Alan Twigg’s tribute to Rudolf Vrba

Rudolf Vrba, who escaped Auschwitz and co-authored a report saving 200,000 lives, remains unrecognized in Vancouver despite his significant historical impact. Alan Twigg (l.) seeks to change this.” FULL STORY


Jewish Book Fest featured writers

December 05th, 2023


Ordinary, Extraordinary: My Father’s Life by Bernard Pinsky

January 28, 2024 | 1-3 PM | The Wosk Auditorium, Jewish Community Centre


The Jewish Book Festival will take place from February 10 – 15, 2024, at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver and other Lower Mainland venues. In light of recent challenging times, the Jewish Community Centre aims to bring community together and celebrate the work of talented writers from across Canada, USA, Israel and England.

The following BC-based authors and luminaries will be featured during the event:

Jonathan Freedland. Photo by Philippa Gedge

Award-winning journalist and bestselling novelist, Jonathan Freedland, will be discussing his book, The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World (Harper, 2022). The book narrates the fascinating story of local hero, Rudolf Vrba’s heroic act of pulling off the near-impossible feat of escaping from Auschwitz to warn Europe’s remaining Jews, saving two hundred thousand lives by doing so.

Yosef Wosk

Scholar-turned-philanthropist-turned-art-collector-turned-writer/philosopher, Yosef Wosk also takes the stage with Alan Twigg to discuss his book, Naked in a Pyramid (Anvil Press, 2023). This book encapsulates essays revealing a medley of unexpected details about his otherwise private life. From almost dying while climbing the Great Pyramid of Giza to meditating naked in an ancient cavern, Wosk, a former rabbi and diverse collector, unveils his distinctive worldview.

Richard Menkis

Richard Menkis will discuss In a ‘Land of Hope’: Documents on the Canadian Jewish Experience, 1627-1923 (The Chaplain Society, 2023), the book he co-edited with Pierre Anctil. The book includes a complete overview of Canadian Jewish history up to 1923. This collection includes documentation from very diverse archives and in many languages, which account for the evolution of Canadian Jews over three centuries and through a wide array of contexts and circumstances. It prioritizes numerous and diverse Jewish voices (from politicians to workmen and women from across the country) that expressed at different points in time the multiple realities of the Canadian Jewish experience.

On Valentine’s Day, the 2012 First Novel Award and the 2013 Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction winner, Anakana Schofield will be sharing the stage with two LGBTQ+ authors from Toronto and Los Angeles, to dissect their new spicy novels.

Roberta Rich. Photo by Guy Immega

In a similar vein, local bestselling author, Roberta Rich will present her latest historical fiction novel, The Jazz Club Spy (Simon & Schuster, 2023). Set in the 1930s New York, the story follows Giddy Brodsky, a Jewish cigarette girl. Giddy, haunted by her past, discovers the Cossack who burned her Russian village. To seek justice, she partners with Carter van der Zalm, an immigration official. As she delves into espionage, Giddy becomes entangled in a political conspiracy on the brink of World War II. Against the backdrop of New York’s tenements and jazz clubs, this novel unfolds a tale of resilience and intrigue, where loyalties are tested and secrets unfold. Rich will later interview US historian Debby Applegate on her latest non-fiction book.

Jeff Goberman

Local author Jeff Goberman and PEI’s Steven Mayoff are set to bring humour to the event before Paul Shore and Deborah Katz Henriquez, children’s book authors from Vancouver, present their graphic novel, Steve and Eve Save the Planet (Planet Hero Kids, 2023). The book introduces Steve, a Fishtachio ice cream-loving polar bear, and Eve, a feisty electric car, in the first book of the Steve and Eve graphic novel series. Together, they embark on zany adventures to save the planet, armed with the superpower of kindness bestowed by the Northern Lights. The stunningly illustrated and uplifting graphic novel aims to inspire young readers to combat climate change.

“We are thrilled to reconnect with our audiences and share moving experiences around books and ideas, as they create such meaningful community gatherings!” says festival director, Dana Camil Hewitt. “The nucleus of our festival is Jewish-themed, but our speakers, events and audience happily represent a diversity of cultures and lived experiences that defy narrow categorization. We bring forward universal themes and whether it’s a written, illustrated or performed word, the Jewish Book Festival strives to encompass them all!”

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