Author: Bram Presser

In the original manuscript of The Book of Dirt, when Jakub and his friends are farewelling Jiri Langer at the pub, Langer gets into an argument with Pavel Stein (a character who, alas, remains on the cutting room floor). Stein is angry that Langer would abandon his homeland in pursuit of a fool's errand. To make his point, Stein tells the old Hassidic story of Eisek Yekls, knowing that Langer himself had used it in his book, The Nine Gates. You might recognise it as the story on which Paolo Coelho based The Alchemist. *** “L’chaim!” Josef thrust his glass forward awkwardly, hoping to avoid further argument. “To my brother and his ever-shifting ideals! To the last, great wandering Jew.” “He’ll be back.” Stein would not let go. “Jiří knows all too well what is written in the Talmud: If somebody tells you I have looked but did not find, do not believe him. And if he tells you I did not look but I have found, also do not believe him. But if he tells you: I have looked and I have found, you must believe him for he speaks the truth. Yes, after the war he’ll return. Mark my words.” Jiři blushed....

It's been far too long since I posted here but it's all been certifiably nuts at the moment so I'm glad to have some quiet time to let you know what's been going on. I recently had a great little trip over to New York for the National Jewish Book Awards. Was an absolute thrill to receive the Goldberg Prize for Debut Fiction in person, and to meet so many awesome people.   While I was there, I did a couple of ace podcasts with people who, I will now say with considerable confidence, are better than New York pastrami. Yeah, THAT awesome. Check 'em out here.   I've also had a couple of pieces published.  The first, at Electric Literature, is on awesome, obscure Holocaust novels you may have never heard about but should totally check out. The other, at LitHub, had me reflecting on what got me started on The Book of Dirt. Huge thanks also to Curt Schleier for his feature on my chequered punk past and the National Jewish Book Award that was syndicated in papers internationally, including in USA, Canada, UK and Israel. Lots of big stuff coming soon! Hopefully I won't be quite so slack keeping you in...

I've recently done two great podcast interviews that I'm excited to share with you. First up is Words and Nerds, where Dani and I chatted all things writing, memory, family and mythology. You can check it out here! Also, while I was in America, I sat down with the legendary David Wilk for Writerscast, which you can listen to here....

Having a ball on this wild American ride, and to finish it off I'll be going back to my punk DIY roots for a double header pop-up book launch with MaNishtana, thanks to the excellent people at Hevria. Come down to Luminescence - 268 Brooklyn Ave, Crown Heights, Brooklyn - this Sunday (Oct 28)  at 7pm and celebrate the launch of The Book of Dirt and the brilliantly titled Ariel Samson: Freelance Rabbi. It's free, it's got the awesome Matthue Roth doing his magical thing and it's going to be totally great. ...

My short run of American starts tomorrow with the awesome Franklin Park Reading Series. Come down and hear me along with Ben Marcus, RO Kwon, Samantha Hunt, Dan Sheehan and Amanda Stern. For full schedule head to forthcoming events....

Exciting arrival in the mail! I finally got my hands on the Chinese edition of The Book of Dirt. I loved the cover when I first saw it on email, but I wasn't prepared for how beautiful the book itself would be. Thanks so much to my Chinese publishers Kuwei for the love they clearly put in to producing and publishing my book. I hope to make it to China some day soon! In other awesome news, The Book of Dirt has just been long listed for The Voss Prize alongside some of Australia's heaviest literary hitters. Big congrats to all the long listees. It's an absolute honour to be there amongst them!...

In a totally unexpected and exciting turn of events, The Book of Dirt was long listed for the Waverley Library Award for Literature. Fondly known as The Nib, the award was established in 2002 to recognise the role of research in fiction and non-fiction. You can read the full list and get more information about the Nib here....

I'm absolutely thrilled to reveal the Chinese cover for The Book of Dirt, which will be published soon by the lovely people at Kuwei Publishing. ...