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Words for All
Leeds Literary Festival


Welcome to MiliM 2018

11 February - 18 March


Welcome to MiliM 2018 the Leeds Festival of Words for All. Our theme for this year is Past, Present and Future and this year we welcome international speakers as well as our local and national speakers.

Our aim has been to ensure there is something for everyone and from mid February to mid March we have poetry, religion, politics, first person testimony as well as wonderful literature from new and established writers.

MiliM would not be possible without the continued support of our generous sponsors who allow us, once again, to maintain our goal of no event being more than £7.50

We invite you to come along and enjoy MiliM 2018.


Alan Benstock, Philippa Lester and Diane Saunders

Festival Sponsor:

Headline sponsors: Councillors Neil Buckley and Dan Cohen

Supported with funding from Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council:

Leeds inspired

in association with:

Milim 2018

Words for All
Leeds Literary Festival 2018

All I Wanted Was A Doll

Play by Brian Daniels

This play is a celebration of Riley Theatre’s Jewish heritage as a working synagogue and it was commissioned by Leeds Jewish Welfare Board to commemorate their 140th anniversary year. Written by Brian Daniels, it tells the story of the earlier Jewish immigrants to Leeds.

Brian Daniels is a Yorkshire playwright and theatre practitioner whose work has been widely performed both locally and nationally. Between 1997 and 2011 he was the Artistic Director of the New End Theatre, Hampstead where he produced 200 new plays, musicals and cultural events. He was also the Artistic Director of the Shaw Theatre, Euston, producing large scale theatrical events. Recent works include Don’t Leave Me Now, a play exploring the impact of early onset dementia which has been performed throughout the UK and Bounce Back Boy, the story of a severely disabled boy. This was commissioned by the National Council for Palliative Care and was performed to much acclaim at last year’s Milim festival. There will be a post-show discussion which is open to all.


Admission £7 / £5 student & under 18

To book this event call Riley Theatre Box Office

0113 219 3018

Fun With Words

Poetry Workshop for children by Joshua Seigal

Joshua Seigal poet, performer, and workshop leader will be giving a performance of his poetry and leading a creative, fun writing activitiy for 7-11 years old children.

Copies of his book, ‘I don’t like poetry’ will be available to purchase.

Children who are taking part must be accompanied by a parent, grandparent or responsible adult.

Admission is free, but registration on Eventbrite is necessary.

Poetry Café

Returning by popular demand for the third year running, the Poetry Café once again will be an informal relaxed inter-generational evening featuring poets James Nash, Kevin Holloway and Stephanie Shields. Emma Gordon will be performing as will drama pupils from the Nicola Hipps School of Drama.

It will see a stream of like-minded poets and poetry lovers gather together for an event that will wax lyrical on everything that rhymes, or does not.

Leeds-born Emma Gordon fell in love with the stage at the age of three when she piggy-backed onto her big sisters’ elocution lessons. She has since carved out her own path in the Arts world, making a career from juggling Acting, Teaching and Applied Theatre jobs, all of which she is immensely passionate about. Having written for over a decade, Emma has finally begun to experiment with calling herself a writer. Watch this space to see where that may take her in 2018. Emma is delighted to be featuring at the Milim poetry cafe for the third time.

Nicola Hipps has been teaching speech and drama for over 25 years.  She enters students into local competitive Drama Festivals and LAMDA examinations, where she is the Leeds representative. Nicola is a qualified teacher and a member of the Society of Teachers of Speech and Drama. She teaches, both at Moorfield School, individuals and groups of all ages from home as well as Public Speaking training.

Kevin Holloway taught in schools, colleges and universities across the north of England and is now retired. When not walking in Wharfedale he is working on a collection of poetry with the working title: ‘Out of Place’.

James Nash began his career as a teacher then decided to give it all up and become a writer. He now spends much of his time travelling around the country talking to and interviewing writers about their work.

Brought up in the East Midlands, Stephanie Shields has spent her adult life in the north of England. She has combined sheep farming in the Washburn Valley, north of Leeds, with a career in further education. Her short fiction and poems have appeared in anthologies, magazines and on radio. Her flash fiction and poetry have been shortlisted and longlisted for literature competitions. Steph’s first short story collection, Swan Landings, was published in October 2017, and is receiving very enthusiastic reviews.

Admission: Free. Registration on Eventbrite is necessary


Lisa Roukin

My Relationship With Food

Lisa Roukin has a passion for food and believes that a healthy relationship with food involves eating delicious nutritional meals that feed your mind, body and soul. She describes her own journey with food as a rollercoaster. As a teenager she became obsessed with self-image which developed into an eating disorder. She overcame this and with guidance from her grandmother trained at Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School and finally redefined her relationship with food.

