Jerusalem International Book Forum: Katz Is Now Director

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Jerusalem International Book Forum opens applications for its Birger Fellowship and names new roles for Yoel Makov and Sharon Katz.

A discussion onstage at the 2022 edition of the Jerusalem International Book Forum. Speakers in this session on challenges facing book fairs were, from left, Frankfurter Buchmesse’s Juergen Boos; Thessaloniki International Book Fair’s Nopi Chatzigeorgiou; moderator Ziv Lewis of Kinneret Zmora Publishing House; Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s Elena Pasoli; and Bokmässan Göteborg’s Frida Edman. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Deadline for Zev Birger Applications: September 15
A biennial industry-facing event in world publishing, the Jerusalem International Book Forum has announced that its 2024 dates are set for May 26 to 29.

The highly regarded Zev Birger Editorial Fellowship program that runs parallel to the forum will start and end earlier and later, as is the tradition, running May 24 to 30.

The Birger Fellowship is also an industry-facing program with more than 600 alumni from many years of operation. Book-business professionals who would like to apply may now do so at the forum’s site, through September 15. Application forms and information are there.

The program, named after its founder and sponsored by the George von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group since its inception in 1985, is a professional seminar that attracts some 30 editors, publishers, agents, and scouts from many parts of the world to Jerusalem during each forum, after being selected by committees of experienced publishing professionals.

Penguin Random House also has served a crucial role in the fellowship’s development, by supporting many alumni of the fellowship in making a return to the Jerusalem International Book Forum.

Once more the forum is expected to be coordinated with the Mishkenot Sha’ananim International Writers Festival.

Managerial Announcements

Many of our readers are well familiar with the patient and meticulous work of Sharon Katz, PhD, who has been a mainstay of both the Forum’s new evocation—which premiered in 2019—and of its previous iterations starting in 2016. Prior to that, he was with the Jerusalem-based Deborah Harris Agency that has been a major partner of the reconstituted forum’s outreach.

The news provided to Publishing Perspectives today (June 5) is that Katz now is moving into the directorial role.

With Katz as director, the face of the forum for many, Yoel Makov, becomes its chairperson, stepping away from the director’s role, which he has held since the death of Zev Birger for whom the fellowship is named.

Returning as artistic director, Hadar Makov Hasson will work with Katz, once more handling the demanding curation of all panels, discussions, and workshops.

On making his move to the role of chair, Makov says, “The time has come for me to pass on the baton, so to speak, and I do so with great calm and confidence.

Yoel Makov

“Sharon and I have been working together for a few years now in wonderful synergy. I very much enjoy our professional dialogue and friendship. I look forward to continuing our mutual work, from here on, with a little less weight on my shoulders.

“Just to be clear, I’m not saying goodbye or breaking away from the project, which has been a personal and professional passion of mine for so many years. I’m simply moving to a position from which I can contribute, in a slightly different capacity. I already look forward to greeting our friends, old and new, at the 2024 JIBF.”

For his part, Katz says, “Looking at my predecessors like Yoel Makov and Zev Birger before him, I’m truly honored to succeed such gifted individuals.

Sharon Katz

“Thinking of all the people who take part in this gathering and make it so special, I’m very moved and grateful for being given the opportunity to carry the JIBF legacy and tradition forward.

“I am particularly thankful to Yoel and Hadar, and look forward to continue working alongside them.”

And Makov Hasson says, “I’m looking forward to once again joining the wonderful and committed Jerusalem International Book Forum team and to producing another exciting book forum in the beautiful Jerusalem landscape.

Hadar Makov Hasson

“The past two forums proved that there’s real interest and desire among industry veterans, as well as newcomers, to convene, discuss, debate, and dive into the topics that are at the heart of publishing today.

“From panels to workshops to tours and informal meetings, we’re excited to meet new and old friends and to take the time to carefully consider and observe our day-to-day work and relationships within the inviting and friendly environment of the forum, alongside the Zev Birger Editorial Fellowship.”


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Jerusalem International Book Forum is here, more from us on publishing conferences is here, and more on the Zev Birger Editorial Fellowship is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.