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Jonathan Lichtenstein

Jonathan Lichtenstein is Professor of Drama in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex.

An award-winning playwright, Jonathan trained at Bretton Hall. His first stage play Station opened at the Soho Theatre in London in 2000. His following two plays, Moving the Scrolls and Human Rights, were both broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

His stage play The Pull of Negative Gravity, about the burden placed on the families of soldiers suffering from P.T.S.D., opened at the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Festival in 2004. The play transferred to the Colchester Mercury Theatre Studio and then to 59E59 Theatre in New York, and has since been produced in Sydney, Washington and Florida and in repertoire as Überwindung der Schwerkraftat the Dresden Staatsschauspiel.

His play Memory, directed by Terry Hands, was chosen as ‘pick of the week’ by The Sunday Times and played at Theatr Clwyd in Wales, and subsequently in New York, London and Chicago. “The writing is keenly observed and emotionally resonant,” said The New York Times, “Hardly a false note is struck in any of the play’s various strands, an impressive achievement given the breadth of its reach, from Berlin in the 1930s to Bethlehem today.”

Jonathan’s most recent play Darkness is about Christian Fundamentalism and was performed at Zoo Roxy at the Edinburgh Festival and then at the Lakeside Theatre in 2011.

Jonathan is currently collaborating as the writer with the Bharatanatyam dancer Shane Shambhu on a play titled My Inside Playground, which is due to tour this year.

In addition to the above, Jonathan has had commissions from The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff and BBC Radio 4, and has had two attachments at The National Theatre Studio.

Jonathan lives in Wivenhoe, a village on the Essex Marshes, with his wife and three children.

The Berlin Shadow is his first book.


Books by Jonathan Lichtenstein

The Berlin Shadow


Scribner pre-empts The Berlin Shadow by Jonathan Lichtenstein

A formally audacious and deeply moving memoir in three timeframes, Jonathan Lichtenstein’s The Berlin Shadow tells the story of his father’s escape as an unaccompanied child refugee from Berlin to Britain in 1939; the author’s youth in rural Wales; and the contemporary journey that unites father and son as they travel to present-day Berlin to confront the event that has dominated both their lives. It is also a timely celebration of the Kindertransport, an organised act of altruism that – against considerable domestic opposition – saved the lives of 10,000 children. Jonathan Lichtenstein is an award-winning playwright whose stage plays have been performed around the world.

Scribner Editorial Director Rowan Cope acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Jonathan Conway at Jonathan Conway Literary Agency in a pre-empt, for hardback publication in early 2019.

Rowan Cope says: ‘The Berlin Shadow is an incredibly sensitive yet unsentimental personal memoir about trauma passed down through generations. Almost all of Hans Lichtenstein’s family died in Nazi Germany, and his son Jonathan writes a profoundly affecting tribute to his father and to loss, endurance, struggle and forgiveness. I believe The Berlin Shadow will resonate with readers who were captivated by The Hare with Amber Eyes, Dadland or East West Street. We are very proud to welcome Jonathan to the Scribner list and to publish this remarkable book around the eightieth anniversary of the Kindertransport.’