Annual Jewish Book Festival hosts acclaimed novelist Gary Shteyngart, daughter of Leonard Bernstein and more

Acclaimed author Gary Shteyngart is one of the headliners at the 35th Annual JCC Jewish Book Festival. The festival takes place Feb. 8-13 at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver and other Lower Mainland venues.

The roster includes writers from across Canada, the US, Israel, and South Africa. Events include meet-the-author opportunities, readings and panel discussions, the annual book club event, children’s and youth authors, wellness subjects and two onsite bookstores new and used, open throughout the week. See below for highlights.

Gary Shteyngart—The novelist is the featured guest at the Opening Night Gala. He’ll be in conversation with CBC Radio’s Lisa Christiansen about his latest novel Lake Success.

Jamie Bernstein—The daughter of revered composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein is promoting her memoir Famous Father Girl, about the family’s private world. With the help of guest musicians, Bernstein will offer us a rare look at her father around the centennial of his birth.

Jamie Bernstein. Steve J. Sherman photo.

Michael David Lukas—The winner of the 2019 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature will talk about his historical fiction novel The Last Watchman of Cairo, to be followed by a screening of the documentary From Cairo to the Cloud by local filmmaker Michelle Paymar.

Daniel Kalla—The local author headlines the festival’s annual Book Clubs event with his latest novel We All Fall Down, a historical/medical thriller.

Alejandro Frid—The BC ecologist and professor argues that merging science and Indigenous knowledge may be the only way to avert the imminent climate and biodiversity crises in his book Changing Tides: An Ecologist’s Journey to Make Peace with the Anthropocene.

Heidi Tworek—The local historian discusses her new book News from Germany: The Competition to Control World Communications 1900-1945.

Other guests include eminent South African photographer and writer Terry Kurgan, winner of the 2019 Sunday Times Alan Paton Non-fiction Award; Israeli/Canadian writer Gila Green; local parenting expert Anne Andrew; children’s author Alexandra Frankel; and memoirist Anna Mehler Paperny.

Regular updates can be found on the website at The JCC Jewish Book Festival program guide is available at select locations throughout the Lower Mainland. Most events take place at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver (950 West 41st Ave @ Oak), as well as in outreach locations in the Lower Mainland.

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