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-Joseph, The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

Judges inner

Evan Fallenberg

Ayelet Tsabari

Matti Friedman



Jerusalem Writers Festival  


On Sunday, May 10th, 2015 Sami Rohr Prize winner Ayelet Tsabari and 2014 Sami Rohr Prize winner Matti Friedman participated in a literary conversation moderated by Sami Rohr Prize judge Evan Fallenberg as part of the Jerusalem Writers Festival's first digital edition. The wonderful conversation, titled “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off,” focused on the significance of literary prizes, writing in the time of COVID-19, navigating between Hebrew and English, and belonging to several global literary communities. 

We asked the participants a few questions following the event. 

What was it like participating in one of the first digital international literary festivals?

Evan Fallenberg: 

For me it's the best of bad options. I missed the build-up, the camaraderie with my fellow panelists and other writers and the organizers, missed the audience, the audience! - a void; I am always very aware of what they are enjoying and can be expanded upon or when to speed the conversation up - and I missed beautiful Mishkenot Sha'ananim itself, which invariably gives me a feeling of serenity and a sense that I am part of something longstanding and glorious.


Ayelet Tsabari:

I loved being a part of it! While I missed being in Mishkenot - I attended the festival last year and I loved the festival's international atmosphere - I was thrilled to hear they decided to move it to a digital format. I think it's a brilliant solution. Digital events are inclusive in so many ways and I am grateful for them.


Matti Friedman: 

One of the great things about writing is meeting readers and other authors in person. We spend a lot of time at home on the computer as it is. So let's just say -- it will be nice when the real thing becomes feasible again. 

What was your favorite part? 


Evan Fallenberg: 

Matti and Ayelet; they are both delightful and engaging.


Ayelet Tsabari: 

Being able to wear yoga pants and socks at a literary event. 


Matti Friedman:

I like seeing other people's houses in the background.


What are you working on now?


Evan Fallenberg:

A novel, a screenplay and a play, none of which has anything to do with the others. 


Ayelet Tsabari: 

I'm working on a novel but it's too early to speak about it. I said too much about it during the event already! I'd rather not repeat it.


Matti Friedman:

A project about an interesting cultural moment in the Yom Kippur War.

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