About The Authors - Issue 25


Noga Albalach was born in Petah Tikva, Israel, in 1971 and now lives in Tel Aviv. She received an MA in economics from Tel Aviv University and worked for several years as an equity analyst. In 2005, she left this field and started studying literature. She received her MA in literature from Tel Aviv University and at present she works as literary editor. Albalach has published a novel, collections of short stories and novellas as well as books for children. She has been awarded the Ministry of Culture Prize for Debut Literature (2011)ת the Prime Minister's Prize (2016) and the Brenner prize for "The Old Man" (2018).

Allan Appel has published nine novels, a biography, and two collections of poetry, among other books. Of his novels, The Rabbi of Casino Boulevard  (St. Martin’s Press) was a nominee for the National Jewish Book Award, and High Holiday Sutra (Coffee House Press) was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Awardee. Those novels, like the 2009 Hebrew Tutor of Bel Air (Coffee House Press), have been optioned for the stage or screen. His most recent novel, The Book of Norman (Mandel Vilar Press, 2017) – an excerpt of which appeared in Jewish Fiction .net – is a theological comedy and sibling rivalry tale that is also a ground-breaking exploration of Jewish-Mormon relations. His plays have won prizes and have been performed in Los Angeles and Provincetown, among other venues. Allan Appel is a member of the Author’s Guild and The Dramatists Guild, and in recent years has won two fellowships in fiction from the state of Connecticut Commission on the Arts. For the last decade he has been a staff writer for the online newspaper, The New Haven Independent.  

Yossi Avni-Levy was born in Israel in 1962, first son to parents who immigrated to Israel from Afghanistan and Iran. He studied Middle Eastern history and law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and joined Israeli diplomatic service. Published four novels, two collections of short stories and novellas and one children’s book. He is one of Israel’s most successful gay writers; in a unique and a colorful language he describes family relations in the traditional Jewish Sephardi environment, as well as international experiences and father-son relationships. Snails in the Rain, a film based on one of his short stories, was released in 2013, and his novel A Man Without Shadow is now being made into a feature film. Avni-Levy received the Prime Minister's Prize in 2007. 

Dvora Baron was born in 1887 in the town of Ozdah in Lithuania. Her father, the rabbi of the town, as well as her mother, are central figures in Baron’s simple yet rich and meticulous prose, much of which focuses on scenes observed in her childhood. Her early education, along with that of her brother, was supervised by their father until they left home to study in Minsk, where her first stories were published in 1903. She emigrated to Palestine in 1911 and became active there in the literary and political world. She married Yaakov Aharonovitz and they worked together, editing Hapoel Hatzair until 1923. Their daughter, Zippora, was born in 1914. Baron published several collections of stories in the 1920s and 1930s to high critical acclaim, and she won the Bialik Prize in 1934. During these years she began to withdraw from public life and it was after her husband’s death, in 1937, that her contacts with the outside world became even more limited. She died in her home in 1957.

Lili Berger (1916-1996). Born in Malken (near Bialystok), Berger was a prolific literary critic and essayist, as well as a novelist and playwright. She received a religious education, completed high school in Warsaw, studied in Brussels, and settled in Paris at the end of 1936. She taught Yiddish and contributed to important periodicals. During the Nazi occupation of France, together with her husband, Louis Gronowski, she was active in the Resistance and was involved in the rescue of Jewish children from deportation. She returned to Warsaw after the war but was forced to leave in 1968 during the great exodus which she bitterly referred to as the ‘trikener pogrom’ (the bloodless pogrom). She resumed her literary activity in Paris, living there until her death in 1995. Her articles and essays were often about writers and artists, including Franz Kafka, Janusz Korczak, Simone de Beauvoir, and Chaim Soutine — people she had known personally, who had experienced the horrors of the Holocaust, Soviet Gulag, or other ordeals in post-war Communist Poland. Her fiction depicted characters scarred by the Holocaust. Her collections include Today and Yesterday (1965), Essays and Sketches (1965), After the Flood (1967), Broken Branches (1970), In the Course of Time (1976), From Near and Far (1978), Incomplete Pages (1982), and Echoes of Distant Times.

Diana Bletter is author of several books, including National Jewish Book Award Finalist The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (Jewish Publication Society), and A Remarkable Kindness (HarperCollins).She is the First Place Winner of the 2019 Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalCommentarytabletmag.comThe ForwardThe North American ReviewTimes of Israel, and many other publications. A Cornell University graduate, Diana lives in a small beach village in the Western Galilee with her husband and family where she is a member of the hevra kadisha. Find out more about her work at www.dianabletter.com.

Wendy Brandmark writes short stories and novels. She won first prize for the short story in The Bridport Prize. Her short story collection, He Runs the Moon: Tales from the Cities, was longlisted for Edgehill PrizeHer stories have appeared widely in anthologies and journals, including North American Review, Lilith Magazine, Stand Magazine and Riptide Journal.  Her last novel, The Stray American, was shortlisted for the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. She teaches on the Oxford University MA in Creative Writing, and is currently working on two novels and a collection of short stories. Author website: wendybrandmark.com 

Henri Bybelezer resides in Montreal, Quebec. Born in Marseilles, France in 1951, he has earned four university degrees (B.A., Ph.D., history; and LL.B., B.C.L., law) and has had careers in both fields as well as in business. He is a published academic author who has taught courses in academe and he was, for years, actively involved in Jewish Community affairs in Montreal. Now retired, his fiction is sourced in Jewish scriptural, liturgical, historical and cultural (particularly Holocaust-inspired) themes. A key focus of his work-product remains the ageless problem of "The Jew in the Face of Modernity" and the contemporary conflicts and crisis of faith often engendered thereby in each generation. He is blessed with two grown sons, an amazing daughter-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren.

