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May 15, 2022 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Online, N/A, Portland, OR 97207

The 2022 Levy Event

The Sixth Annual Levy Event at Portland State University


We invite you to read Olga Tokarczuk’s masterpiece, now translated for the first time into English, and attend a worldwide discussion of the book guided by our distinguished panelists, held on Zoom.


1. Read the book. Go ahead and start reading! The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk is widely available! Purchase through your favorite bookseller!

2. Register. This event is free with prior registration and will be held on Zoom. Please go to our registration page.

3. Log in on May 15 and participate in the community-wide discussion.

About the book and its author

Poland’s literary star Olga Tokarczuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2019. This winter her most ambitious novel The Books of Jacob was translated into English, having first appeared in Polish in 2014. This sprawling epic tells the story of Jacob Frank, a real-life messianic figure in eighteenth-century Poland, who led thousands of his Jewish followers into Catholic baptism. The book weaves together the lives of Poles and Jews, women and men, peasants and nobility, priests and rabbis, rulers and visionaries, in an unsettling tapestry of earthy beauty and poignancy. The landscape and history of Ukraine feature vividly in this brilliant narrative.

“The book tells the story of the shared history of the Poles and the Jews.” – Olga Tokarczuk

“What I hope to have generated is microsuspense: the desire to keep reading, the drive to turn the page.” – Jennifer Croft, translator of the English edition

Other books by Tokarczuk available in English include Flights, which won the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, a collage of meditations on travel, anatomy, and human cruelty; Primeval and Other Times, a magical realist exploration of twentieth century history through a town in Poland, its Christian and Jewish inhabitants, and the angels who witness it; and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, a dark and bloody-minded mystery novel set in the Polish borderlands.

[Register Here]

Jennifer Croft is the English-language translator of The Books of Jacob. She won the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing for her memoir Homesick and the 2018 Man Booker International Prize for her translation from Polish of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. She is also the author of Serpientes y escaleras and Notes on Postcards and the translator of Federico Falco’s A Perfect Cemetery, Romina Paula’s August, and Pedro Mairal’s The Woman from Uruguay. She holds a PhD from Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Iowa and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Arkansas.

Writer and translator Haim Watzman is the author of three books: Company C: An American’s Life as a Citizen-Soldier in Israel; A Crack in the Earth: A Journey Up Israel’s Rift Valley; and the collection Necessary Stories. His play The Chair won the Theater Institute Award of the Contemporary Jewish Drama International Competition sponsored by the Estera Rachel and Ida Makinskie Jewish Theater in Warsaw in 2021. One of the leading translators of Hebrew works into English, with more than 50 books to his credit, he has worked with many of Israel’s leading authors and scholars, including Yuval Noah Harari, Shlomo Avineri, David Grossman, Hillel Cohen, Amos Oz, and Tom Segev. An archive of his stories and more information about his books and translations can be found on his website, South Jerusalem.

Bożena Shallcross is an internationally recognized expert in Polish literary studies and Polish Holocaust literature. She is a professor and the director of graduate studies in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. She is the author and editor of numerous critical studies including The Holocaust Object in Polish and Polish-Jewish Culture; Through the Poet’s Eye: The Travels of Zagajewski, Herbert, and Brodsky; and Framing the Polish Home: Postwar Cultural Constructions of Heart, Nation, and Self.

Host and Moderator, Professor Michael Weingrad 

Professor of Judaic Studies, Portland State University, Michael Weingrad is the author of American Hebrew Literature: Writing Jewish National Identity in the United States and the editor and translator of Letters to America: Selected Poems of Reuven Ben-Yosef. He is a regular contributor to the Jewish Review of Books and Mosaic magazine.

[More Info Here]


Portland, OR 97207


PSU Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies
View Organizer Website