Booker Prize Nominee Eve Harris Recalls Chiswick Childhood

Her first novel about a Jewish family is in line-up for top literary prize


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A novel by a writer who grew up in Chiswick has been selected for the long list of the 2013 Man Booker literary award.

The Marrying Of Chani Kaufman is the first novel by Eve Harris, who grew up (as Eve Kimerling) in Hartington Road in Grove Park until she left aged twenty-three.

The book, which has gone into reprint following last week's announcement, tells the story of 19-year old Chani who lives in an ultra orthodox Jewish community in north London and is about to marry a boy she hardly knows. The book was inspired by Eve's time teaching at an all girls' ultra-Orthodox Jewish school in North West London.

The novel, which depicts the "conflict between traditional religion and the contemporary world" is now available on Kindle and will be in paperback in early August. The announcement has been a major boost for the tiny Scottish publishers, Sandstone Press, who have increased the print run from 1,000 to 4,000.

Eve told that although she now lives in Hampstead with her husband Jules and one-year old daughter Rosie, she has fond memories of Chiswck and particularly of Strand on the Green area.

"I adore Strand-on-the-Green and really miss it, especially the beautiful old, crooked houses that line the river. I lived in Chiswick for the first 23 years of my life - although I did go to university in Birmingham and then Oxford."

Eve was born at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in Stamford Brook in 1973 to Israeli-Polish parents and the family lived in Hartington Road. She attended Chiswick and Bedford Park Preparatory followed by Godolphin and Latymer School For Girls in Hammersmith before leaving for university.

Eve taught for 12 years at inner-city comprehensives and independent schools in London and also in Tel Aviv, after moving to Israel in 1999. She returned to London in 2002 to resume teaching at an all girls' Catholic convent school.

As well as writing, Eve teaches Creative Writing at CAST, a charity offering education, training and employment advice to women offenders, women at risk of offending and women with mental health or substance misuse problems.

" I do still think of Stand-on-the-Green and get wistful for the pubs there, especially in the summer. Nothing better than sitting with your legs dangling over the river wall on a hot day and watching the flotsam and jetsam float by.  I really must go back and visit."

There are thirteen novels on the longlist for the £50,000 prize, whitted down by the judges from 151 titles and Eve is one of three first-timers this year along with Irish writer Donal Ryan and NoViolet Bulawayo. The winner will be announced in October.

July 26, 2013

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