She now works as a teacher, chef and writer and has recently published her first cookery book My Relationship with Food, which features 100 delicious, nourishing and seasonal recipes; all gluten-free and with minimal use of dairy and refined sugar. Lisa will be interviewed by the international journalist Francine White.

Francine White is a well-respected interviewer and journalist specialising in entertainment. She writes regularly for Hello! magazine and contributes to many other publications such as OK!, The Daily Mail, Mail On Sunday and Woman’s Own. She is also a frequent guest interviewee on BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio 5 Live.

Admission: £5

Abi Silver

The Pinocchio Brief and Beyond...


Leeds born Abi Silver will be talking about growing up in Leeds and how her legal background and other life experiences shaped her writing of The Pinocchio Brief, her acclaimed debut novel (a legal thriller with an AI twist), which was published by Lightning Books in July 2017.


I cannot remember a time when I was not writing stories.  Growing up with a house full of books (my parents were teachers), I was inspired from an early age to believe I could join the ranks of my heroes.  But I accept that I probably could not have produced “The Pinocchio Brief” a legal thriller, with an AI twist, without my experience as a lawyer to guide me along the way.

Being a lawyer is just like being a detective.  You are often required to construct the whole jigsaw puzzle of your client’s case from its constituent pieces.  And you need to be a good judge of character too; the motivation behind people’s actions (which you must glean from their words and conduct) is key to understanding what really happened and why.

I was a pupil of Brodetsky Primary, Morris Silman and Roundhay School Leeds, and went on to read Law at Girton College Cambridge before wanderlust sent me off travelling through Asia, Australia and South America as a student.  I also lived overseas in Ra’anana, Israel for 5 years, during which time I learned sculpting, pottery on the wheel and began and completed an MBA.

I have spent the last 25 years (off and on) as a commercial litigator working both in private practice and in-house.

I now live in Radlett, Hertfordshire with my husband and three sons.  The peaceful village setting and warm community gives me ample opportunity to write.  I usually have at least three plot lines going on in my head at one time and ideas come to me at the strangest of moments.  The skill, of course, is to select the one which will work best and then sit down to write.


Jackie Passman

Under The Heel Of Hirohito

My father was one of the many prisoners captured by the Japanese when Singapore fell in 1942. At great personal risk, he kept a detailed diary which I saw for the first time a few years before he died. This illustrated talk is based on his objective, distressing but occasionally humorous diary entries. They record the deprivations of Changi POW camp, the horrific death march up country to the Thai-Burma border and the unbelievable hardships for the prisoners who built the Thai-Burma railway. Despite it all, Jewish life flourished.

Before he died my father was interviewed by Yorkshire Television, and his diary has been incorporated into Martin Sugarman’s definitive collection of accounts of the experiences of WW2 Jewish POWs in the Far East. The diary and accompanying memorabilia are now held at the Imperial War Museum in London.


Much of Jackie’s work has been spent with children, including helping at Dr Barnardo’s home, Hebrew & Jewish studies teacher at Deborah Taylor nursery school, working in mainstream and special needs education, and acting as Independent Person for children in care in adjudication of complaints. While in mainstream, she specialised in teaching creative writing and was a member of a local authority panel encouraging writing in schools.

She spent 10 years teaching deaf children and developed a dedicated English curriculum for deaf children.  She also liaised with external examination boards with regard to special arrangements for deaf candidates and contributed to an advisory booklet on this subject. Her experience with the deaf enabled her to be an Expert Witness for a medico‑legal organisation with regard to deaf issues.

Outside education Jackie has varied experience including working as personal assistant to the director of a merchant bank, and managing a charity bookshop. She does regular synagogue and school visits. Her passion is foreign travel and learning about different cultures and traditions. Recently she has done extensive research on the life of POWs in the Far East and gives talks based on her father’s wartime diary.

Admission: Free

This event has been generously sponsored by Phillipa & Brian Bloom.

Ami Sands Brodoff

The Story Behind The Story

Ami Sands Brodoff is the award-winning Canadian author of three novels and a volume of stories.  Her latest novel, In Many Waters, centres on three orphans whose lives intersect on the island of Malta and grapples with our worldwide refugee crisis.

On this event, Ami will be reading from, and speaking about the provenance of her new novel, In Many Waters.  How did she come to write this book?  What is the story behind the story?

