This Week in JPL History: In 1990, Saul Bellow spoke at the Library on “Being A Jewish Writer.”

Saul Bellow is second from the right in this photo from his 1968 visit

Back in 1990 Jewish Book Month started with Nobel Laureate sized bang when it kicked off with a lecture by Saul Bellow on being “A Jewish Writer.” His lecture was followed by a cocktail reception celebrating his 75th birthday.

Bellow and the library have a long history. He visited the library in 1968 as well, and in a letter to David Rome after the event expressed how deeply Bellow was touched by the visit. You may be curious as to why this is so. The reason is that he was born in Lachine and later lived in Montreal, his family later moved to Chicago when he was 9. You can listen to his 1968 lecture where he read from his essay “Perils in Literature” as well as shared some memories from his childhood through the Yiddish Book Center

Saul Bellow won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. He was the winner of many other accolades and awards over his long career. He has long been recognized as both a great American writer and one of the best writers of the 20th century. Major themes in his writing included Jewish life and identity. His writings continue to have an impact on literature to this day.

This year’s JBM Keynote is with Michael Bar Zohar who will be speaking about his novel The Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service on November 4th, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. For tickets and more information about the keynote contact our ticket line at 514-345-6416.

The This Week in Jewish Public Library History blog series was made possible through the generous support of the Peter and Ellen Jacobs Virtual Archives Fund.

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