The festival hosts writers from around the globe whose books have been translated into Hebrew along with Israel’s best-selling authors and new, contemporary voices in Israeli literature.

4th International Writers Festival in Jerusalem


Copyright: Noam Chen

Mishkenot Sha’ananim’s International Writers Festival is the foremost literary event in Israel and takes place every two years in the picturesque compound that faces the Old City of Jerusalem. The festival hosts writers from around the globe whose books have been translated into Hebrew along with Israel’s best-selling authors and new, contemporary voices in Israeli literature.

The festival’s rich program includes meetings with writers, readings, creative writing workshops, writing marathon events, musical performances, theatrical readings, and master classes,  among other activities.

The festival’s international guests include:

1.    Nicole Krauss, US: The History of Love, Man Walks into a Room, Great House
2.    Maria Kodama, Argentina: widow of Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges
3.    Ayelet Waldman, US: Daughter’s Keeper, Bad Mother
4.    Name Le, Vietnam and Australia: The Boat
5.    Ruby Namdar, US: The Ruined House
6.    Jo Nesbø, Norway: The Redbreast, Nemesis, The Devil’s Star, The Redeemer
7.    Jake Wallis Simons, UK: The English German Girl
8.    Jan-Philipp Sendker, Germany: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, A Well-Tempered Heart
9.    David Foenkinos, France: Delicacy, Les Souvenirs
10.    Alex Capus, Switzerland: A Matter of Time, Léon and Louise
11.    Laura Restrepo, Colombia: Delirium
12.    Marilynne Robinson, US: Housekeeping, Gilead, Home
The Israeli authors participating in the festival include: Shimon Adaf, Leah Aini, Nir Baram, Haim Be’er, Oudah Basharat, Sarah Blau, Emuna Elon, Assaf Gavron, David Grossman, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Esti G. Haim, Gail Hareven, Matan Hermoni, Assaf Inbari, Miron C. Izakson, Sayed Kashua, Judith Katzir, Etgar Keret, Lihi Lapid, Ronit Matalon, Dror Mishani, Eshkol Nevo, Gabi Nitzan, Amos Oz, Dorit Rabinyan, Yishai Sarid, Nava Semel, Meir Shalev, Yossi Sucary, Noa Yedlin, and A. B. Yehoshua, among others.

This year, the festival will place a special emphasis on the affinity between writing prose and screenplays as well as adapting literature to film, one of the most significant activities in the field of literature today. The writer Etgar Keret, will host screenwriter Michael Konyves (US), who has worked with Keret, among others. Keret also will participate in the festival’s closing event: a musical Kabbalat Shabbat service with musician Shlomi Shaban.

Also at the festival:

•    A special “night birds” program with Nir Baram and Sarah Blau. The two will host musicians, authors, and intellectuals.
•    Eshkol Nevo will lead a large creative writing event as well as moderate a creative beit midrash-style encounter to analyze his new book and the issues that gave rise to it.
•    Nicole Krauss will meet with choreographer Ohad Naharin to discuss the relationship between writing and choreography. The meeting will be accompanied by an open Gaga workshop.

A new Israeli illustration project also will be unveiled at the festival. Leading illustrators will present new illustrated interpretations of the existing covers of books by each of the visiting writers from abroad. The illustrations will be displayed in the gallery at Mishkenot Sha’ananim as well as on a series of postcards. The curator of the project is Yuval Saar.

In addition, a special tribute to the late Yehuda Amichai, who would have celebrated his ninetieth birthday this year. Amichai was an Israeli Prize laureate, long-time resident of Jerusalem, poet, translator, playwright, and novelist who lived in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood next to Mishkenot Sha’ananim. The salute will include a musical performance by a variety of intellectuals and artists, featuring poems by Amichai that have been set to music. The salute to Amichai will also include events for the entire family, such as a kite workshop and tours of Amichai’s Jerusalem.

The festival events will take place in a huge tent on the Mishkenot Sha’ananim roof, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem; the event halls of Mishkenot Sha’ananim; the Jerusalem Cinematheque; and the nearby Confederation House as well as other sites. A special bookstore also will operate during the festival and will carry all of the books by writers who are festival guests. The authors will be available to sign books at the end of each session.

Mishkenot Sha’ananim was established by the Jerusalem Foundation in 1973 and is an international cultural center that includes a guesthouse especially for artists and writers. It has a pluralistic, multidisciplinary outlook and strives to advance Jerusalem by cultivating dialogue and tolerance.