Literary Losses and Gains in Jewish DC

Graphic courtesy of

Wednesday evening instead of going home, I spent a couple of hours at Politics and Prose. This was a momentous occasion for two reasons. First, a NaNoWriMo group was forming for serious (or perhaps crazy) writers in the Washington area. Secondly—and I know I risk being run out of town for this—I’d never been to DC’s famed, independent bookstore before. What can I say; being carless, I was a little afraid of the commute. :”> But when the NaNoWriMo group popped up, I knew I had to give it a go.

Turns out this week won’t just be remembered by me, but by Politics and Prose as well. Last Monday, bookstore cofounder Carla Cohen died at 74. You might have read the lengthy obituary in the Washington Post. The funeral was held Wednesday afternoon at Tifereth Israel and the store was even closed for a few hours before I got there.

Cohen was known as an enthusiastic salesperson, an avid reader and blunt with her opinions. My friend, Famin, reminisced about how she would attempt to talk people out of their purchases if she didn’t like a tome, as well as her zeal for bringing Indian writers to speak at the bookstore.

Even though I had never set foot in Politics and Prose before, I was very familiar with the place, having attended several readings offsite with Jewish authors. Even tomorrow at 7 pm, the bookstore is teaming up with Sixth & I to present David Grossman, lately author of “To The End of the Land.” DC-based Moment Magazine just featured a review of the novel; click here to read it.

Politics and Prose is also a sponsor of the upcoming DCJCC Hyman S. & Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival. Click here to read my earlier promo for this event starting Oct. 17.

My thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Cohen’s family, for this wonderful woman who bestowed so many literary gifts onto the Washington, DC community. May her memory always be for a blessing.

One thought on “Literary Losses and Gains in Jewish DC

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