About The Festival

Artistic Director’s Message


This year, after two challenging years of pandemic constraints during which literature was often eulogized, I am thrilled to loudly proclaim that literature is returning to center stage and is more interesting, inspiring, and subversive than ever.

These are the tenth-anniversary celebrations of the International Writers Festival in collaboration with the International Book Forum and, accordingly, we are once again holding a literature festival that features an abundance of events. We will celebrate ten years of activity that has established the Writers Festival as one of the most prominent and important literary events in Israel and around the world and one that has attracted the most outstanding local and international writers and garnered a loyal and supportive audience.

This is also my first year as the artistic director of the Writers Festival, with which I was familiar only as an author and guest until now. I now have the privilege of taking it to new places and holding an exhilarating festival that our regular audience will find refreshing and stimulating. Moreover, it will attract new audiences and expand our thinking about Hebrew and world literature.

In light of this approach, the Writers Festival will include several innovations. Alongside festive events with well-known and beloved writers such as Meir Shalev and Yochi Brandes and a special tribute to A. B. Yehoshua, this year the festival will host six debut authors, representatives of the thrilling present and the promising future of Hebrew literature. For you, our audience, this is a golden opportunity to purchase a ticket to the unfamiliar and fill the halls with curiosity and true love of books.

In terms of our international guests, this year it is our great honor to host two Nobel Prize laureates, Olga Tokarczuk (Poland) and Peter Handke (Austria), who received the prize in 2018 and 2019, respectively. This is the first time in the history of the Jerusalem International Writers Festival that we are hosting Nobel laureates. In addition to being two of the greatest writers of European literature of their generation, Tokarczuk and Handke are also controversial figures whose politics are intertwined with their public personas and their writing. Alongside them, we will also host Swiss-German author Christian Kracht, one of the most prominent and controversial authors of contemporary German literature today, whose book Faserland is considered a key work of the wave of German pop literature of the 1990s; Sicilian author Giovanna Giordano, candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature; Jewish-American author Joshua Cohen, who will discuss his scandalous novel The Netanyahus; French author Hervé Le Tellier, winner of the 2020 Prix Goncourt and author of the international bestseller The Anomaly (2020), and many others. In addition to fascinating in-person encounters, we will offer exciting digital events, including a conversation between historian Yuval Noah Harari and Australian philosopher Peter Singer, author of the foundational book Animal Liberation: A New Ethics for Our Treatment of Animals, a discussion with American author Jonathan Franzen, who will speak about his new book, Crossroads, on the occasion of its publication in Hebrew, and yes, an event that features British author Julian Barnes, winner of the 2021 Jerusalem Prize.

In line with our desire to expand our understanding of contemporary literature, you will also find at this year’s Writers Festival a significant presence of the graphic novel, a literary genre that has become increasingly popular in recent years. In this framework, we will host Rutu Modan, one of the most popular and beloved comics creators in Israel and around the world, bring Tamar Blumenfeld and Noa Katz together for a joint conversation, and hold a fanzine workshop for the general public.

This year, we will also launch a new initiative under the artistic direction of director Ronnie Brodetzky. Literary events that aim to capture the spirit of our time in literature and culture will be held every evening at Yael Garden. We will present fresh voices from the world of literature, poetry, music, and comics—familiar and less familiar voices that have not yet reached the forefront of their field and perhaps never will. Come hear the most electrifying rappers in Israel read their poems, listen to poets who have emerged from social media, and attend a writing workshop on libido and sexuality.

Come celebrate excellent, life-changing, immortal literature with us!

Julia Fermentto-Tzaisler




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