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My First Time...with Julian Furman

Julian Furman was born in London by sheer chance. He was educated at St. Paul’s School but spent long periods as a child at his father’s office overlooking Tiananmen Square in Beijing, until he watched the sparks of protest flare in 1989 beneath the window. As an adult he gained an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS, and worked with the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee during their aborted attempts to draft an Israeli constitution.

Married and living in Tel-Aviv with a newborn baby, Julian was sitting on a park bench surrounded by the aftermath of the social protests racking the city when he began writing a portrait: both of new fatherhood and the crisis of self it engenders, and of Tel-Aviv, the vibrant, modern, youthful city struggling not only with the international economic crises of the age, but also with a crippling existential insecurity, and the souring of the country’s nationalist dream. As he wrote, he would witness the protests spasm to a violent end, and Tel-Aviv would come under direct rocket attack for the first time in over twenty years.

Julian splits his time between London and Tel-Aviv, with his wife, two daughters and two female dogs.

Julian is reading at The Riff Raff writers' meet-up on Thursday December 14th – get your tickets here.

Julian Furman | The Riff Raff

Here's the blurb for This is how we talk...

Life in Tel Aviv, Israel's famed party town, is restless, relentless and amoral, a cycle of hedonism and bitter regret. Modern couple, Yonotan and Lia, are at the heart of the scene, and this is the story of their relationship, lives as parents and the fallout from their break-up.With searing honesty, Furman examines the younger generation of Israelis, alienated from their state and morally conflicted about their role as soldiers and citizens; burdened with responsibility of forging the future for a nation perpetually at war with itself.

Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book?

Read This is How We Talk’s first page. As new parents, struggling to get to grips with the changes our first daughter brought to our lives, my wife and I had just had a fight. I left home with a notepad and a pen, found a bench in the local park, and began to write. I don’t think I had a complete understanding of what I wanted to create, just that I wanted to describe our experience, and the strange socio-political events occurring all around us in the city in which we lived.

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write your first book?

How all-consuming the process is. Even if you’re writing about your own street, it exists in this parallel universe, and you’re the only one who can see it. It becomes obvious pretty quickly that you can’t talk to anyone about what you’re constructing, and part of being a writer becomes curating the isolation: finding space for both universes to exist side by side – your book’s world, and the world of your friends and family and life.