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Episode 153 – Jewish Books, Jewish Authors

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In a special two-part episode, Lynne Golodner interviews people who curate and promote Jewish books and Jewish authors. The first part features representatives from America’s longest-running Jewish Book Fair — Lauren Johnson, a librarian and consultant at the J-Detroit, and Brenda Brook, the 2023 chair of the Detroit Jewish Book Fair. The second part is a conversation with Naomi Firestone-Teeter, executive director of the Jewish Book Council. Learn why Detroit is a hub for Jewish literature, and consider the role of Jewish books in shaping identity of and for diverse audiences.

In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, host Lynne Golodner interviews Brenda, Lauren, and Naomi about the legacy of Jewish book fairs and trends in the Jewish book world, including an increase in Holocaust-related writings and the growth of children’s publishing. They also touch on the responsibility of Jewish authors in representing the community and how virtual events are attracting a global audience.

In this episode, Lynne, Lauren, Brenda and Naomi discuss: 

  • The long history of the Detroit Jewish Book Fair
  • Being the “People of the Book
  • Gentile authors writing for a Jewish audience
  • Criteria for selecting books for the book fair
  • Communicating Jewish identity to global audiences
  • Jewish book fairs compared to other book events
  • The importance of featuring authors who are not bestsellers
  • The value of community engagement
  • Growth and diversity in Jewish children’s literature
  • Personal journeys and passions for Jewish culture
  • Changing conversations in the Jewish book world
  • Trends in graphic narratives and genre fiction
  • Intergenerational growth in the Jewish genre
  • Fascination with the Orthodox community in Jewish literature
  • Jewish books inspire conversations about identity and culture
  • How books reflect the multifaceted Jewish experience and promote diversity
  • Portraying Jews responsibly
  • Jewish Book Month
  • Accessibility and opportunities for smaller communities
  • The JBC’s writers’ conference

Links and Resources: 

If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll like these other Make Meaning Podcast episodes:

Episode 148 – Woman of Valor – Katie Scott interviews Lynne about her debut novel

Episode 146 – Barbara Stark-Nemon – Tracing the Path of Historical Fiction

Episode 130 – Merle Saferstein – Journaling & Legacy

Episode 123 – Karen Gordon – On Surviving the Surviving

Episode 39 – Rabbis Who Rock