Talking Jewishness with the Author Howard Jacobson


Interviewing the man said to be ‘one of our funniest living writers’ I had high expectations. Howard Jacobson met them. Witty, charming and modest, the Mancunian Jewish writer was down to earth and up for a laugh. The best guests are always the ones who don’t take themselves too seriously – even better are ones who can chuckle at themselves. The Man Booker 2010 winner has always been a bit ‘shushed’ for saying what one really shouldn’t say about Jewishness….among the topics we touched on was Jewish self hatred and anti Zionist Jews. It’s a risky business (one that’s making me reread every word of this blog let me tell you.) What are we (and I mean non-Jewish and Jewish here) so scared of? We can talk about practically everything else openly – why not this? The US has a huge culture of ‘The Jewish Novelist’ (Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Michael Chabon to name a few) – the UK has been keeping quiet for a long time and even the well known Jewish writers don’t mention Jewishness in their work. Finally someone who says it like it is. What a relief.


One thing my mother taught me…. don’t answer questions without discussing them with me first.

For me Paris is….romance. I fell in love here when I was 13. The girl didn’t know.

My first thought when I wake up….it would be nice to go back to sleep.

If I wasn’t a writer I would be….a writer. Nothing else.

My motto for life is …..“The point of life is life.” Gothe

My main vice is….talking.

On my gravestone they will write….he talked too much.




Howard Jacobson was in Paris as his acclaimed The Finkler Question is translated into French. Watch the full interview here….




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