Jerusalem International Book Forum Delays Its Next Edition to 2025

In News by Porter Anderson

‘It’s essential not to compromise the secure, safe, and open atmosphere’ of the Jerusalem International Book Forum, says its director Sharon Katz on announcing a postponement to May 2025.

At the 2019 edition of the Jerusalem International Book Forum during a break in the programming. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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

‘The Richness of the Experience’
In a digital event for alumni of the Zev Birger Editorial Fellowship and several guests of the Jerusalem International Book Forum this morning (March 4), the program’s director, Sharon Katz made public the news that the 2024 edition, originally planned for May 26 to 29 this year, will be delayed to May 2025, with specific dates to come.

In communicating with Publishing Perspectives, Katz said, “Owing to the current situation in Israel and the region, we have had to continuously assess and reassess our plans to hold the Jerusalem International Book Forum (JIBF) and the Zev Birger Editorial Fellowship program in 2024.

“For the forum to take place in the manner which many have had the chance to enjoy and benefit from, it’s essential not to compromise the secure, safe, and open atmosphere the JIBF is known for, the richness of the experience, and the variety, volume, and impact of the people who come to the JIBF and make it such a special event.

Sharon Katz

“After a lengthy and careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that we have no choice but to delay the forum by a whole year, and hold it again in May 2025.”

As many of our readers know, the Birger Fellowship, sponsored by the George von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, has more than 600 alumni from its operation, which began in 1985. It’s a highly regarded program that attracts some 30 editors, publishers, agents, and scouts from many parts of the world to Jerusalem during the forum, which has been operating on a biennial schedule.

Yoel Makov

The Jerusalem International Book Forum itself made its debut in its redeveloped format in 2019.

Prior to that year, its predecessor, the Jerusalem International Book Fair, had been a very successful and primarily public-facing event.

With the reformulation to what is now the Jerusalem International Book Forum, Katz—along with Yoel Makov, now the program’s chair, and artistic director Hadar Makov-Hasson—have created an intensive conference for many in publishing’s leadership, focused every other year on some of the industry’s most pressing events and flanked by the Birger Fellowship as well as a collaboration with the Mishkenot Sha’ananim International Writers Festival.

This year, we’re told, that writers’ festival is expected to go forward because its audience is mostly local, while the JIBF of course requires a broad international turnout of speakers and participants.

Hadar Makov Hasson

The forum (and previously the fair) is also the venue in which the also-biennial Jerusalem Prize has been awarded since 1963 to writers including Bertrand Russell, Eugène Ionesco, Simone de Beauvoir, Graham Greene, Don DeLillo, Susan Sontag, Arthur Miller, and most recently Joyce Carol Oates and Julian Barnes. The prize is intended to honor a writer whose work promotes the concept of “freedom of the individual in society.”

Prior to this announcement, the forum has encountered some difficulty maintaining its biennial schedule—through no fault of its own, of course—first because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and now in light of the current situation.

“We look forward,” Katz tells us, “to welcoming back to Jerusalem in 2025 our dear friends and many other fascinating people, so we can hold the forum and the fellowship program in the conditions they deserve for their potential to be fully realized.”

More on the Jerusalem International Book Forum is at its site.

Onstage at the opening of the 2022 Jerusalem International Book Forum, the Finalé Quartet performs before author Julian Barnes is confirmed winner of the Jerusalem Prize. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

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 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.