Festival guest: Jake Wallis Simons

Jake’s second novel, The English German Girl, has been getting a lot of attention lately, and deservedly so. It opens in Berlin the day after Hitler comes to power and centres on Rosa, a middle class Jewish girl living in the city. Obviously, we have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen to her and her family, and one of the book’s strengths is using that knowledge to build an almost unbearable tension between the reader and these characters, who have no concept of the horror that’s about to befall them until it’s almost too late.

Rosa escapes to England on one of the Kindertransports (the evacuation of Jewish children from Nazi-occupied countries between December 1938 and the outbreak of war), but the borders close before she can arrange for the rest of her family to join her. She is left, aged 16, in a strange land at war with her homeland.

Fiction Uncovered chose The English German Girl as one of its eight handpicked recommendations for this year, and you might have spotted the book in Waterstone’s’ current ‘Next big thing’ promotion. Monica Ali called it

“Fascinating and moving”

and Love Reading described it as

“Every bit as compelling as Schindler’s List… It is a story powerfully told, demanding your complete attention, involving you in a story of heartbreak, love and loss.”

So we are clearly heavily chuffed to welcome Jake to Lewisham in September. You can read more about Jake and his first book, The Exiled Times of a Tibetan Jew, on his website – which also has videos, audio clips from his radio appearances and articles he’s written.

Jake will be appearing with Samantha Harvey on Monday 12th September. See the events page for more details.

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  1. Pingback: Festival guest: Samantha Harvey | Lewisham Literary Festival

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