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New book announcement!

Getting to the finish line with my first book, Heroic Disobedience (Vernon Press, September 2023) was a whirlwind of emotions, deadlines, stress, and – finally – relief. I planned on taking some time away from long-form writing (sticking to my work for Publishers Weekly and occasional freelance articles) before diving back in and making big decisions about what was next for me.



That changed the last weekend in June. My husband and I were on our way home from a little anniversary stay-cation when, out of habit, I opened my gmail app and saw an email that was going to change all my plans in a very big way. “My mother was a Holocaust survivor,” it began, “I am looking for a writer who is interested in her story.”


Despite feeling very tired and ever-so-slightly hungover, I instantly replied to the email to get more details. My brain – wired in the way that it is – instantly started coming up with reasons why I shouldn’t get excited. Why would someone reach out to me about this? Is this a mistake? Some kind of scam? Maybe they want an editor? On and on went my negative self-talk, which is always so good at knocking me down a few pegs.


Over the next few days, though, I exchanged more emails with Nina, the person who reached out, and discovered that she’d seen some writing I did for the Jewish Book Council and wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing her late mother’s memoir with an eye toward publication.


You bet your ass I was interested.


Nina’s late mother, Dora, was born Dobrys Bursztajn in Brzeziny, Poland in 1925: a small industrial town that was invaded by the Nazis days after Germany declared war. She survived two different ghettos, two concentration camps (Auschwitz and Ravenbrück), slave labor in a German munitions factory, and a risky evacuation to Denmark in the final days of the war.


She came from a big, happy, boisterous family. Her father, Szoel, and mother, Cyrla, had five kids: Fela, Moishe, Dawid, Dora, and Salla; a family that grew even larger when her oldest two siblings married and had kids. When all was said and done, of the twelve members of Dora’s family, only two survived the Holocaust.


My next book, which I’m calling The World Has Caught Fire, is their story.


As I write, I’m going to be blogging about the whole process: research, pitching, sneak peaks at material, and the very real struggle to write a book about the holocaust that stands out in a pretty busy market. (Hopefully at some point I’ll have some research trips to recap, too...). My goals with this book are to honor the memories of Dora and her family members, solve lingering mysteries about how they died, and offer readers a different perspective on holocaust literature than what is commonly found in commercially-successful holocaust narratives.

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Contact me!

Just wanted to share that I've included a "contact me" option at the top of my page that will direct you right to my email -- Leahshewrote@gmail.com -- to add an easier way to get in touch!

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