Jonathon Keats | The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six
Norah Labiner | German for Travelers: A Novel in 95 Lessons
7:30 pm | Ina and Jack Kay Community Hall 
$10, Discounted Members/Seniors/Under 25 $8

Scenic Route compressedModerated by Sheila Jelen, Associate Professor of English and Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Unexpectedly unemployed, 42-year-old Sylvia Landsman takes off for Italy, where she meets Henry, an expatriate living the good life at a steep price. As they journey throughout Europe, Sylvia entertains Henry with pointed tales of her peculiar family, damaged friends and pet cemeteries; tales twist and turn, weaving remembrances and regrets with a delicious love affair. Binnie Kirshenbaum is Chair of the Writing Program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of the Arts and the author of two short story collections and six novels.

O-LMD-Book of the unknownThe Scenic Route is warm, wise, and very difficult to put down.” —Gary Shteyngart

A liar, a cheat, a degenerate and a whore. These are the last people one might expect to be virtuous. But they are just some of the thirty-six hidden ones, the righteous individuals who ultimately make the world a better place. Echoing the tales of Sholom Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer, this cycle revives the art of Jewish storytelling. Jonathon Keats is a novelist, conceptual artist, essayist, and journalist. He has also attempted to genetically engineer God in a petri dish, in collaboration with scientists at the University of California.

“To read [these stories] is to become transfixed with that long-forgotten childhood wonder.”  —Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge

O-LMD-germanIn search of the key to unlock a great family mystery, a Hollywood starlet and her cousin travel to Berlin and find themselves on a trail leading back to their great-grandfather, a Jewish pioneer of psychoanalysis in early 20th Century Germany. Alternating between past and present Germany and 1960s Detroit, German for Travelers is a story about a girl whose dreams reveal the future, a family beset by ghosts, and the place that haunts them all. Norah Labiner is the author of Our Sometimes Sister and Miniatures, an American Library Association Notable Book and Minnesota Book Award winner.

“Labiner’s prose has a willfully inscrutable, catch-me-if-you-can quality that can be vigorous, but wildly lush.”—New York Times Book Review

Festival Fiction is sponsored by Francine Zorn Trachtenberg and Stephen Joel Trachtenberg in loving memory of Bruce J. Zorn.

Co-sponsored by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

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