Elaine Kalman Naves


Elaine Kalman Naves’ work has won critical praise and many literary awards including the Canadian Jewish Book Awards’ Yad Vashem Prize for Holocaust Literature and the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction (Quebec Writers’ Federation). She is the author of three books about literary Montreal, two family memoirs and a biography of Robert Weaver. She has just completed her first novel.

Shoshanna’s Story
x Shoshanna’s Story

Shoshanna’s Story: A Mother, A Daughter and the Shadows of History

At the end of the Second World War, a survivor of Auschwitz makes her way home to Hungary. Of all her family, only she and one sister have survived the camps; her young officer husband disappeared into Russia years before. Believing herself a widow, Shoshanna falls under the protection of an older man who, like her, lost everything in the Holocaust. She gives birth to this man’s child by the time her beloved soldier returns, and she has to make a choice that will cloud her life – and her daughter’s – ever after.
Elaine Kalman Naves is the daughter whose earliest memories are of growing up with the consequences of that decision. Shoshanna raised Elaine with a torrent of family lore and all-too-vivid memories. Her stories, haunting and vivid, were both a gift and a burden to her daughter. This is a lush and exotic family memoir set against momentous events yet timeless in its truth-telling lessons.

Rights sold:
McClelland & Stewart

No cover available
x No cover available

Portrait of a Scandal

Portrait of a Scandal: The Abortion Trial of Robert Notman, Abortion was a hot-button issue in the Victorian era, arguably even more so than it is today. Portrait of a Scandal is a narrative non-fiction exploration of an abortion scandal that rocked Montreal society in the spring of 1868. The man accused of procuring the abortion, Robert Notman, was the brother of one of Montreal’s most prominent citizens, a photographer to the Queen, no less, one William Notman. Elaine Kalman Naves stumbled upon the story when researching a CBC radio documentary on the celebrated brother William. She discovered what she describes as a tale “far more intriguing than a gothic whodunit” and proposes to produce “a drama through which Victorian Montreal, so lavishly depicted by the camera of William Notman, may be viewed beneath the surface of carefully arranged settings, gorgeous costumes and grandiloquent poses.”


Rights sold:
Canada, Vehicule Press

Putting Down Roots
x Putting Down Roots

Putting Down Roots: Montreal’s Immigrant Writers

Immigrant writers who have made their homes in Montreal grapple with difficult questions like reconciling loyalty to their origins and to their own most private selves with the need to find a readership, and their desire to belong to the society where they live. Putting Down Roots follows the author’s exploratory journeys among writers of Italian, Haitian, Arab, South Asian, and Chinese origin, as well as those writing in Yiddish, Spanish, and Hungarian.

Rights sold:
Vehicule Press

Journey to Vaja
x Journey to Vaja

Journey to Vaja: Reconstructing the World of a Hungarian-Jewish Family

Northeastern Hungary was full of places like the village of Vaja, where Jews had farmed for generations. Naves’ ancestors had tilled Hungarian soil since the eighteenth century. They had married into similar farming families and maintained a lifestyle at once agricultural, orthodox, and Hungariophile. The Nyirség, a sandy, slightly undulating region wedged between the Great Hungarian Plain and the foothills of the Carpathians, was the centre of their world. But all this changed irrevocably with the holocaust; Naves’ generation is the first in two centuries whose roots are severed from the soil that once nurtured them. Naves’ quest for her past began with her father, one of the few members of a vast extended family to survive the Nazi death camps. His stories and memories of ancestors were a well-spring from which he drew strength, and they became an obsession for Naves as she was growing up and when she had children of her own. In Journey to Vaja she records the lives of these ancestors and reclaim them as part of her and her children’s birthright.

Rights sold:
McGill Queen’s

Robert Weaver
x Robert Weaver

Robert Weaver: The Godfather of Canadian Literature

Over the course of half a century, as radio producer, editor, talent scout, impresario, and anthologist, Robert Weaver nurtured and sustained three generations of writers. Among those he gave their earliest breaks to, were Alice Laidlaw (who became Alice Munro), Mordecai Richler, Timothy Findley, and Leonard Cohen. This book is an unbuttoned and colourful biography and an extended riff on the development of modern Canadian literature. It includes archival photographs and interviews with Weaver himself and with Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Alistair MacLeod, Barry Callaghan, Robert Fulford, and Janice Kulyk Keefer.

Rights sold:
Vehicule Press

Back to Clients