Cherie Smith JCCGV Jewish Book Festival gets set to launch

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      Once it’s opened on Saturday (November 23) with a gala featuring acclaimed Toronto author Sheila Heti, this year’s Cherie Smith JCCGV Jewish Book Festival will roll out a high-tempo six-day program to suit all tastes, running through to next Thursday (November 28). Guest authors range from Vancouver’s own Roberta Rich, with her bestselling historical novel The Harem Midwife, to New York Times correspondent John Schwartz and his forthright, humour-filled memoir of a teenage son who struggled with his own sexuality.

      If you’re looking to become a writer yourself, there’s a series of workshops on Sunday (November 24), including one with award-winning novelist and screenwriter Karen X. Tulchinsky on how to get started in the first place. There’s also a Monday (November 25) screening of The Gatekeepers, a riveting new documentary about Israel’s secretive Shin Bet internal-security service, to be followed by a panel discussion with director Dror Moreh, and with a former head of Shin Bet itself, Carmi Gillon.

      And there’s plenty more before it all wraps up with an evening of comedy and—yes!—distilled beverages, presided over by standup comedian Marion Grodin (daughter of Charles) and Ilana Edelstein, author of the book The Patrón Way, about the rise of the famous high-end tequila. It all takes place at the Jewish Community Centre (950 West 41st Avenue). Go to the Jewish Book Festival website for the complete picture.