Ok, getting there. We are still waiting for a couple of chairs to be confirmed and for Eve Ensler to come back from Congo to approve the blurb about her session at JBW. She does a fantastic job there and has raised huge amounts of money to help women rebuild their lives, countless numbers of them having been victims of rape. You can read her cry for an end to the violence on the Huffington Post. Here is a horrible conflict we hardly hear about in the news. I went to a fabulous event with Sandi Toksvig at the Women’s Library this week and she sang Eve Ensler’s praises.
We had a bit of a scare when we were told the new book about Anne Frank we are going to launch at JBW 11, Treasures from the Attic, might not be ready in time, but apparently it’s all under control. It’s a book prompted by the discovery of letters, documents and photographs of Anne and her family including letters from her, her father’s letters from Auschwitz and his poignant descriptions of searching for his family after the war and his finding the diaries. The author is Mirjam Pressler, editor of the definitive edition of the Diary and she will come to London with Buddy Elias, Anne’s last surviving relative, a former ice dancer and actor, apparently most engaging and charming. We will also have readings of the short stories written by Anne. I am sure this will be a wonderful and moving session, one on a par with the Nemirovsky talk last year.
We have also chosen Anne Frank’s Diary for our translam. This is a fascinating exercise for anyone who wants to understand better how translation works. Two translators are given the same text to translate and come to present and discuss their offerings. The first translam I went to was from a French text, with a mix of descriptions and dialogues, so several registers in one page. The two translators only had a 3 word sentence in common, all the rest was different! Whether you know or not the original language does not matter at all but one thing for sure, you will have a much clearer perception of the challenges translators have to meet.
We should approve the design for the flyer tomorrow. I personally think it’s great and quite different from our past ones. We had the usual discussion though with our designers who wanted to put a photo of one of speakers in a rather prominent place. It was a lovely photo indeed, very inviting and welcoming but we decided not to. This was someone quite famous but who is chairing a session and I felt we would be using her image at our own advantage. Plus imagine if she had to cancel at the last minute! Or even worse, imagine the disgruntled reactions of at least 50 other speakers saying why her and not me? Hard not to offend but we try our best.
I have accepted an invitation to attend PalFest 2011. Not being a writer myself, I will simply go as paying guest but it will be quite an experience. PalFest, the Palestine Book festival, contrary to regular festivals, travels around to counterbalance the difficulties the audience would have travelling to a single venue in the West Bank. I’m sure it will be tough at times but that I will learn a lot. But this is not until April! Before that I’m really happy that both PalFest and JBW are associated to an event at the South Bank Centre on the 22 February with Izzeldin Abuelaish, the peace-loving doctor from Gaza whose three daughters were tragically killed during Operation Cast Lead. More info to come soon.
Closer to us now, it’s almost Chanukkah and we are preparing to give you a book everyday to celebrate! But to be part of the fun, you’ll have to follow us on Twitter (we only have a shameful 250 followers!) or on our Facebook page and have an address in the UK. Beyond the freebees, Twitter and Facebook are the best way to catch up on the latest news, offers and be part of the JBW community. And do tell your friends too.