Admission:  £5

In Many Waters is the gripping tale of three orphans whose lives intersect on the island of Malta during our current, urgent refugee crisis and spans three generations of a Maltese Jewish family. For the first time since the Second World War, the number of refugees has surged past 60 million, according to the United Nations.  Statistics, however, leave one numb.  The novel gets inside the story of onen particular refugee, a young Libyan girl who seeks asylum on Malta.  Zoe, a budding historian specializing in Jewish culture, comes to Malta with her younger brother Cal to learn more about their Maltese mother, as well as the mysterious circumstances surrounding their parents’ untimely deaths.  The siblings well-mapped plans are derailed when Cal, who is a daily swimmer in the Mediterranean, discovers a girl floating in the sea, barely alive.  The small, battered fishing boat on which she has journeyed from Libya to Malta capsized in a storm: Aziza is the sole survivor among the migrants.  Meanwhile, Zoe returns to the site of her parents’ drownings and stumbles across a trail of clues which lead to the discover of an unknown family member, unearthing a chain of life-changing secrets.  In Many Waters mines the hearts and minds of characters in extremis, the unforgettable tale of the way that we love and help one another and how the choices we make reverberate through generations.  The novel dramatizes the Talmudic truth that if we save one life, it is as if we have saved the world.


Ami Sands Brodoff’s other novel The White Space Between, focuses on a mother and daughter struggling with the impact of the Holocaust, won The Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Bloodknots, a volume of thematically linked stories about families on the edge, was a finalist for The Re-Lit Award.  Her debut novel, Can You See Me? delves into the point-of-view of a young man with schizophrenia and the sister who tries to help him.  The book was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and is a recommended book of NAMI (The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill).  Ami contributes essays, articles and reviews to such diverse publications as Tablet, Vogue, The Globe and Mail, The Montreal Review of Books, and Quill and Quire. She has been awarded fellowships to Yaddo, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ragdale Foundation, The St. James Cavalier Centre for the Arts in Valletta, Malta, among many others.

Learn more at amisandsbrodoff.com

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

Dov Waxman

Trouble In The Tribe: The American Jewish Conflict Over Israel

This is a joint event with the National Jewish Historical Society on the occasion of the Jewish History Month in March.

Dov Waxman is professor of political science, international affairs, and Israel studies, and the Stotsky Professor of Jewish Historical and Cultural Studies at Northeastern University. He is also the co-director of the university’s Middle East Center. His research focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli politics and society, U.S.-Israel relations, and American Jewry’s relationship with Israel.

Trouble in the Tribe explores the increasingly contentious place of Israel in the American Jewish community. In a fundamental shift, growing numbers of American Jews have become less willing to unquestioningly support Israel and more willing to publicly criticize its government. More than ever before, American Jews are arguing about Israeli policies, and many, especially younger ones, are becoming uncomfortable with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Dov Waxman argues that Israel is fast becoming a source of disunity for American Jewry, and that a new era of American Jewish conflict over Israel is replacing the old era of solidarity.

Drawing on a wealth of in-depth interviews with American Jewish leaders and activists, Waxman shows why Israel has become such a divisive issue among American Jews. He delves into the American Jewish debate about Israel, examining the impact that the conflict over Israel is having on Jewish communities, national Jewish organizations, and on the pro-Israel lobby. Waxman sets this conflict in the context of broader cultural, political, institutional, and demographic changes happening in the American Jewish community. He offers a nuanced and balanced account of how this conflict over Israel has developed and what it means for the future of American Jewish politics.

Israel used to bring American Jews together. Now it is driving them apart. Trouble in the Tribe explains why.


Admission: £3 pay at the door

David Brauner

Comedy In Contemporary Jewish Fiction

In this talk Professor Brauner will discuss the relationship between comedy and Jewishness in contemporary fiction. Taking in a wide range of authors from both sides of the Atlantic, including Philip Roth and Howard Jacobson, the talk will feature plenty of Jewish jokes and will consider why Jewish humour is so central to the work of many of the most famous Jewish authors of the last fifty years.

David Brauner is Professor of Contemporary Literature at The University of Reading and Executive Co-editor of Philip Roth Studies. He grew up in North London and was educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, Pembroke College, Cambridge and University College, London. He is the author of three books – Post-War Jewish Fiction: Ambivalence, Self-Explanation and Transatlantic Connections (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2001), Philip Roth (Manchester University Press, 2007) and Contemporary American Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2010) – and the co-editor (with Axel Staehler) of The Edinburgh Companion to Modern Jewish Fiction (2015). He is currently working on a book on Howard Jacobson.

