Jewish Book Festival 2017

jewish book festival 2017

For more information contact Tania Guerrero at 403-537-8596 or email

Monday - Thursday  |  10:00am - 8:30pm
Friday  |  10:00am - 1:30pm
Sunday  |  10:00am - 7:30pm

Wednesday, December 6  |  4:00 – 6:30pm

kara goodwinBook Clubs Round-Up
Kara Goodwin
Calling all book club members and bibliophiles! Come meet fellow book lovers, share your reading selections, learn what other clubs have done, and mingle over a cup tea. 



Thursday, December 7  |  6:30 – 8:00pm

discussion panelDiscussion Panel
Jewish Writing in Canada: Past, Present, and Future 
This year the Jewish Book Festival celebrates Jewish writing in Canada. Through a panel discussion, we will explore the past, present, and future of Jewish writing within our borders in terms of authorship, content, and influence as well as emerging writers. Join our diverse panelists with experience ranging from academic writing to literary works for a lively discussion. Our participants include:

Susan Ouriou, author, editor, and translator has published Nathan (YA novel) and Damselfish (Adult novel). She received Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation in 2009. Susan has worked as the director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre and as faculty for the Banff Centre’s Aboriginal Emerging Writers residency program. She is the editor of the 2010 anthology Beyond Words – Translating the World.

Dr. Adrienne Kertzer, Professor Emerita of English, PhD in American Literature from Harvard University. She has focussed her research and teaching on children’s literature, women’s writing, the representation of historical trauma, and Holocaust literature. She received the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Scholarship on a Jewish Subject for My Mother’s Voice: Children, Literature, and the Holocaust and the F.E.L. Priestley Prize for Fugitive Pieces: Listening as a Holocaust Survivor’s Child. Since her retirement, she continues to research and publish.

Dr. Kenneth Brown, Division Chair School of Languages, Linguistics, Literature, & Cultures from the University of Calgary, has published extensively on the literature of the Spanish Golden Age and medieval periods. His research includes Sephardic literature in pre-expulsion Spain. His research includes analyzing authorial DNA in literary work to unmask their secrets.

Shane Gerzon-Kessler,  B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Educational Leadership is the author of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Everything, a memoir and social analysis inspired by a “know-it-all” author named A.J. Jacobs. Shane uses an emotionally photographic memory to recount personal and historical events with many links to the Holocaust era that continue to shape our lives.

Harry Sanders is a Calgary based historian, freelance writer, historical consultant, and speaker. He has published articles in several magazines and is the author of seven books on local history. He has worked at the Calgary Public Library, the City of Calgary Archives, the Jewish Historical society of Southern Alberta, and the Glenbow Library and Archives. Since 1995, he has been a self-employed historical consultant, researcher, and freelance writer. Until 2009, he also appeared weekly on CBC Radio One as “Harry the Historian”.

Sunday, December 10  |  10:30am – 12:00pm

deborah_willisReading Circle 
Deborah Willis, Calgary Giller Prize long list nominee
Deborah Willis’ latest collection of fiction, The Dark and Other Love Stories, was published in Canada and the U.S., and was recently longlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize. Her first book, Vanishing and Other Stories, was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award and praised by Alice Munro for its "range and depth… clarity and deftness." Born and raised in Calgary, she has published fiction and non-fiction in various publications in addition to serving as the Writer in Residence at the University of Calgary, the Submissions Coordinator for Freehand Books, and is now the Writer in Residence at MacEwan University in Edmonton. She is currently working on a novel.

Sunday, December 10  |  1:30 – 3:00pm

ellin besnerDouble Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military, and World War II
Ellin Bessner, Author and Journalist
In partnership with Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta

Canadian author and journalist Ellin Bessner, author of Double Threat: Canadian Jews, the Military, and World War II. It reveals the untold story of how 17 000 Canadian Jews donned a uniform and helped defeat Hitler in the Second World War. These young men and women fought and died in all the major battles. Over 190 received military honours for bravery. About 450 did not come home.

Ellin’s new book, Double Threat is due out in the spring of 2018, is being published by New Jewish Press of the University by Toronto’s Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies. This book also includes some of southern Alberta’s more famous veterans. With the commemoration of Remembrance Day recently behind us, hear Ellin Bessner tell us, who these Jewish Canadians were, why they served, and what their lives were like as Jews, here in Canada, in the barracks, and on the battlefield.


Sunday, December 10  |  4:00 – 6:00pm

aaron hartGrand Finale!
First Chanukah in Kanata – 1759

Sponsored by: Harry & Martha Cohen Foundation

Watch Canadian history come alive in Trois Rivieres, Quebec with Allan Merovitz and accompanying musicians Linda Kitchin and Darcy North. Based on 40 years of research and inspired by speculative imagination, join us for the story of one of Canada’s earliest Jews, Aaron Hart, told through music, storytelling, and dance. This show uses Hebrew, Yiddish, Quebecois, French, English, Huron, Algonquin, Ladino, old time fiddle dance tunes, and the early Klezmer folk music of Eastern Europe. His connection to the British invasion of New France during the Seven Years War and the battle of the Plains of Abraham is highlighted within this lively musical storytelling appropriate for all ages. Come light the Chanukah candles and recite prayers with the help of the children in the audience.

first chanukah in kanata - 1752