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Author Podcast: Amos Oz

abstract:BookBuffet attended the American Jewish University, LosAngeles where Israeli author, journalist and peace advocate Amos Oz was invited to speak about his life and his books with Rob Eshman, the Editor in Chief of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. It is all part the Third Annual Celebration of Jewish Books held this November in the city of angels.

Amos Oz, as many of you will recall, was this year’s favourite in to win the Nobel Prize for literature, according to the UK betting site Ladbrokes who rated Oz at 4-1 odds. While he lost to a reasonably obscure Romanian author, the publicity still serves to bring attention to his writing and his political advocacy for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Turning 70 this past May, Amos Oz said “Being a 70-year-old Israeli is probably like being a 200-year-old Swede.” [He uses 300 year-old American in this talk.] He is being celebrated in his homeland with a three-day festival in his honour that includes literary, musical and cultural events with President Shimon Peres taking part.

Oz has written 18 books and 450 articles and essays. His works have been translated into 32 languages. He famously writes with two pens, one colour for his fiction and another colour for his politics. Half of his books are set within a 30-minute radius of his home in Arad where he lives with his wife Nily. His last book is a slim 117 page memoir titled, Rhyming Life and Death, published in the USA by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and translated by Nicholas de Lange, Professor at University Cambridge. The author prefers to call it one of his “tales”. He says he just tells tales. Tales are what people told each other in caves and it is what we do today. The New Yorker says Rhyming is, “A prose poem… at once melancholic and sensual.” And that is how I find Amos Oz tonight. A warm, soft but firm-speaking man who exudes the depth of experience of his life – a life spent in war and peace, with family, soldiers, politicians, artists; loving, hating, and remembering.


November 21, 2009

The Interview

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Interview Transcript

We begin with the prayers and songs of Shabbat dinner led by a wonderful female Rabbi whose name I am attempting to discover. Special thanks to the American Jewish University of Los Angeles and to Andrea Shapiro.

  • PART I: Introduction: Z'mirot and then a reading by Oz
  • PART II:Oz talks about writing "A Tale of Love and Darkness" using four tools: humor, compassion, love and forgiveness.
  • PART III: About his political perspectives and stories.
  • PART IV: How to deal with the holy sites in Jerusalem, and a few comments from the closing question period.

BB: This is Paula Shackleton podcasting for from the American Jewish University, LosAngeles where Israeli author, journalist and peace advocate Amos Oz is invited to speak about his life and his books with Rob Eshman... [full transcript available in 24 hrs]


Further Links and Resources

Nobel Betting Odds
Haaretz Interview of Oz
Wikipedia Listing
Shabbat Dinner Traditions



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