The Canadian Jewish novelist and gadfly Mordecai Richler, who died in 2001, was renowned internationally for books such as “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz,” “The Street,” “Solomon Gursky Was Here,” and an anthology, “Writers On World War II,” all available from Penguin Canada.
An acclaimed master of the French Canadian literary scene, novelist and essayist Naïm Kattan also offers readers a unique Iraqi Jewish viewpoint. In English, Kattan is mostly known as the author of “Farewell, Babylon: Coming of Age in Jewish Baghdad,” a justly praised memoir from David R. Godine. Unfortunately, few of his dozens of other books have been translated into English, like “A.M. Klein: Poet and Prophet” from Les Éditions XYZ in Montreal, about an English-language Canadian Jewish author.
As we saw with the Batsheva Dance Company in 2009 and the Jerusalem Quartet in March, when it comes to Israel, even the most straightforward arts organizations have the potential to become the subjects of political controversy. The most recent flare-up centered around Canadian author Margaret Atwood, who accepted the Dan David Prize for literature on Sunday at Tel Aviv University, despite protestations from Palestinian groups who urged her to turn it down.