Jewish Book Festival day 4



Opening   |   Su Nov 27   |   Mo Nov 28   |  Tu Nov 29   |  We Nov 30  |   Th Dec 1   |   Su Feb 5

We Nov 30   6:30-7:30pm  
HELEN MINTZ (translator) / Vilna My Vilna, with STEPHEN ABERLE

or phone 604-257-5111


Drawing on the Yiddish tradition of declamatsie or recitation, Stephen Aberle and Helen Mintz will dramatize excerpts from Abraham Karpinowitz’s stories, bringing to life the destroyed world of Jewish Vilna and its compelling, idiosyncratic characters. This bilingual presentation (no Yiddish required for full comprehension and enjoyment) will be interspersed with a lively conversation about Helen’s experience bringing Karpinowitz into English.

Vilna My Vilna: Stories by Abraham Karpinowitz, Translated from Yiddish by HELEN MINTZ
Winner of the J.I. Segal 2016 Translation Award for a Book on a Jewish Theme
Winner of 2016 Canadian Jewish Literary Awards for Yiddish

“Criminals, dreamers and performers . . . make their way through Karpinowitz’s pages in pungent, unforgettable characterizations; and their fates imbue every page with a sentiment that is all the more powerful by it being earned through careful literary technique and scene craft. The read is smooth, except when it should be rough; it preserves local flavor.” —Jeremy Dauber, Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture, Columbia University

Yiddish writer Abraham Karpinowitz portrays the dreams and struggles of poor, disenfranchised Jews from his native city of Vilna (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania) during the period immediately before the Holocaust. Mintz deftly preserves Karpinowitz’s colorful, often idiomatic Yiddish, capturing his unique voice and bringing this destroyed world to English-language readers.

Abraham Karpinowitz (1913–2004) was born in Vilna, survived the Holocaust and eventually moved to Israel, where he lived until his death. He wrote 7 books of short stories, two biographies, and a play.

Helen Mintz shares the complexity of the Ashkenazi past and renegotiates contemporary Canadian Jewish identity through translation from Yiddish into English and her own writing and performance. She has created four one-woman plays about Jewish women’s experience, which she performed in Canada, the US, Germany, and Lithuania.

Stephen Aberle graduated from Studio 58 and has worked in theatre, film, radio, TV and opera for thirty-odd years. Recent credits include Snapshots (Presentation House), Fiddler On The Roof (TUTS, Chemainus, Western Canada Theatre), Der Kaiser von Atlantis (City Opera Vancouver), Shiksa (Chutzpah! Festival) and TV appearances on The Guard, The L-Word and Supernatural.

We Nov 30   8:00-9:30pm  
GARY BARWIN / Yiddish for Pirates
Moderator: FAITH JONES 

or phone 604-257-5111


Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize as well as the Governor General’s Literary Awards

A dazzling debut novel for the New Face of Fiction’s 20th Anniversary Year.  

“Gary Barwin is a gifted writer and a whiz-bang storyteller. Both are on vivid display in his hilarious tragicomic epic, Yiddish for Pirates. Narrated by a five-hundred-year-ol’ wisecracking parrot, naturally, this swashbuckling tale had me hanging on for dear life. A wild and wonderful ride.” -Terry Fallis, author

This outstanding novel is filled with Jewish takes on classic pirate tales - fights, prison escapes, and exploits on the high seas - but it’s also a love story, between Moishe and Sarah, and between Aaron and his “shoulder,” Moishe. Rich with puns, colourful language, satire and Kabbalistic hijinks, Yiddish for Pirates is also a compelling examination of mortality, memory, identity and persecution from one of this country’s most talented writers.

Gary Barwin is a writer, multimedia artist, and the author of 20 books of poetry, fiction and books for children. A PhD in music composition, Barwin has been Writer-in-Residence at Western University and has taught creative writing at several colleges and universities. Born in Northern Ireland to South African parents of Ashkenazi descent, Barwin moved to Canada as a child. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

“A tragicomic tour de force.” — BBC Culture “10 Books to Read in 2016”

As hilarious as it is moving, as philosophical as it is violent, with echoes of Inglourious Basterds and Seven Samurai, The Yid is a tragicomic masterpiece of alternative historical fiction.

Moscow, February 1953. A week before Stalin’s death, rumors of “The Doctors’ Plot” and blood libel are rampant, and his final pogrom is in full swing. Three government goons arrive in the middle of the night to arrest Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, an actor from the defunct State Jewish Theater. But although an old man, his shocking response to the intruders sets in motion a series of events both zany and deadly as he assembles a ragtag group to help him enact a mad-brilliant plot: the assassination of a tyrant.

Paul Goldberg first heard a Moscow version of the myth about Jews using blood for religious rituals when he was ten, in 1969. By the time he immigrated to the United States in 1973, he had collected the Moscow stories that underpin The Yid. The editor and publisher of The Cancer Letter, a publication focused on the business and politics of cancer, Goldberg has written two non-fiction books. The Yid is his first novel.