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Volunteer Andrea enjoys a reading from author Nadia Kalman at a Jewish Lit Live event.

Nadia Kalman, author of The Cosmopolitans, spoke to students in George Washington University’s Jewish Lit Live class (and to anyone else who was lucky enough to check the Washington Post’s Going Out Guide and discover that Ms. Kalman was in town).

The author, luminous and animated, read from her work to an attentive crowd. The Cosmopolitans is the story of the Molochniks, Jews who fled the Soviet Union and landed in Stamford, Connecticut. Ms. Kalman’s four samples from the novel, including one requested by the audience, generally traced the wry-eyed life journey of Milla, though many family perspectives are included in this entertaining and insightful book. For me, listening to an author read from her work is a far richer experience than reading it myself. The pauses. The inflections. The smiles. The throaty Ukrainian pronunciations. At the end of her reading, Ms. Kalman took questions from the audience and even stuck around to chat with the Potomac Review blog staff. Look for more from Ms. Kalman as part of an upcoming author interview.

Jewish Lit Live organizers claim that this course is the only one of its kind in the country. Students read the works of contemporary Jewish authors, and GWU arranges for those authors to read from their work and speak with students.

Here’s what the rest of the Jewish Lit Live schedule looks like:

March 1: Nicole Krauss, “The History of Love”
March 22: Pearl Abraham, “The Romance Reader”
April 10: Erica Jong, “Fear of Flying”
April 24: Bel Kaufman, “Up the Down Staircase”

The Washington Post’s Going Out Guide should have more as the dates approach. Nadia’s Kalman’s reading was at 7:00pm on the 3rd floor of the GWU’s Marvin Center.

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