Joanne Jowell, Festival Co-director
With an academic background in English and Psychology, and a brief stint in Managing Consulting, Joanne began writing professionally at age 28 when she published her first book, Managing the Quarterlife Crisis: Facing life’s choices in your 20s and 30s (Struik, 2003). Over the course of a Masters degree in Creative Writing (UCT) and numerous subsequent books, Joanne has created a signature style of creative non-fiction, examining the multiple voices that collide in any single biography. These days, she is the author of such bestselling biographies as On the Other Side of Shame: An Extraordinary Account of Adoption and Reunion (Macmillan, 2009), and Winging It: Jonathan Kaplan’s Journey from World-class Ref to Rookie Solo Dad (Macmillan, 2018). Her latest, Zephany: Two mothers, one daughter (Tafelberg, 2019) is her sixth book.
Cindy Moritz, Festival Co-director
Cindy Moritz is a writer and editor who has worked on various magazine titles covering a range of genres including the business of fashion, parenting and women’s lifestyle. She flirted briefly with television production, but spent most of her career in print and then online media. She was educated at Herzlia school in Cape Town and has a B.Journ degree from Rhodes University. Cindy is editor of FMR Bookchoice, a monthly radio book programme, a volunteer guide at the Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Centre, and is currently studying for a Masters in Jewish Education through the London School of Jewish Studies. An predilection for reading Jewish books and discovering Jewish authors led to a fortuitous meeting of similar minds, resulting in the creation and production of the Jewish Literary Festival.
Caryn Gootkin, Marketing/Programming
Caryn Gootkin is a freelance columnist and copy editor who’s recently discovered her voice and chutzpah, both useful for drumming up support for causes she’s passionate about. This die-hard supporter of South Africa in general and local literature in particular uses Twitter to listen (even when it hurts) and talk (especially when others don’t). A serial committee member, she serves on the Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council), the Board of Mensch, and is actively involved with Souper Troopers.
Beryl Eichenberger has lived in Cape Town for nearly four decades and from 2000 to 2015 carved a niche for herself and her company HIPPO Communications in the competitive Public Relations industry. ‘Semi -retiring’ in 2015 has allowed this energetic ‘seenager’ and self- confessed bookaholic to use her experience in retail, media and PR to pursue the projects she really loves, most of which involve books and literature.
Vanessa Valkin, Programming and Fundraising
Vanessa Valkin has been a journalist and editor for over 20 years. Most recently, she served as the Editor of the national, Jewish weekly newspaper, the South African Jewish Report She has worked as a journalist for the British Financial Times in the New York bureau and as the editor of a philanthropy magazine in Toronto. She has an honours degree in clinical psychology from Wits and a MA in Journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. With a love of reading and writing and a boldness for asking people for fundraising money, she was thrilled to get involved with the Jewish Literary Festival.
Vivienne Anstey, Festival non-executive director
Viv Anstey is the Director of the Midrasha Adult Education Institute incorporating the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning and serves on the Cape SA Jewish Board of Deputies. She is the founding member of Limmud South Africa and consults to Jewish organisations on strategy, innovation, change management and lay-professional relations. Viv is passionate about Jewish education and social justice and is currently Director of the Elliot Osrin Leadership Institute.
Jacqui Rodgers, Head Librarian of the Jacob Gitlin Library
Jacqui Rodgers graduated at UCT with a BA degree and Higher Diploma in Library and Information Science. She assisted the Librarian at Weizmann Primary School and then was appointed Teacher Librarian at Tamboerskloof Primary for 16 years. She is passionate about the importance of reading and her interest lies in children’s literature. She is currently Head Librarian of the Jacob Gitlin Library.