Daniel Silva returns to JCC BookFest July 14
Photos: Courtesy
Robert Steinfeld will return to the Dallas Jewish BookFest on July 14, 2024.

By Deb Silverthorn

There is no mystery when it comes to the opening event of the 2024 Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest, presented by the J and Central Market with support of the Jewish Book Council. Daniel Silva returns to share “A Death in Cornwall” in conversation with Dallas resident Robert Steinfeld at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 14, in the Zale Auditorium at the J.

“Daniel is a favorite and our BookFest guests have enjoyed him for years. Each book leaves us ready for the next and we’re all waiting to get into this one,” said Rachelle Weiss Crane, the JCC’s director of Israel engagement and Jewish living as well as producer of the J’s BookFest and its Jewish Film Festivals.

The BookFest is chaired By Marcy Helfand. “We have a committee of readers which dedicates themselves to reading so many titles, to meeting authors and culling our schedule to the very best,” Weiss Crane said. “Every year it’s an honor to work together and bring a variety of such talent to our Dallas audience.”

In “A Death in Cornwall,” Silva’s Gabriel Allon returns for a 24th tale of the legendary art restorer and assassin with a career as chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. It is set against the backdrop of a British political scandal and a Conservative Party leadership contest. “Ironically,” says the author, “this book will be released on July 9 and the UK general elections are on July 4. If the polls are true, it’ll be historic and here’s my book out just then.”

The Jewish BookFest summer presentation of “A Death in Cornwall” brings author Daniel Silva in conversation with Dallas’ own Robert Steinfeld on Sunday, July 14, 2024.

Allon is in London for a gallery reception to celebrate the return of a stolen Van Gogh self-portrait. He is called to help with a murder investigation of an Oxford art history professor who’d been searching for a Picasso that once belonged to a French Jewish businessman and collector who’d been deported to Auschwitz and murdered.

Calling himself “just the stenographer” of his characters’ lives, putting them down on paper, the author feels close to the characters he has created.

“All of my characters, many beloved and returning to appear now, seem very real to me,” said Silva, whose story is now set in the county of Cornwall, England, host to a village where Allon took refuge after the bombing that killed his first family. “I try to write about them as though they were real people who just happened to live their lives on the pages of my novels.

“I love sharing them and reconnecting with the public,” he said. “The opportunity to be back on the road, to see my readers face-to-face, is wonderful. Dallas’ JCC has always been a great place to visit, and I love that it’s just days after the book’s release.”

Silva says Allon is happiest standing in front of a 400-year-old painting with a brush in his hand, yet trouble always seems to find him. This novel of murder, power and insatiable greed has Allon pursuing a powerful and dangerous new adversary.

Daniel Silva is shown during his July 25, 2023, appearance with fan Roz Prupes, of blessed memory, who passed away on May 8, 2024.

Silva’s parents, Carol and the late Richard, teachers by profession, instilled in their son a love for adventure. A student of Russian and Soviet history, Silva as a young man relished the works of authors Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway. He hoped to become such a writer. Silva began his career with United Press International in San Francisco and then on the foreign desk in Washington. As a Middle East correspondent, he met his wife and fellow journalist, Jamie Gangel, a CNN special correspondent. The two are parents of twins Lily and Nicholas.

While an executive producer for CNN, Silva wrote “The Unlikely Spy,” the first of his 27 novels. Akin to Allon’s desire to work alone, Silva all but hides away as he pulls out his yellow legal pad and pencils the day after Labor Day each year. He works through usually until the following April, his only distractions being the masters of classical music.

After hosting with Silva in July, Steinfeld, a sports Emmy Award-winning producer, director and now author, will be in the spotlight this fall. The mic will change hands Wednesday, Oct. 30, when Norm Hitzges interviews Steinfeld about his debut tome, “3…2…1… We’re on the Air,” available now for preorder.

“Daniel Silva works a 12-hour day dedicated to his writing. We’ll talk about his process, his inspiration and all of it. I promise no one will leave disappointed in this program,” said Steinfeld. “Many of the J’s guests have been Silva fans from the start and I want them to learn something new. He’s fascinating. We’re all in for a great afternoon.”

At press time, additional BookFest events scheduled to resume in November include Lynda Cohen Loigman’s “The Love Elixir” on Friday, Nov. 1; Chef Moshe Basson’s “The Eucalyptus Cookbook” on Wednesday, Nov. 6; and Amir Tibon with “The Gates of Gaza” on Monday, Nov. 11.

For more information or to register for events or sponsorship opportunities, visit jccdallas.org/main/bookfest or call 214-239-7128.

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