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September 18, 2008 - Image 64

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-09-18

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Stories Of Identity

Israeli-born author's tales focus on being caught between cultures.

Suzanne Chessler

Special to the Jewish News


hen Danit Brown first read the
story of Cinderella, she knew
what her everlasting dream
would be — not finding Prince Charming,
but becoming a writer of stories.
That dream came true more quickly than
she expected as her works of short fiction
were published in literary journals and a col-
lection of tales merged into her just-released
first book, Ask for a Convertible (Pantheon;
The collection, taking from her family's
experiences after moving from Israel to the
United States, emerges with themes larger
than her own religious identity
"I was just trying to examine the experi-
ence of being caught between cultures, not
being Jewish specifically;' says Brown, 36,
married and awaiting the birth of her sec-
ond child as of the first week in September.
"I think the question of how you find your
place in the world is one that people have to
answer for themselves, regardless of back-
Brown's stories of identity have some
recurring characters as they address differ-

ent issues at different times
in their lives.
Osnat, first introduced
as a young Jewish Israeli
girl seeking connection in
her new Ann Arbor envi-
ronment, later is revealed
meeting the Christian fam-
ily of her fiance. Another
young woman, going off to
college, deals with her par-
ents' separation and probes
how and why she avoided
the signs of the breakup.
Ann Arbor-based author
"When I started writing
Danit Brown
this, I didn't know it was
going to be a collection:'
says Brown, at home in Ann Arbor. "I was
Disappointed with a technical career, she
hoping I would end up with a novel, but that
earned a graduate degree in writing from
seemed like such a tremendous undertaking. Indiana University and found work teaching
"With a short story, a character's journey
at Albion College, where she continues. After
is shorter, and I can keep it all in my head. I
hours, she sent her stories off to journals.
think of the short story as an easier form to
"The woman who became my agent for
the book saw one of my published stories
With the idea that being a writer was a
and contacted me," explains Brown, whose
dream, Brown took a practical approach
collection mostly spans writing projects pur-
while doing her undergraduate work at
sued between 2001 and 2007.
Oberlin College in Ohio. She focused on
"I have written stories that have nothing to
math and computer science and found work do with being Jewish, but I think my stories
as a computer programmer after graduation. are about people on the margins looking

Nate Bloom

Special to the Jewish News

Emmy Time

The Emmy Awards, for television
excellence, will
be handed out on
Sunday, Sept. 21,
with the ceremony
to be broadcast 8-11
p.m. on ABC.
The Jewish
on-camera nomi-
Jeremy Piven
nees include Kyra
Sedgwick, for best
actress in a drama series (The

Closer); Jeremy Piven (Entourage)
and William Shatner (Boston Legal),

who compete for an Emmy for best
supporting actor in a comedy series;


September 18 2008

Jon Stewart (The Daily Show with
Jon Stewart) and Don Rickles (the
HBO documentary Mr. Warmth), who

vie for the award for best performer
in a variety or musical program; Bob
Balaban, for best supporting actor in
a miniseries or movie (Recount); and
Shelley Berman, for best supporting
actor in a guest role on a comedy

series (Curb Your Enthusiasm).

Competing for
best supporting
actress in a guest
role on a comedy
series are Sarah

Silverman (Monk),
Carrie Fisher (30
Rock) and Polly
Bergen (Desperate

Balaban also was nominated for
best director of the film (Bernard
and Doris); likewise, Silverman
scored a second nod for best original
song for a tune she penned for the

Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Other Jewish nominees include:

Lonny Price, for best director

of a variety or musical program
(Company on PBS); he started as
an actor, playing the nebbishy son
of the resort owner in the film Dirty
Dancing. Danny Strong, for best
original television movie screen-
play (Recount), is a former actor
who played the Jewish character
Jonathan Levinson on Buffy: The

Vampire Slayer. Matthew Weiner,



who won Emmys for writing scripts
for The Sopranos, is the creator, pro-

in. A long time ago, I wrote a story about
Wonder Woman and how she deals with
being on the outskirts of justice as a woman
among men."
Brown, who will be at the center of pro-
grams at this year's Jewish book fairs in
Michigan, is a runner but not as capable as
one of her characters.
"When I first started writing in grade
school, I wrote in Hebrew," she recalls.
"Although I'm fluent in Hebrew, I don't think
I have enough knowledge of the language to
be able to write creatively in it.
"I learned some English in Israel, especial-
ly since my father is Canadian. At this point,
I'm trying to get started on a novel." Li

Danit Brown will speak as part
of the Jewish Community Center
of Metropolitan Detroit's Jewish
Book Fair's Local Author Fair 10
a.m.-noon Sunday, Nov. 9, at the
Jewish Community Center in West
Bloomfield; and as part of the JCC
of Washtenaw County's Jewish Book
Festival's Local Author Fair 10 a.m.-
noon Sunday, Nov. 16, at the JCC of
Washtenaw County.

ducer and head writer of the AMC
cable hit series Mad Men. He is nom-
inated as producer of Mad Men (best
drama series) and for best writer of
a drama series (Mad Men pilot).
In the latter category, Weiner com-
petes with Daniel Zelman, husband
of actress Debra Messing (Damages
pilot). Vying for best nonfiction writ-
ing is Ira Glass (This American Life).

Dancin' Again
Dancing with the Stars, the hit ABC

series, starts its new season 8 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 22. Jewish "stars"
competing this time include come-
dian Jeffrey Ross, 43, best known
as the roast master on Comedy
Central's celebrity roasts, and
actress-model Brooke Burke, 37.

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