“In university I studied history and developed a great interest in the impact of huge historical events on the lives of ordinary people. This particular theme inhabits not only my family books Journey to Vaja, and Shoshanna’s Story, but also Putting Down Roots: Montreal’s Immigrant Writers, winner of a Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction. The epigraph to this book comes from the Canadian novelist Wayson Choy: ‘All the most interesting things happening today occur at the intersection of cultures.’ Questions of culture and identity—religious, ethnic, racial, and national—continue to fascinate me, whether I’m writing about my own family or exploring a broader canvas.”
--Elaine Kalman Naves
|Almost Lost: Montreal's Yiddish Women Writers|
Apr 28th - 11:00am
Hosted by: Elaine Kalman Naves
Blue Metropolis Literary
Welcome to the website of Montreal writer, journalist, editor, and lecturer Elaine Kalman Naves. Elaine was born in Hungary, and grew up in Budapest, London, and Montreal. For many years she was literary columnist for the Montreal Gazette, and is the author of six books. Among them are the award-winning memoirs Journey to Vaja: Reconstructing the World of a Hungarian-Jewish Family and Shoshanna's Story: A Mother, A Daughter, and the Shadows of History. Elaine's other books include: The Writers of Montreal; Putting Down Roots: Montreal's Immigrant Writers; Storied Streets: Montreal in the Literary Imagination (co-written with Bryan Demchinsky); and Robert Weaver: Godfather of Canadian Literature. Elaine is a frequent contributor to CBC Radio's Ideas, where her next project will be a two-part documentary about the great 19th-century Montreal photographer, William Notman. Elaine's honours include a Canadian Literary Award for Personal Essay, two Quebec Writers' Federation prizes for non-fiction, and two Jewish Book Awards for Holocaust Literature.
Review From The Gazette
Blue Metropolis: Eloquent speakers and happenstance
Monday, April 29, 2013
By Ian McGillis, Gazette Literary Critic
Almost Lost: Montreal’s Yiddish Women Writers did what a certain percentage of events at a good literary festival should: it exposed the curious to a corner of history, both literary and social, that they might never have otherwise considered. How many people know that in the years between the two world wars, there were as many as 50,000 people in Montreal whose first language was Yiddish? That community’s literature has been all but forgotten, but host Elaine Kalman Naves, interviewing Frieda Forman, editor of a new Exile Editions anthology from that period and later, did much to illuminate things. Readings — by Rivka Augenfeld in Yiddish and David Homel and Claire Holden Rothman in English — were the perfect complement.