Host of authors present at Jewish Literary Festival

A packed crowd at the Jewish Literary Festival on Sunday June 17.

The Jewish Literary Festival (JLF) put on its second event in two years on Sunday June 17.

Despite coinciding with Father’s Day, this year’s event, like the last one, sold out days before with approximately 650 visitors registered.

Among the writers on the bill was Rahla Xenopoulos, whose latest book, The Season of Glass is pitted to become the great South African Jewish novel and journalist Gus Silber, whose session: Funny you should mention that, explored the Jewish thread in South African humour and had the audience in fits of laughter as they journeyed through the shticks of South African comedians from Pip Freedman to Nik Rabinowitz.

Stephanie Urdang, Lyndall Gordon, Steven Boykey Sidley, Gail Schimmel and MJ Honikman were among the South African Jewish writers who presented at the festival.

By the end of the day, more than 72 sessions had taken place in the festival’s nine venues. At least 1 100 cups of coffee were consumed between sessions and many positive superlatives used to describe the day which was efficiently run by more than 25 staff and 20 volunteers.

A pop-up Book Lounge, run by the Roeland Street shop’s owner, Mervyn Sloman, attracted those wanting to increase their library and by 6pm, a tired but inspired audience left the Gardens community centre in the driving rain, which held off until the final hour.

The co-director of JLF, Joanne Jowell, said: “The JLF’s reach has been extraordinary and has attracted a more diverse audience. Due to the help of mainstream media mentions, Jewish communal notices, FMR radio and hundreds of Facebook posts and Tweets, our numbers grew and we were proud to host a world-class event with top-draw presenters.”