Authors Joyce Carol Oates and Ahmad Danny Ramadan Attend Jerusalem Festival

she's an award-winning author in an interview with the media line Joyce Carol Oates opened up about one of her family's great mysteries her grandmother Blanche Morgenstern's Jewish roots boats explored that revelation in her 2007 novel the grave diggers daughter and says her grandmother played a key role and encouraging her to pursue writing her family came over like an 1890s and I'm not sure when she was born but she never identified as Jewish so we we didn't know that my father didn't really know that I wrote a whole novel trying to imagine what her life had been like in total denial of her background Oates is in Israel for the first time to receive the prestigious 2019 Jerusalem prize at the seventh international Writers Festival oh it's is being honored for a lifetime of work one of America's most acclaimed authors she's also one of its most prolific having published over 100 books in five decades it's an extraordinary honor total surprise it was very shocking in a wonderful way and I will always remember hearing about it it's a high point in my career the writers grandmother fled her native Germany in the 19th century due to growing persecution a phenomenon oath says she fears is rising in the United States as well I don't understand that they Semitism I find it very very distressing and upsetting I do know that in and out states generally apart from anti-semitism which is tragic there's a rise and other kinds of violence and hate crimes it's like this flood risin held in a picturesque Jerusalem neighborhood overlooking the old city the festival is a celebration of all things literary it welcomes leading Israeli and international authors we're trying to bring and we're succeeding hopefully to bring the most fresh and interesting voices from all over the world to be here to talk with their Israeli peers and colleagues up-and-coming author and LGBTQ activist Ahmed Danny Ramadan is also being featured at the event born in Syria in 1984 he was granted asylum in Canada in 2014 I grew up with the knowledge that my society the religion of my family my family all reject the concept of homosexuality but at the same time that feeling of love toward somebody else was the most beautiful feeling that I had Ramadan's first novel in English the clothes line swing tells the story of two lovers and was inspired by his experience as a Syrian refugee it was recently translated into Hebrew many tried to discourage Ramadan from traveling to Israel for the festival there was a lot of pressure from people about coming here to Israel a lot of people asked me not to do it I think that I have critical opinions of the Israeli government specifically in their human rights violations but I don't have a very high horse to ride on when I'm coming from Syria and the Syrian government is committing crimes against their own people I don't represent anybody I am I'm just myself from Jerusalem my margate reporting for the media line

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