Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sarah Reports from AWP

AWP was a complete whirlwind. We danced, laughed, attended panels, and met some amazing writers. On Thursday I checked out a panel about Jewish American Fiction. I won’t lie, the title drew me in: “Beyond Bagels and Lox.” You just can’t get more Jewish than that.

Writers Erika Dreifus, Andrew Furman, Kevin Haworth, Margot Singer, Anna Solomon discussed the challenges, freedoms, and trends in Jewish American fiction. The scene for Jewish writers is rapidly evolving from the earlier literature of assimilation. New books in the genre explore Jewish experiences from before the Holocaust, both in America and beyond it. They challenge mainstream readers to do the work to understand the vast Jewish experience and culture. Kevin Haworth described graffiti in Israel that he says describes the essence of new Jewish fiction in America. Written on a wall were the words, “Am Yisrael Chai” (The People of Israel Are Alive) and below it, a new tag read, “No shit.”

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