Authors from Britain, Israel, and Chile included in this year's Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival lineup

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      One of the joys of attending local literary festivals is the opportunity to meet authors in person and getting them to sign their books.

      That won't be possible at this year's virtual Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival, due to the pandemic.

      But because the events are being livestreamed, it's enabled festival director Dana Camill Hewitt to attract authors from several continents.

      Here are five of the international authors scheduled to speak.

      Eshkol Nevo (February 20)

      The festival will open with best-selling Israeli author Eshkol Nevo, whose newest novel, The Last Interview, reads like a structured interview but, according to Jewish Book Council reviewer Ranen Omer-Sherman, “rapidly evolves into a disquieting examination of the protagonist’s soul as one disturbing revelation leads to the next”. Moderated by the Globe and Mail’s Marsha Lederman.

      Geoff Barton/The Strad

      Norman Lebrecht (February 21)

      British historian Norman Lebrecht, author of Genius and Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947, describes how Jewish visionaries such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, and Albert Einstein left an indelible mark. Moderated by musicologist Richard Kurth.

      Carla Guelfenbein (February 21)

      Chilean novelist Carla Guelfenbein’s newest book, In the Distance With You, revolves around an 80-year-old ascetic woman’s impact on those around her, taking readers through Chile’s history from the 1950s to the present day. Moderated by festival director Dana Camil Hewitt.

      Talia Carner (February 23)

      Israeli-born and U.S.-based Talia Carner's historical novel, The Third Daughter, depicts how young girls were lured from Eastern Europe into brothels in South America after being falsely promised that they would find jobs and get married. This was orchestrated by the Polish Jewish organized crime group, Zwi Migdal, which was active from the late 19th century until the start of the Second World War.

      Willy Somma

      Anna Solomon (February 24)

      Brooklyn-based Anna Solomon's novel, The Book of V, brings together the Biblical story of Esther and Vashti with the lives of two characters—a woman in her 40s living in Brooklyn and a young senator's wife living in Washington in the 1970s. She will speak the day before Purim, which celebrates how the Jewish people were saved from a Persian Empire official who wanted to kill them. This story is told in the Book of Esther. Moderated by fiction and children's writer and poet Rhea Tregebov.

      The Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival runs from Saturday (February 20) to Wednesday (February 24), with the closing event featuring Tovah Feldshuh taking place on April 15. For more information, visit the website.