Last night I returned from an exhilarating several days in Washington, where I attended the annual conference of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and visited the National Museum of American Jewish Military History for a reading from Quiet Americans. I have so much to share with you about this trip, but for the moment, I want to focus on last Thursday’s conference panel: “Beyond Bagels & Lox: Jewish-American Fiction in the 21st Century,” which was listed in the conference program as follows:
Beyond Bagels and Lox: Jewish-American Fiction in the 21st Century. (Erika Dreifus, Andrew Furman, Kevin Haworth, Margot Singer, Anna Solomon) Jewish-American fiction has long been seen as a literature of emigration from the shtetl, assimilationist angst, and overprotective parents. But what’s nu? How do Americans born decades after the Holocaust and the birth of the State of Israel deal with those complex subjects in fiction? Who are the new Jewish immigrant characters? How does American Jewry’s more than 350-year history inspire plot/setting? And how are writers today influenced by Judaism’s rich multilingual and spiritual legacy?
We were assigned a fairly large meeting room, and we were delighted to see that the room was packed. In fact, we ran out of the handouts we’d brought with us, so I promised to post the handout online. Please click here for the PDF. As noted on the handout, our reading list is utterly incomplete–as would be any single-page, double-sided document of this sort. But we think that the handout can be useful nonetheless.
A round of thanks to my amazing co-panelists, and to our interested and engaged audience.