EVENTS: Olga Tokarczuk's "The Books of Jacob:" Lecture and Book Discussion (April 10 and 15)

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Announcing two events--a scholarly lecture and a worldwide discussion--in honor of the new English translation of The Books of Jacob.

Poland’s literary star Olga Tokarczuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2019. This winter her most ambitious novel, The Books of Jacob, was translated into English, having first appeared in Polish in 2014. This sprawling epic tells the story of Jacob Frank, a real-life messianic figure in eighteenth-century Poland, who led thousands of his Jewish followers into Catholic baptism. The book weaves together the lives of Poles and Jews, peasants and nobility, priests and rabbis, rulers and visionaries, in an unsettling tapestry of earthy beauty and poignancy. The landscape and history of Ukraine feature vividly in this brilliant narrative.

On Sunday, April 10, Prof. Pawel Maciejko offers a lecture "Jacob Frank in His Time and Ours: On the Historical Contexts of Olga Tokarczuk's The Books of Jacob." 11am Pacific Time, free via Zoom. Information and Registration: 

On Sunday, May 15, we will hold a worldwide discussion of The Books of Jacob, guided by our distinguished panelists:
Jennifer Croft is the English-language translator of The Books of Jacob. She won the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing for her memoir Homesick and the 2018 Man Booker International Prize for her translation from Polish of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights
Haim Watzman is one of the leading translators of Hebrew works into English and the author of three books: Company C: An American’s Life as a Citizen-Soldier in IsraelA Crack in the Earth: A Journey Up Israel’s Rift Valley; and Necessary Stories. His play The Chair won the Theater Institute Award sponsored by the Estera Rachel and Ida Makinskie Jewish Theater in Warsaw in 2021.
Bożena Shallcross is a professor and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. She is the author and editor of numerous critical studies including The Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish-Jewish CultureThrough the Poet’s Eye: The Travels of Zagajewski, Herbert, and Brodsky; and Framing the Polish Home: Postwar Cultural Constructions of Heart, Nation, and Self.

Read the novel and join in the conversation. 11am Pacific Time, free via Zoom. Information and registration here:

Professor Maciejko's lecture is presented by the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University with the generous support of Lorry I. Lokey.

The worldwide discussion of The Books of Jacob is presented by the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University with the support of the Lawrence Levy and Pamela Lindholm-Levy Judaic Studies Programming Fund.