GRAPEVINE: A publishing success story

To avoid the frustrations and pitfalls of finding an agent and a publisher, she suggested that today, there’s no shame in writers publishing their own works.

Book 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Book 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
■ JUDGING BY the response that author Anne Kleinberg received to the invitation to attend her first “Pen Polish Publish” workshop to be held in her Caesarea home on May 8, there are a lot of writers who are just itching to get published. Kleinberg, after authoring a couple of cookbooks which were snapped up by publishers, decided that she wanted to write a novel and discovered that publishers were not nearly as enthusiastic about fiction as they were about food.
No slouch, she decided to publish her first novel, Menopause in Manhattan, that she initially sold via Steimatzky at the Jerusalem International Book Fair two years ago. Self-publishing was a trial-and-error experiment which worked in the long run, and Kleinberg happily shared the knowledge she had gained along the way. She encouraged people to write, if they had a mind to do so, and then to get themselves a good editor. To avoid the frustrations and pitfalls of finding an agent and a publisher, she suggested that today, there’s no shame in writers publishing their own works.
At this year’s Jerusalem International Book Fair, she was asked by Shelley Goldman, who co-founded Ang-Lit. Press, to participate in a fair event in which some of the writers of Ang-Lit.’s most recent anthology of short stories, Love in Israel, would read from their works, after which Kleinberg would share her self-publishing story. Kleinberg is as brash New York as they come, but with a great sense of humor. She had everyone present hanging on her every word. Later, she was inundated with questions and requests and concluded that the best way to handle all of them was to host a workshop. She put the details on Facebook on March 10. Within three weeks, she was fully booked, even though the workshop – which includes lunch and meetings with experts – is relatively expensive. The urge to be published and to find out how to do it is obviously more important than the money.
■ PEACE ACTIVIST Robi Damelin, a South African-born Tel Avivian whose 28-year-old son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002 while on IDF reserve duty, wrote a letter to the sniper’s family, saying that all her life, both in South Africa and Israel, she had worked for causes of coexistence. Her son had also been part of the peace movement. After David was killed, his mother started looking for ways to prevent other families – both Israeli and Palestinian – from suffering a similar loss. She became highly involved with the Bereaved Families Forum of Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones as a result of the ongoing strife between the two groups.
She has also traveled the world, often in the company of Palestinians, to convey her message of peace. Eventually, within the framework of her travels, she returned to her native South Africa to study firsthand if the means that resolved the conflict there could be equally effective in Israel. A documentary of her odyssey, directed by Erez and Miri Laufer, won the first “Grand Prix” prize at the Human Rights Film Festival in Paris two months ago. The film, which has been screened at several other film festivals since it was released last year, has received numerous positive reviews, even as it aroused conflicting emotions. It will have three screenings this month in the United States, and one in Kingston, Jamaica, on April 27, where it will be included in the Africa World Documentary Film Festival.
■ THE ASHDOD Municipality has acceded to a request by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation to name a street in memory of Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who while serving as papal nuncio in France, worked in tandem with the Jewish underground, and thereby succeeded in saving untold numbers of Jews from certain death. Before being sent to France, he was the Apostolic delegate to Turkey, and assisted Jewish refugees arriving in Istanbul in making their way to Palestine. He also intervened on behalf of a group of Slovakian Jewish children, who as a result were able to leave Slovakia. By interceding with people in high places, he was able to get Bulgarian and Romanian Jews out of their native countries. He also provided baptismal certificates for Hungarian Jews, thereby saving their lives.
Roncalli later became pope John XXIII. Baruch Tenenbaum, the founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, proposed as far back as 2008 that Roncalli receive recognition as Righteous Among the Nations. The Ashdod Municipality is doing the next best thing by naming a street after him.