Jewish Book Festival


Wednesday, May 12 |  6:30pm

COLUM McCANN / Apeirogon

“a shape with a countably infinite number of sides.”


In conversation with GARY BARWIN, author of Yiddish for Pirates (finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize)  and Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted -the Ballad of Motl the Cowboy

Tickets:  $18 (taxes and fees included) – Register here 
Purchase the book here

Colum McCann’s most ambitious work to date, Apeirogon—a “beautifully observed masterpiece” —is a tour de force concerning friendship, love, loss, and belonging.
Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, and Rami Elhanan, an Israeli, come together after each has lost a daughter, one to suicide bombers and the other to Israeli police. Parents from both sides of the conflict whose loved ones have died gather in a parents’ circle to tell their stories, to heal and to ensure that their unimaginable losses are never forgotten. Bassam and Rami recognize the loss that connects them and attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace.
Deploying myriad seemingly unrelated historical, cultural and biographical snapshots, this highly original and inventive novel reframes the never-ending Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Based on the true-life friendship of the two fathers, McCann crafts Apeirogon out of a universe of fictional and nonfictional material. He crosses centuries and continents, stitching together time, art, history, nature, and politics in a tale both heartbreaking and hopeful. Musical, cinematic, muscular, delicate, and soaring, Apeirogon is a novel for our time.



Thursday, April 29, 5:30pm

S.M. FREEDMAN – The Day She Died
In conversation with Sam Wiebe; with musical guest Stacey Joy

Published by Dundurn Press

FREE – Register here

After a traumatic head injury, Eve questions every memory and motive in this mind-bending psychological thriller. Eve Gold’s birthdays are killers, and her twenty-seventh proves to be no different. But for the up-and-coming Vancouver artist, facing death isn’t the real shock — it’s what comes after. Recovering from a near-fatal accident, Eve is determined to return to the life she’s always wanted: a successful artistic career, marriage to the man who once broke her heart, and another chance at motherhood. But brain damage leaves her forgetful, confused, and tortured by repressed memories of a deeply troubled childhood, where her innocence was stolen one lie — and one suspicious death — at a time.

As the dark, twisted pages unfold, Eve must choose between clinging to the lies that helped her survive her childhood and unearthing the secrets she buried long ago.

S.M. Freedman is the author of The Faithful and Impact Winter. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and spent years as a private investigator on the not-so-mean streets of Vancouver, before returning to her first love: writing.

In partnership with the JCC National Literary Consortium

Zoom Author Talks and Q & A


PAM JENOFF, The Woman with the Blue Star
Thu. May 6, 2021 at 5:00pm PDT
Ticket: US $6;  Book + ticket (incl. shipping):  US $ 25  Register here

Former diplomat and Cambridge-educated historian Pam Jenoff has become a mainstay at the top of historical fiction lists. Her deep research and emotional storytelling have made her a favorite of readers and critics alike.

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents amidst the horrors of the Krakow Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous sewers beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. Scorned by her friends and longing for her fiancé who has gone off to war, Ella wanders Krakow restlessly. She begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. As with all her books, Jenoff took a small, little-known nugget from history and created a gripping and powerful story of survival against unimaginable odds. Inspired by the harrowing true stories of people who hid in the sewers beneath the streets of Europe in order to escape the Nazis, Jenoff blends vivid historical detail with a riveting and emotional story, shedding new light on this dark time in history.

PAM JENOFF is the author of several books of historical fiction, including many the bestsellers, She holds a degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a degree in history from Cambridge.

JUDY BATALION, The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos
Mon. May 10, 2021 at 5:00pm PDT
In Conversation with Dr. Catherine M. Lewis, Exec. Director, Museum of History and Holocaust Education and Professor of History, Kennesaw State University
Free event  OR Ticket + Book (incl. shipping):  USD $36  Register here

One of the most extraordinary stories of World War II and the Holocaust has remained hidden until now: the daring resistance efforts of Jewish women in the ghettos of the Nazi occupation., Judy Batalion shares the acts of defiance and rebellion of women who saw and acknowledged the truth of their time, worked together, and risked their lives in the fight for justice and liberty. The Light of Days is a meticulously researched and grippingly told David-and-Goliath history that sheds light on the invaluable role these unsung heroines played in fighting against and surviving Hitler’s Final Solution.

The Light of Days has been optioned by Steven Spielberg for a major motion picture. A gripping, poignant tale of extraordinary female agency, The Light of Days reminds us of the importance of recognizing the control we have over our own selves even during the darkest times.

JUDY BATALION is the author of White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood and the Mess in Between. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Forward, Vogue, and many other publications.

Wed. May 19, 2021 at 5:00pm PDT
Ticket: US $11;  Book + ticket (incl. shipping):  US $36 Register here

ANTITRUST is important, urgently needed book from the much-admired senior senator from Minnesota, and former candidate for president of the United States–a fascinating exploration of antitrust in America and the way forward to protect all Americans from the dangers of curtailed competition, and from vast information gathering, through monopolies.

As the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar is at work on, among others, issues raised by giant tech companies, such as Facebook, Google (it reportedly controls 90 percent of the search engine market), and Amazon, and puts forth her plans, ideas, and legislative proposals designed to strengthen the antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement.

AMY KLOBUCHAR is the senior senator from Minnesota, the first woman from that state to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

About the JCC Jewish Book Festival

The Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival is one of Vancouver’s leading cultural and literary events, attracting a large and varied audience of over 5,000 people of all ages. This highly popular community-wide event brings together prominent and emerging Jewish writers and non-Jewish writers on Jewish subject matter.

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