Author Tags: Jewish, Kidlit & Young Adult

Lillian Boraks-Nemetz is a poet and a novelist who was born in Warsaw, Poland and survived the Holocaust as a child. She escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto and lived in Polish villages under a false identity. She has her M.A. in Comparative literature from the University of British Columbia and has taught Creative Writing at UBC.

Boraks-Nemetz is best-known as the author of a young adult novels that include The Old Brown Suitcase, a fictional account of a 14-year old immigrant girl, Slava, who comes to Canada from Poland after the Second World War. Her suitcase is filled with memories of the Warsaw Ghetto where she left behind her parents and sister. Her problems of adjustment to her new life in Canada as a teen-aged immigrant Jew are juxtaposed with her heart-wrenching memories of her lost childhood in Poland. This book won the Sheila A. Egoff Prize, among others awards. The other novels in her Slava trilogy are The Sunflower Diary (Roussan, 1999) and The Lenski File (Roussan, 2000). Boraks-Nemetz reprised her autobiographical story for Mouth of Truth (Ekstasis 2017), a novel inspired by her experiences.


The Old Brown Suitcase: A Teenager's Story of War and Peace (Brentwood Bay, B.C.: Ben-Simon Publications, 1995)
"Slava." Translated from English by Michele Mamileau (Quebec: Les Editions Heritage Inc., 1996)
The Old Brown Suitcase [new edition] (Ronsdale, 2008) $10.95 978-1-55380-057-6
Garden of Steel (Ekstasis Editions, 1998) - Poetry
The Sunflower Diary (Roussan, 1999)
The Lenski File (Roussan, 2000)
Ghost Children (Ronsdale, 2000) - Poetry
Tapestry of Hope (Tundra, 2003) - Anthology, co-edited with Irene N. Watts.
Mouth of Truth (Ekstasis 2017) $26.95 978-1-77171-211-8 - Novel


Sheila A. Egoff B.C. Book Prize for Best Children's Book, for The Old Brown Suitcase, 1995.
The Rachel Bassin Prize, the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, 1995.
Shortlisted for the Bilson Prize.
Finalist for the Red Maple Reading Award for The Sunflower Diary, 2000.

[BCBW 2017] "Kidlit" "Jewish"

The Lenski File (Roussan $8.95)

from [Louise Donnelly / BCBW 2001]
Like her character Slava Lenski, first introduced in The Old Brown Suitcase, Polish-born Lillian Boraks-Nemetz survived the Warsaw Ghetto. Her experiences at a Victoria private girls’ school, where she concealed her Jewish background and identity as a child survivor of the Holocaust, provided the storyline for The Sunflower Diary. In The Lenski File (Roussan $8.95) Slava, now eighteen, returns to Poland to search for her missing sister and attracts the dangerous attention of the secret police. 1-896184-76-6

Ghost Children

from [BCBW AUTUMN 2000]
Following her successful trilogy of young adult novels, Warsaw Ghetto survivor Lillian Boraks-Nemetz uses poetry to explore the spiritual and psychological struggles of children who survived the Holocaust in Ghost Children from Ronsdale.