Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

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This article has attempted to present a bird’s-eye view o f what
Australian Jewish writers o f fiction have produced over the past
forty years. Some works — those o f Maria Lewitt, Matylda
Engelman and Sheva Glas-Wiener — deserve more than passing
mention; others — by the Yiddish writers, Moshe Ajzenbud, Ber
I. Rozen, and Gedaliah Shaiak — have been passed over
altogether, their writings being in the main firmly rooted in the
European continent from which they stemmed, with scant an­
chorage in the Australian locale and contemporary concerns. We
have omitted still others who have written single novels of
ephemeral worth, as well as writers who have briefly visited
Australia, in some instances deported here as internees. Some of
these have published a book or two, and vanished, leaving little or
no th ing known o f the ir identity and whereabouts (Walter
Kaufmann, Werner Pelz, Aaron Judah , Salomon Dembitzer).
Discussion of the poets — Nancy Keesing, Jud ith Rodriguez, I.
M. Lewin, Fay Zwicky and David Martin as poets — falls outside
the guidelines o f this paper.
What writing will emerge from the Jewish community in
Australia is difficult to say. This writer is optimistic. As editor of
the bi-monthly
Melbourne Chronicle,
he gets to meet with many
people who are either actively writing or who aspire to write.
Some o f the work is very sound indeed; some is still raw. Further,
the Jewish community as a whole is developing in sophistication,
and the children and grandchildren o f the immigrant generation
are approaching individual maturity. I f one is to look to the
United States, Canada, South Africa and South America as
models, one m ight expect a fu r th e r blossoming o f literary
creativity from these, from the young o f the second- and third-
generation Australian Jews favored by social stability, a well-
rounded education, both Jewish and secular, and an awareness
of the issues of the day. A sine qua non for meaningful and last­
ing creative work in Australia as anywhere is the need for the
community at large to appreciate, nurture, encourage and re­
spond to it.