Writers T-Z

marianne thammMarianne Thamm

I have life: Alison’s journey; Shooting the moon: a hostage story; When all else falls away: The Nigel Fairhead story

Marianne Thamm is an editor, best-selling author, columnist and journalist who has worked for a variety of national and international publications over the past 25 years. She is currently Assistant Editor of the Daily Maverick.
JLF Sessions: (1) The changing face of media (Marianne Thamm talks to Gus Silber and Ray Joseph); (2) ‘Letters of Stone’: The burden of history on children (Marianne Thamm talks to Steven Robins)


Rabbi ThurgoodRabbi Sam Thurgood 

Rabbi Sam Thurgood was born in Johannesburg and grew up in Durban. He studied under Rabbi Azriel Chaim Goldfein ztz”l at the Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg where he received smicha in 2008. He has years of teaching experience in Johannesburg and Durban, and is grateful and proud to serve as the Rabbi of Beit Midrash Morasha where he recently undertook the creation of an inviting and inspiring library of Jewish books.
JLF Sessions: (1) So many books, so little space on the bookshelf; (2) What makes a book Jewish? (panel with Anne Landsman, Marcia Leveson, Rabbi Sam Thurgood, moderated by Dennis Davis)


Aron Turest-Swartz 

Aron is a music producer and social entrepreneur. In 2002, he started the band Freshlyground – the most successful multi-cultural band to come out of post-Apartheid South Africa. After leaving the band he collaborated with Larry Joe – an ex-convict, gangster and drug addict – recording an album in a prison cell and doing interactive workshops with over 100 000 high school students nationally. He is Deputy Director of the United Jewish Campaign in Cape Town.
JLF Session: Manipulation vs Inspiration: The life-changing effect of the Larry Joe story (Joanne Jowell and Aron Turest-Swartz)


Vanessa ValkinVanessa Valkin 

Vanessa Valkin is the editor of the South African Jewish Report. She has a BA Honours degree in clinical psychology from Wits and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago. She has been a journalist and editor for 20 years having worked at CNN, written for financial publications in the USA and edited a Jewish philanthropy magazine in Toronto. Prior to the Jewish Report, she served as Director of the Herzlia Schools Foundation.
JLF Session: Community papers: Keeping it parev while maintaining the juice (Lisa Chait talks to Janna Joseph, Lindy Diamond and Vanessa Valkin)


Meg vd MerweMeg Van der merwe

This place I call home; Zebra crossing

Meg is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and English Literature at UWC. Her two works of fiction, This Place I Call Home and Zebra Crossing were highly praised by critics,with the UK Guardian naming it as one of the Top 10 books about migrants in 2015. She is writing a new novel, The Woman of the Stone Sea, set in a West Coast fishing village, and is the Editor of local literary magazine New Contrast.
JLF Session: The Ethics of imagining ‘the other’: A Jewish writer’s perspective


joy wilkinJoy Wilkin

Joy was born in Cape Town to a family that valued Yiddish culture, language and literature. They belonged to the Yiddish Kulturfederazie, a vibrant organisation that presented Yiddish plays at least twice a year, in which she participated with her parents, Sadee and Goodman Ishlove. She taught High School, and now practises as an advocate. Joy serves on the committee of The Service Dining Rooms and is Trustee of the Cape Town Concert Series Trust.
JLF Session: Storytelling through Yiddish theatre (panel with Zola Piatka, Veronica Belling, moderated by Joy Wilkin)


Rahla Xenopoulos photoRahla Xenopoulos

A tale of love and madness; Bubbles; Tribe

Rahla Xenopoulos is the author of A Memoir of Love and Madness and the novel Bubbles. Many of her short stories have been published in magazines and in Women Flashing, Twist and Just Keep Breathing. She lives in Cape Town.
JLF Sessions: (1) Faribels & foibles in fiction (panel with Rahla Xenopoulos, Rachel Zadok, moderated by Helen Moffatt); (2) Writing taboo (panel with Rahla Xenopoulos, Lesley Swartz, Joanne Jowell, moderated by Adrian Perkel)


theo pics 2Theo Yach 

In my element

Theo Yach has swum 100 times from Robben Island to Cape Town , the English Channel (known as the “gold standard of world ocean swimming”) and the length of Lake Kinneret in solidarity with Israel, all without a wetsuit. He heads up Western Cape Commercial and Industrial acquisitions and developments for Zenprop Property Holdings.  In 2010 was awarded the Mayor’s medal for Civic Service for his contribution towards successfully regenerating Cape Town Central City.
JLF Session: ‘In my Element’: 35 years of ocean swimming — with Martin Goodman


Rachel Zadok

Gem squash tokoloshe; Sister – Sister

Rachel Zadok escaped a career in advertising to write, which she has described as being a little like running away to join a circus without a safety net. She has published two novels: Gem Squash Tokoloshe and Sister-sister. She writes novels and short stories as a form of self-torment; and articles, blogs and advertising copy for money. She also runs a project called Short Story Day Africa that promotes and mentors other people’s writing.
JLF Session: (1) Faribels & foibles in fiction (Helen Moffett talks to Marilyn Cohen-de Villiers, Rahla Xenopolous and Rachel Zadok); (2) What goes into making a long story short? (Helen Moffett talks to Diane Awerbuck and Rachel Zadok)