Rochelle Distelheim, sadly, died just three months ago. A Chicago native, Rochelle earned numerous short story literary awards, including The Katherine Anne Porter Prize; Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards and Fellowships; The Ragdale Foundation Fellowships; The Faulkner Society Gold Medal in Novel-in-Progress; the Faulkner Society Gold Medal in Novel; The Gival Press 2017 Short Story Competition; Finalist, Glimmer Train’s Emerging Writers; and The Salamander Second Prize in Short Story. In addition, Rochelle’s short stories earned nominations for The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. Her stories appeared in national magazines such as Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day, Woman’s World, Working Woman, Working Mother, and more. Her first novel, Sadie in Love, was published in 2018 when she was 90 years old. Her new novel, Jerusalem As A Second Language (from which this excerpt is taken) will be published soon. 

Deborah Freeman has been mainly a playwright. Her plays include Candlesticks, The Scapegoat, Xanthippe and The Song of Deborah. The Song of Deborah was translated into Hebrew by Avital Macales and staged at the Khan Theatre, Jerusalem in 2016.  Recent short stories include: “The Seventh Floor,” and “By Madeleine Black,” in Stand Magazine, “From the Dining Room Table,” in Momaya Press 2018 Anthology of Short Stories, “The Dressmaker” published in Litro Online and also in Didcot Writers 2018 Short Story Anthology. She has completed two novels, Mrs. Faust and Paper in the Cracks, the latter set in England and Jerusalem at the time of the Six Day War.

Saul Golubcow writes from Potomac, Maryland and has published essays, reviews, and stories in various Jewish forums. He was born in a displaced persons camp in Germany and grew up in New Jersey. He attended Rutgers University as an undergraduate and earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from SUNY-Stony Brook. His story “Table Talk” was almost fifty years in the making, drafted when he was a graduate student, put aside in a desk drawer as he dedicated himself to family and career interests, and retrieved and reworked after his retirement.

Philip Graubart is a rabbi and writer living in San Diego. He’s published six books, including the novels My Mother’s Song, Planet of the Jews, Rabbis and Gangsters, and Silwan. His latest novel, Women and God, will be published next fall. He has served congregations in New York City, Northampton Massachusetts, and San Diego. He’s also held senior leadership positions at the National Yiddish Book Center and The Shalom Hartman Institute. He is currently the director of Jewish Life and Learning at the San Diego Jewish Academy. 

Susan Kleinman’s story, “Set It Free,” is part of a collection-in-progress of linked narratives. Additional stories from the series have appeared in The American Literary Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Baltimore Review, Craft, Inkwell, and several other literary journals. Kleinman has taught writing at The New School for Social Research, The Bronxville Adult School, and the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, where she was a Gurfein Writing Fellow in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, NY.

Lynn Levin has published short fiction in Per Contra, Cleaver, and Elm Leaves Journal; essays in Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Wild River Review; and poems in Boulevard, Ploughshares, Artful Dodge, Rattle, Washington Square ReviewLilithKerem, The ReconstructionistShofar, and many other places. Her poems appear in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, and The Torah: A Women's Commentary. Her newest books are Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, Second Edition, (Texture, 2019) and a poetry collection, The Minor Virtues, to be published in 2020 by Ragged Sky. She teaches at Drexel University. Her website is www.lynnlevinpoet.com.

Sophie Panzer is the author of the chapbooks Mothers of the Apocalypse (Ethel Press 2019) and Survive July (Red Bird Chapbooks 2019). She was a winner of the 2017 Quebec Writers Federation Literary Prize for Young Writers and a 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. She edits prose for Inklette and her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sad Girl Review, The Hellebore, Coffin Bell Journal, Little Old Lady, Lavender Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Josephine Quarterly.

David Regenspan grew up in northern New Jersey but spent most of his life in upstate New York.  He received a masters in English from the University of Rochester, a masters in Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University, and ordination as a Reform rabbi from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the years he has served as both a congregational and a freelance rabbi. He has published poetry in Seneca Review and fiction in the online journal Amarillo Bay. He has written two novels for which he is in search of a publisher. Meanwhile he enjoys community activism, jazz, blues and classical music, and the company of his wife, emerita professor Barbara Regenspan, and his grown children Ben and Sarah Regenspan.

Guillermo Saccomanno (the author) was born in Buenos Aires in 1948. Before becoming a novelist, worked as a copy writer in the advertising industry and as a script writer for cartoons and other films. A prolific writer, Saccomanno has won many literary awards, including the Premio Nacional de Literatura, Seix Barral’s Premio Biblioteca Breve de Novela, the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for non-fiction, and two Dashiell Hammett Prizes. Gesell Dome, the first of his works to be published in English (Open Letter 2016), was followed by 77 (Open Letter 2019). Forthcoming from Open Letter Books this year is a third Saccomanno novel, The Clerk.

Noa Shakargy is a poet, editor, and researcher. Her first poetry book, Heat Signature, was published in 2017 and won a few prizes, including the Minister of Culture Award for Young Poets. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication and Journalism at Hebrew University and a co-founder of the College of Literary Arts, a two-year post-secondary creative writing program in Jerusalem. She has co-edited the poetry anthologies: Applause (Poetry Place, 2013) for protest poetry, Close to God (Yedioth Books, 2011), a selection of prayer-poems, and The Street's Word of Honor Reading Ronny Someck's Poetry.  


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