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Debut Novel Next in Literatour Berks

by The Jewish Federation of Reading

Debut Novel Next in Literatour Berks

The Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks in partnership with Exeter Community Library announce the second author of the third season of Literatour Berks, a community-wide celebration with 14 events featuring authors, celebrities, and cultural influencers throughout Berks County. The public is invited to an evening with Jai Chaktabarti, author of A Play for the End of the World on Monday, October 11 at 7 p.m. at Exeter Community Library, 4569 Prestwick Drive, Reading, PA.

Jai Chakrabarti’s short fiction has appeared in numerous journals and has been anthologized in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, and awarded a Pushcart Prize. Chakrabarti was an Emerging Writer Fellow with A Public Space and received his MFA from Brooklyn College. He was born in Kolkata, India, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York with his family. “A Play for the End of the World” is his first novel.

Set in early 1970’s New York and rural India—the story of a turbulent, unlikely romance, a harrowing account of the lasting horrors of the Second World War, and a searing examination of one man’s search for forgiveness and acceptance.

New York City, 1972. Jaryk Smith, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, and Lucy Gardner, a southerner, newly arrived in the city, are in the first bloom of love when they receive word that Jaryk’s oldest friend has died under mysterious circumstances in a rural village in eastern India.

Travelling there alone to collect his friend’s ashes, Jaryk soon finds himself enmeshed in the chaos of local politics and efforts to stage a play in protest against the government—the same play that he performed as a child in Warsaw as an act of resistance against the Nazis. Torn between the survivor’s guilt he has carried for decades and his feelings for Lucy (who, unbeknownst to him, is pregnant with his child), Jaryk must decide how to honor both the past and the present, and how to accept a happiness he is not sure he deserves.

The community is invited to the Exeter Community Library on Monday, October 11 at 7 p.m. for an evening with Chakrabarti.  After the discussion Chakrabarti will be signing copies of his book which will be on sale courtesy of Reads & Company Bookshop of Phoenixville, the official book vendor of Literatour Berks. The event is free and open to the public however reservations are required. To reserve a spot please visit or call 610-406-9431. Masks are encouraged for attendees and required for the book singing.

Literatour Berks is a community program that will bring 14 authors in exciting programs from September 2021 to May 2022 to Berks County, in-person and virtually. Now in its third season, Literatour Berks is presented by Jewish Federation of Reading/Berks in partnership with Exeter Community Library. A complete list of authors and topics can be found at Additional support in the form of community patrons is acknowledged and appreciated.