Writing: is it good for the Jews?
Jonny Geller Interview

Writing: is it good for the Jews?

Jonny Geller is the hot London literary agent. But now he has crossed to the other side and written a humorous and highly Jewish book. Jenni Frazer discovers the many sides of this former actor and door-to-door salesman

So Jonny Geller, star London literary agent for the likes of Vikram Seth and Tracy Chevalier, was at a Penguin publishers’ sales reps meeting where he was pitching a new book — his own. The title: “Yes, But Is It Good For The Jews?” He sensed embarrassment among the reps. “I think there’s an elephant in the room,” Geller said. “It’s the word ‘Jew’.”

He decided to free the reps of their discomfort. “I want you to find your inner Jew,” he declared. “After three, I want you all to shout ‘Jew!’ at me.” As he recounts it now, “They all looked at me, and then they did it. They shouted ‘Jew!’”

It could, thought Geller, have all gone horribly wrong. Fortunately for his peace of mind — and possibly his future credibility in publishing — the reps cracked up laughing. “Yes, But Is It Good For The Jews?” was born, says Geller, out of his response to being Jewish in Britain:


  • 8 September, 2006