Art meets Gleitzman – The Australian Jewish News


Celebrating literature, stories and ideas, this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival theme, Change My Mind, is one that resonates with Jewish author Morris Gleitzman.

“After two years of literary conversations that for me mostly involved talking to myself in the bathroom, I can’t wait to be part of a mutually disturbing physical community again,” Gleitzman said. The AJN.

“I think changing minds is a perfect theme for this festival of freedom, or at least parole. One of the dangers of months at home is the temptation to not change enough underwear, and I’m afraid our minds have been at risk as well.

Gleitzman will be in conversation with ABC Radio The library presenter Kate Evans, talking about her Once series.

For decades, Gleitzman was one of Australia’s most beloved authors, with generations of young readers growing up engrossed in his stories, from Talkative mouth for sticky beakto his work with Paul Jennings.

Then he introduced the world to Felix, and for the past 15 years this brave and kind boy shared his life as a Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Poland. While a children’s novel set around the Holocaust drew parental criticism, Gleitzman said that quickly dissipated.

“The ability of young readers is to embrace a story on all levels, to connect on a very deep emotional level with the characters and their journeys, and for that deep emotional connection to be in no way a traumatic, negative or damaging.”, he said when discussing the fourth book in the series, Soon.

“Because it actually sparked conversations and thoughts… That to me is absolutely what the stories are about.”

Now he discusses Stillthe last volume in the series.

“It’s complex, finishing 15 years of working with a particular character, but it’s not really a goodbye. You can’t write seven books about a character’s life, especially their inner life, without developing a friendship as palpable and real as any lasting friendship,” Gleitzman admitted when asked to share his thoughts. thoughts on farewell.

“Although I don’t plan to write with Felix anymore, I hope to have many more conversations about him with readers. I have already discovered that a conversation about Felix is ​​also a conversation with him.

He even teased a possible story about Felix’s daughter in the future.

During the festival, which runs May 16-22, Gleitzman will also speak with acclaimed and highly influential artist and graphic novelist, Art Spiegelman.

Art Spiegelmann

Spiegelman has been in the news lately, in large part because of the Tennessee School Board’s decision to withdraw his iconic Holocaust novel. Mauswhich won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize, for the program.

Spiegelman will appear via video link, reflecting on his career. It’s a defining moment for Gleitzman who said he’s always admired Spiegelman’s comix work.

“For him to use this part of his own story as a means of investigating his family’s history was breathtakingly original, and to win as he did was an incredible and wonderful thing.” , Gleitzman said.

“Reading it helped me understand, as a beginning writer, how the emotional power of a story requires certain things not to be said, to leave spaces instead, for readers to step into and establish. emotional connections themselves. Maus demonstrates that this is a visual as well as textual truth. I’m not sure I would have been up for getting into the Once series if I hadn’t read Maus all those years ago.

Other notable Jewish voices appearing at the Sydney Writers Festival include Linda Jaivin, Damon Galgut, who received the prestigious Booker Prize last year for his novel, The promiseand Steve Tolz.

For the full Sydney Writers Festival program and tickets: swf.org.au

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