Anna Porter, writer, publisher and advisory board member of the Canada-Hungary Educational Foundation, is giving a lecture entitled “The Ghosts of Europe” at the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto on January 28th, 2010 from 2-4 pm.
Anna Porter, co-founder of Key Porter Books, had been one of Canada’s most respected book publishers for 30 years. She is an Officer of The Order of Canada and has been awarded the Order of Ontario. Anna Porter’s most recent book is Kasztner’s Train, the True Story of Rezso Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust, winner of the 2007 Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Award and of the Jewish Book Award for Non-Fiction. She has also written three novels: Hidden Agenda, Mortal Sins, and The Bookfair Murders - The Bookfair Murders was made into a feature film – and a memoir, The Storyteller: Memory, Secrets, Magic and Lies. All Ms Porter’s books have been published internationally and in several languages. She is currently working on a manuscript about central Europe twenty years after the collapse of its Communist regimes.
The book Anna is working on now, unlike the slew of ‘89 books that have come out recently, is a look at central Europe 20 years after the walls came down. When we asked Anna about it, she described it this way:
“I spent considerable time in all the countries I wrote about: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary – but also Romania, and Germany, though this book does not stretch to include them. I have concluded, among other things, that democracy is a hard sell, but it is worth the effort; that it is vital to continue to bolster it or it may get sucked down the hole of nationalism, racism, fascism and other nasty isms that started the last two world wars in, precisely, this part of the world. I met politicians and writers, students and restaurateurs, former prisoners and former apparatchiks, the very wealthy and the very poor; those who espouse punishment for former Communists and those who believe the past should be left to historians. I have talked with Vaclav Havel, Wojciech Jaruzelski, Adam Michnik, George Konrad and other leading intellectuals. I have been to a fascist rally and heard the stories of aggrieved minorities. I have been in Gdansk where Solidarity began and in Romania where the last Communist dictator was executed. It is all familiar territory for me because I am from Hungary and have shared experiences with some of those I interviewed.”
Thursday, January 28, 2-4 pm
Anna Porter, “The Ghosts of Europe”
Room 108, North Building, Munk Centre for International Studies (1Devonshire Place)
Sponsored by the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, the Institute of European Studies, the European Union Centre of Excellence. Funding for this event was provided by the European Commission.