Admission: £5


Charles Harris

Knife Crime and Journalism

Come and hear author and award-winning film-maker Charles Harris talk about his new best-selling novel The Breaking of Liam Glass, which has been nominated Finalist for a Wishing Shelf Book Prize.  His satirical thriller has received five star reviews and been described as “witty,” “gripping” and “truly beautifully written.”
In this fast-paced and darkly funny novel, ambitious young journalist Jason Crowthorne discovers a scoop that he is sure will make his name – but to hit the headlines he is forced to embellish the truth and soon not only rival journalists but the police are on his tail.

“Film-making and martial arts have brought me into close contact with journalists and police, presidents and criminals,” he says. “And given me a fascination for what people do, why they make such a mess of it and how some people always seem to bob to the surface whatever their mistakes. Of course, it’s rarely the saints we love to read about, but the sinners.”

Charles will be discussing ethical and unethical journalists, fast-talking politicians, satire, knife crime and real and fake news.

The talk will be hosted by Nigel Gizzard and followed by a personal signing.

Admission: £5

This is a joint event with Makor Culture.

Dr. Dave Rich

The Left's Problem With Antisemitism

Dr. Dave Rich is Head of Policy for the Community Security Trust and author of ‘The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Anti-Semitism’. Dave is an Associate Research Fellow at the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London, and writes regularly on antisemitism, anti-Zionism and extremism for newspapers and journals in the UK and overseas.

The last two years have seen relations between the Labour Party and Britain’s Jews collapse amid constant allegations of antisemitism in the party. Much of this is directed at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but it reflects much deeper trends on the far left, where conspiracy theories about ‘Zionist’ power or comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany are commonplace and Israel is seen as a pariah.

This talk will delve into the thorny problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party and ask whether the party can rebuild the trust and support it enjoyed from previous generations of British Jews.

Admission: Free. Registration on Eventbrite is necessary.

This event has been generously sponsored by Big Change Apps.

Rabbi Jonathan Romain

Confessions of a Rabbi

Rabbi, writer and broadcaster, Jonathan Romain is minister of Maidenhead Synagogue. He writes for The Times, Guardian and Jewish Chronicle, and is heard on the BBC. He received the MBE for his work nationally in helping mixed-faith couples. He is chaplain to the Jewish Police Association, chair of the Accord Coalition for inclusive education and a Patron of Dignity  in Dying. His latest book, Confessions of a Rabbi (Biteback), has had wide coverage in the media.

He will share his experiences as a rabbi: rollercoaster of crises, emotional traumas, moral dilemmas, attempts at seduction, multiple murders, machievellian families, funerals that go wrong, weddings that are hijacked, and fighting his way through a maze of other people’s sexual fantasies.

Admission: £7.50

This event has been generously sponsored by Marcia and Phil Goldstone.

Fenella Fielding with Simon McKay

Do You Mind If I Smoke?

Unfortunately Fenella has advised us that she is unable to join us this Sunday, we will be refunding directly into your accounts.
She apologises for any disappointment caused.
The MiliM Team


Fenella Fielding is best known for her 1960s film appearances in classic comedies including ‘Carry On Screaming’, ‘Doctor in Clover’ and ‘Carry On Regardless’. She was the voice of the Blue Queen in ‘Dougal and the Blue Cat’ and the telephone operator and loudspeaker voice in ‘The Prisoner’. Her illustrious career in theatre includes the title roles in ‘Hedda Gabler’ and ‘Colette’. She’s fondly remembered for a number of appearances on the ‘Morecambe & Wise Show’ as well as playing The Vixen in ‘Uncle Jack’. Her most recent TV appearance was ‘Skins’ in 2012.

Fenella will be reading excerpts from her recently published autobiography ‘Do You Mind If I Smoke?’ They are very personal stories about innocence, early struggles, professional jealousies and intriguingly a chapter about London tarts and gangsters. The stories are witty, warm and beautifully observed scenes from an extraordinary life – expressing great warmth for the characters encountered… and all told in that unmistakable, ever alluring Fenella Fielding voice.

“Fenella’s voice remains as seductive as it was when as fiendish vamp Valeria she asked, “Do you mind if I smoke?” in Carry On Screaming – before smouldering, quite literally, on a chaise longue.”  Daily Express 2017

 “The book charts her topsy turvy life – from the autocratic father who ran a cinema, to success on stage and screen, bankruptcy and a life on benefits, and a renaissance in recent years… It’s a great gossipy read.” The Guardian 2017

The evening will conclude with a short Q&A with Fenella hosted by Simon McKay, co-author of the book and a close friend of Fenella. Afterwards, there’s a chance to meet Fenella and buy a signed copy of the book.

Admission: £7.50, including tea and biscuits

This event has been generously sponsored by Philippa & Simon Lester.