Zoe Heller and “The Believers” at the DCJCC Jewish Literary Festival

Zoe Heller reads from her novel, "The Believers", at the DCJCC Jewish Literary Festival / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

Zoe Heller reads from her novel, "The Believers", at the DCJCC Jewish Literary Festival / photo taken by Rachel Mauro

The quick unraveling of a radical leftist family took center stage in Zoe Heller’s “The Believers,” (my Goodreads review; contains spoilers) a book I loved so much that I just had to hear her speak at the DCJCC as part of the Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival on Tuesday evening. 😛

After speaking around an hour with Senior Editor of The Washington Post Book World Ron Charles about everything from the motivation to write this story to aspects of her own life to an upcoming movie deal, the packed audience got to query the author as well. I found Heller to be down to Earth yet on target when talking about her own characters, many of whom were “unlikeable,” as she always seemed to find something redeeming in them and treated their differences of opinion with respect, no matter her own views.

A journalist originally hailing from England with very little “official” creative writing instruction, I nevertheless admired her ability to see past the need for happy endings or unambiguous characters, and deliver us a story that is as rich and real emotionally as it is in its language. I’m sure that anyone from staff to the audience could tell you it was a real treat.

For more information about upcoming litfest events (still eight days left!) click here.

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