Jewish Literary Links

an open book (with Hebrew pages visible); subtitle reads "Jewish Literary Links"
Image by Yedidia Klein from Pixabay

Toward the end of each week, the My Machberet blog presents a collection of links, drawn primarily from the world of Jewish books and writing.

Friends, a prefatory note: It’s another week when there’s a lot to share regarding antisemitism in literary spaces. I wish that this weren’t so. It’s overwhelming, frankly—and I’m just sharing what’s public. You have no idea how much of my time has been devoted to this subject outside public view.

I want to start off, however, with some more celebratory and “routine” news.

  • The annual Edward Lewis Wallant Award Ceremony was scheduled for this past Monday evening (I assume it went off as scheduled! I haven’t yet seen photos/recordings.) This year’s winner: Elizabeth Graver for Kantika. The Wallant Award “is one of the oldest and most prestigious Jewish literary awards in the United States. The annual award recognizes a Jewish writer, preferably unrecognized, whose published work of fiction is deemed to have significance for American Jews.”
  • Wednesday brought the announcement of the 2024 winner of the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature: Oren Kessler for Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict.
  • Also of note this week: the latest Jewish Book Carnival, hosted for April by Marie Cloutier, and a new, pre-Passover issue of

Moving on:

  • A dispatch from the data: Maxim D. Shrayer has dived deeply into the responses to a recent survey; his latest article for Tablet, “The Silencing of the Jewish Poet,” reveals, in detail, poets’ experiences of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish bias in literary spaces.
  • “My life and career would be a lot easier if I just announced that #AsAJew, I denounce Zionism, and that I have a manuscript telling the story of how I cannot support the apartheid, settler-colonial, white European project in ‘Palestine.’ Phone calls would be returned, emails would be read, and literary agents would compete in bidding wars to see who could give me the biggest advance. Unfortunately, for my writing career and reputation, I don’t believe any of these things.” So begins Howard Lovy’s latest essay/op-ed.
  • You’ll find me quoted in Cathryn Prince’s Times of Israel article about the experiences of Jewish writers in the post-October 7 literary world.
  • “L’Affaire Guernica,” as I’ve called it elsewhere, was part of the focus in my recent conversation with Bonjour Chai‘s Phoebe Maltz Bovy and Avi Finegold. (And there’s already been a follow-up article by the former for Canadian Jewish News, accounting for still more developments in l’Affaire itself.)
  • I’ve written before about the virulent campaigning against PEN America, too. This week, those efforts continued and expanded. They are, in a word, disgusting. I don’t want to drive traffic to the site that most frequently and comprehensively “reports” on them. But at the moment, I have no choice. Go take a look. And then, if you are able, speak out against the absolute lies and calumnies within and do what you can to help PEN America withstand these relentless, ill-founded, and (yes), antisemitic attacks. (I don’t care that there are Jewish signatories among the activists. They, too, are trafficking in antisemitic language and tropes here, too, not to mention the erasure of massive suffering [preponderantly, though not exclusively, Jewish] in Israel.)
  • (Added this one after I already scheduled the post for publishing.) This is a postscript to the previous bullet point. Buried within the article I linked to just above (the one I didn’t want to have to link to) is this nugget: “A representative from the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses [CLMP] also confirmed to Lit Hub that the organization will no longer be co-presenting the Indie Lit Fair at this year’s festival.” If you have ever sent work to, published with, read, and/or subscribed to literary journals or presses, the journals/presses you’ve supported may well be members of CLMP. It’s an important literary organization. If we are to infer that they, too, are protesting PEN on the grounds covered in the article—if they, too, are effectively boycotting PEN—they need to explain themselves. My feeling is that this accountability should be sought by the organization’s membership. I’ve already begun encouraging such action privately myself. Check if you have any connections to the membership and consider doing the same.

Need some uplift after all of that grimness? I don’t blame you.

May I suggest this recording of last Sunday’s Literary Modiin Israel Solidarity event?

And then, whether you’re a reader or a writer (of course, if you’re a writer, you are also a reader), please consider responding to this survey. It was circulated in a post-event email to the event’s registrants. It’s brief, and it will help clarify what sorts of resources may be most helpful for those engaged in the world of Jewish books and writing at this time.

Shabbat shalom. And since I’m unlikely to post on My Machberet again before Passover, chag Pesach sameach!

Reminder: I continue to update the “After October 7: Readings, Recordings, and More”  document-in-progress. Check also cautionary information (also in-progress), compiled under the title “Writers, Beware.”

an open book (with Hebrew pages visible); subtitle reads "Jewish Literary Links"

2 thoughts on “Jewish Literary Links

  1. Julie Rosenzweig says:

    Hi Erika, I thought you might like to know that the Deronda Review website has a section for poems in support of Israel, post-Oct. 7th. It has been recently updated. Here is the link:

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      Thanks very much, Julie.

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