Leeds Literary Festival

Words, Culture and Heritage for All



We are delight to bring you some of our planned talks online to help you through these difficult times.

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MiliM is non-profit making and run entirely by volunteers, we are proud to be able to offer an exciting programme of webinars during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Milim Spring 2019

Helen Lederer

Not That I’m Bitter

Helen Lederer was a regular on the stand-up circuit and new-wave sketch shows in the decade that launched the careers of today’s comedy household names and national treasures.. From the iconic Absolutely Fabulous, to Bottom, Happy Families, Naked Video, French and Saunders, and Girls on Top; it is difficult to think of a comedy show that Helen wasn’t a part of. So, plain sailing then? Well, not really.

Not That I’m Bitter is a powerful, frank, moving and characteristically funny memoir, revealing exactly how choppy the waters could be. Even in those ground-breaking, anti-Thatcher days, there was only room at top for so many women. For the rest, it was as much a struggle to be seen and heard in the world of comedy as in any boardroom or workplace – and just as difficult to avoid the predators.

£15 Concessions £10

John Strawson

Responses to 7th October

The October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel came as a shock. The shock was not only that it had happened but that the attacks re-called other massacres in the Jewish past. This three-volume anthology offers in the reaction of 36 authors to these events. While many are Jewish some are not. They come from a variety of backgrounds, academics writers, lawyers, musicians and psychotherapists. They are united in attempting to help us understand how to deal with the enormity of October 7. As editors Rosa Freedman and David Hirsh say these chapters are *urgent, thoughtful, angry, reflective, raw and profound, and diverse.” Some focus on the events themselves, others delve into history, politics or law. There is also concern for the way in which reactions to October 7 have revealed a stark world of rising antisemitism. October 7 has in many ways changed the way we see the world and our relationship with friends, colleagues and communities.
This session will offer participants the opportunity to engage with the themes of this challenging anthology.
John Strawson, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of East London and Senior Research Fellow at London Centre for the Study of Contemporary Antisemistism. He writes on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and is a contributor to this collection.

Jay Prosser

Loving Strangers: A Camphorwood Chest, a Legacy, a Son Returns.

Jay Prosser will talk about his new book, Loving Strangers: A Camphorwood Chest, a Legacy, a Son Returns.

A beautiful and moving story that brings to life a fascinating part of Jewish history’ Claudia Roden, (CBE) Egyptian-born British writer and cultural anthropologist

Opening his mother’s camphorwood chest, Jay Prosser discovers a remarkable family legacy. In the last days of the British Empire, Iraqi Jewish spice traders intermarried with the Chinese women who worked for them. These unfamiliar Asians didn’t speak each other’s language and were raised in completely different cultures and religions. But they were drawn towards the possibilities for radically transforming self and the world that loving strangers brings.

Against the backdrop of war, migration and revolution across Asia, Jay Prosser unravels his ancestors’ lives. Together with his motherwith a growing sense of urgency as she ages – he unpacks the camphorwood chest, travelling backwards through possessions belonging to previous generations. An unfinished quilt holds the secret of how his grandmother was abandoned as a baby by the side of a river in China. A crackly recording follows the trail of his grandfather, who sings of his travels across India and Singapore. Characters who seem to have stepped out of the Arabian Nights manifest o family t Prosser’s story of finding his identity among those who loved across worlds resonates for our own time when, too often, we are encouraged to fear rather than to love strangers.

Jay Prosser teaches and researches at the Centre for Jewish Studies and the School of English at the University of Leeds. Loving Strangers was winner of the Hazel Rowley Prize (US, 2020) for the best proposal for a first-time biographer and shortlisted for the Tony Lothian Prize (UK, 2019) for the best unpublished biography.



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