What do you do if:
1) You love Jewish fiction,
2) The publishing industry is in turmoil due to the advent of digital technology, resulting in fewer and fewer places for talented contemporary Jewish writers to publish their work, so
3) You are concerned that over the next few years many excellent Jewish stories will not get published and will therefore be lost?
Dr. Nora Gold, worried about this situation, decided to do something about it. She started an online journal called Jewish Fiction .net (www.jewishfiction.net), in order to create a publishing space for first-rate contemporary Jewish writers who are not yet well-known, and to help them disseminate their work to the wide international audience that they deserve. Dr. Gold, a former professor of social work, is also an author in her own right: the winner of one of the Canadian Jewish Book Awards for her story collection, Marrow and Other Stories- http://amzn.to/Atylmm.
Gold began by assembling a distinguished Advisory Council: Alice Shalvi, Ellen Frankel, Michael Kramer, Thane Rosenbaum, Joseph Kertes, Linda Lipsky, Nava Semel, Norman Manea, and Steve Stern, all of whom are strong supporters of Jewish Fiction .net. The first issue came out in September 2010, and since then there have been over 20,000 visits to its website, from people in 83 different countries who have come to this journal to read its terrific Jewish stories from all around the world. In its first 17 months, Jewish Fiction .net published 77 wonderful stories or novel excerpts that had never previously appeared in English, and that were written on five continents and in eight languages (English, French, Spanish, Serbian, Russian, Romanian, Hebrew, and Yiddish). Unforgettable fiction by such literary luminaries as S.Y.Agnon, Elie Wiesel, Chava Rosenfarb, Aharon Appelfeld, Nava Semel, Yoram Kaniuk, Savyon Lebrecht, Aharon Megged, and (from the U.K.) Gabriel Josipovici and Clive Sinclair, as well as a host of other new, exciting, lesser-known writers.
The stories in Jewish Fiction .net will make you laugh and cry, think and remember, and link you to other Jews and Jewish experiences from around the world. “People read stories for many reasons,” Gold says. “Some read for relaxation or pleasure; others for validation, intellectual stimulation, or in order to be challenged.” Readers have written to her on numerous occasions when something they read in Jewish Fiction .net has entertained or moved them, opened their eyes to the diversity of Jewish experience, or stunned them with an insight into the human condition.
The most recent issue of Jewish Fiction .net, published in December 2011, features an excerpt from the first-ever translation into English of a renowned novella by S.Y. Agnon, four other important first-time translations from Russian, Romanian, and Hebrew, and eight exceptional works of fiction written in English, coming from Australia, Canada, and the United States. The theme of this latest issue is Family, which includes all the uniquely deep, passionate, and complex relationships between family members that this implies. In this issue you will find stories about mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, mothers and sons, fathers and sons, fathers-in-law and daughters-in-law, parents and children, couples without children, the birth of a child, and cousins. You can read this issue now at http://bit.ly/hkh19i.
Jewish Fiction .net is special in currently being the only English-language Jewish journal devoted exclusively to publishing fiction, and it is also an exciting journal thanks to its commitment to inclusiveness and diversity. One of Gold’s concerns in recent years has been the divisiveness and divisions within the Jewish world at present: between the different streams of Judaism, between religious/secular, left/right, Israel/Diaspora, Ashkenazi/Mizrachi, etc. Gold sees stories as a way of bringing Jews together despite their differences, and regards Jewish Fiction .net as a journal for all Jews, regardless of perspective or orientation. This openness is reflected in its first six issues, where there has been fascinating diversity: politically, geographically, religiously, culturally, and in terms of sexual orientation, as well as a delightful mix in each issue of established and emerging writers, female and male writers, and writers writing originally in English and other languages. Gold, like the readers of Jewish Fiction .net, enjoys and cherishes this diversity and variety. She says, “In spite of the differences between us, we all have one common language as Jews.”
Not surprisingly, the response to Jewish Fiction .net so far has been wildly enthusiastic by readers and writers alike. To join the worldwide readers of Jewish Fiction .net, just visit the website at www.jewishfiction.net. It’s also a great link to share with friends and family – as well as with any writers you know. (Jewish Fiction .net is currently inviting submissions for its fall and winter 2012 issues.) Jewish Fiction .net is also free of charge!, subsisting entirely on donations from its readers, so donations of any size are always welcome: http://bit.ly/vkjlGQ
Most important: Enjoy these wonderful, beautiful, heartwarming stories - perfect to cuddle up with in the middle of winter. Stories about you, me, and all of Am Yisrael!