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Jewish Festival of the Book Concluded with Local Authors Reading

[by Phyllis Shaikun]

On Thursday evening, November 17, an overflow crowd attended the Local Authors Reading at The Bard’s Town for the final entry in this year’s successful Jewish Community of Louisville’s Jewish Festival of the Book series held from November 2-17. Presenting authors during the evening included Beth Adler, Kay Gill, Michael Jackman, Michele Ruby and Bob Sachs.

Beth Adler holds a masters degree in fine arts (MFA) from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has published a story that was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, which honors the best poetry, short fiction, essays and other literary works published over the previous year. She writes short stories and read one of her humorous works, “Bris,” to an appreciative audience.

Kay Gill graduated from Indiana University with a major in journalism and this year received an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University’s Brief Residency Program. After years of freelance writing and editing, she turned her attention to fiction and discussed her first novel, “Mirel’s Daughter,” at the Festival of the Book series in 2006. During this program, she did a reading from the book, which is based on the story of her mother’s escape as a young girl from the pogroms in the Ukraine following World War I and the Russian Revolution and her coming to America. Gill is currently working on her second novel, “Magic City.”

Michael Jackman has a master’s degree in creative writing and literature from the University of Louisville and is a published poet, essayist and fiction writer. He is a lecturer in writing at Indiana University Southeast and is director of the Writers Workshop Project. He also organizes the IU Southeast Writing Contest and Gala and is an editorial advisor to the college’s magazine. For four years, he was a weekly commentator on WFPL-FM and on Kentucky Public Radio and wrote two scripts for folk singer John Gage’s radio show, Kentucky Homefront. He received a Louisville Distinguished Citizen’s Award for chronicling his 2000 trip to Nepal and his Technicalities column was published in Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina.

Mickey Ruby received an MFA in fiction from Spalding University and has published stories in many national magazines and journals, including Lilith, The Adirondack Review (Fulton Prize finalist) and the Louisville Review and Los Angeles Review.

She also writes poetry, which has appeared in The Atlanta Review and CT Review, Margie, Rhino and other journals. She teaches fiction writing as well as linguistics, fairy tales and mythology at Bellarmine University and has long been involved in community theater. She read her story, “Sound Effects,” which was published in Lilith and is part of a collection of stories about local theatre people.

Bob Sachs received an MFA in writing from Spalding University in 2009 and was a semi-finalist in the 19th Consecutive New Millennium Writing Competition. He is a three-time winner for short fiction in the graduate division of the Kentuckiana Metroversity Writing Contest and was a finalist in the Glimmer Train 2009 Short Story Award for New Writers. He has had eight stories published or honored. Sachs read a story entitled “Somewhere in the Heart of Rome,” about a man from Chicago who takes a trip to Rome and becomes involved with two young women – one from New York and the other a native of Rome.

The authors were pleased with the chance to be part of the Festival this year and Sachs reported that he and the others consider the Bard’s Town a “perfect venue” for the readings. The small stage, microphone and music stand cum lectern was all they needed.

“The place was packed,” he noted, “and it was nice to see so many familiar faces. A good mix of poetry, nonfiction, a selection from a novel and two short fiction pieces elicited a fantastic response from the audience and the time seemed to fly by.” With so many talented writers in Louisville, Sachs thanked the Jewish Community of Louisville for including the five as part of this year’s program.

The event was co-sponsored by the Writers Workshop Project.

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