Litvak Fiction – Jewish fiction from Lithuania

Launch party for Grigory Kanovich’s ‘Davilspel’ at Five Leaves book shop, Nottingham.

Tuesday 12th March at 7pm

Tomas Venclova called Grigory Kanovich, ‘the last link in the chain of Litvak fiction’. But what is Litvak fiction? And who is Tomas Venclova? The talk will be a brief survey of the eclectic treasure chest that characterises Jewish fiction from Lithuania – from one of the first novels written in Hebrew, to the twentieth century classics written in French, Yiddish, Russian and Lithuanian. And has Litvak fiction really hung up its boots and gone into retirement?

Devilspel - New Novel from Grigory Kanovich

We are delighted to announce that Gigory Knaovich’s novel ‘Devilspel’ will be published on the 12th March 2019.

Devilspel by Grigory Kanovich, the second of the leading Lithuanian author’s books to be published by independent press Noir and into English for the very first time, focuses in on the lives of the inhabitants of Mishkine from the point of view of multiple narrators. According to Mikhail Krutikov, Professor at the University of Michigan, Grigory Kanovich “is the only writer in the entire world capable of depicting the life of the pre-war Jewish shtetl [a small Jewish town or village] with the documentary precision of an immediate witness and the deep emotional passion of a lover mourning his loss. He survived the Holocaust almost by a miracle, and made it his mission to serve, against all odds, as a custodian of the collective memory of generations of Litvaks, Lithuanian Jews.”

The author, who turns 90 this year, is one of the most prominent living Jewish writers and winner of the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts for 2014. Kanovich’s works, translated into 14 languages, with over 1.5 million copies sold, form an epic Litvak Saga – a memorial and a requiem to a community now vanished. Since 1993, the writer, who is a member of PEN Club, has lived in Israel. Shtetl Love Song was published by Noir Press in 2017 and the play Smile Upon Us, Lord based on two of Kanovich’s novels, and which has been adapted by Rimas Tuminas for the stage will be screened across the UK in cinemas this month. “A comic, epic ‘Waiting for Jehovah’” – Guardian

Noir Press on Notts TV

Noir Press were delighted to have the opportunity to go on Notts TV to talk about our wonderful new book, 'The Last Day' by Lithuanian-Ukrainian writer Jaroslavas Melnikas.

Notts TV has a large local reach, and the 'Ey Up Notts' is one of their most popular features, airing in the prime 5:30 - 6:30 slot.

Devilspel by Grigory Kanovich

After the successful launch of 'Shtetl Love Song', rightly celebrated as a beautiful novelistic memoir of Grigory Kanovich's childhood in the Lithuanian shtetl of Jonava, Noir Press are delighted to be publishing another of Kanovich's novels.

Set in 1941, on the outbreak of war on the Eastern Front, 'Devilspel' is Grigory Kanovich's novel about tragic fate of Lithuania' Jewish community.

Devilspel will be published in Spring 2019.

'The Last Day' Launch at the Ukrainian Institute

The Ukrainian Institute in Holland Park, London, was the prestigious venue for the UK launch of the Ukrainian-Lithuanian writer Jaroslavas Melnikas' first book in English, 'The Last Day'.

After a short introduction from the Lithuanian Cultural Attached, Juste Kostikovaite, the evening was kicked off by director of the Ukrainian Institute, Marina Pesanti.

Jaroslavas Melnikas was in conversation with ex-BBC Ukraine journalist and writer Svitlana Pyrkalo.

Jaroslavas Melnikas at the Lowdham Book Festival

Jaroslavas Melnikas, award winning author of 'The Last Day' launched the collection of stories at this year's Lowdham Book Festival.

To a large audience, Melnikas spoke about the genesis of his stories and particularly how he came to write in Lithuanian, having gone to live in Lithuania when he met his wife.


Melnikas told of how one critic called him ironically, 'The Son of Stalin'. In some ways, he explained, that was true. His parents were both exiled to Siberia during the repressive Soviet crack down on nationalists in the Ukraine after the Second World War. It was in the gulag that his parents met. Fatefully, if Stalin had not exiled them, Melnikas may not have come into the world. Fate places an important role in his writing.

Jam Cafe Launch of 'Shtetl Love Song'

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It was nice to get some more photos of the Jam Cafe launch from Nottingham photographer Kevin Davis. You can view his blog by clicking here.

It was also lovely to get a write up about the event from ace Nottingham book blogger Jade Moore.

So what the book Shtetl Love Song does is conserve the memory of the Jewish towns and of the world that existed before the war. It’s certainly opened my eyes, as before I read it I didn’t know what a ‘Shtetl’ was or that such a thing ever existed.
— Hey What's on Notts!





Jam Cafe Launch for 'Shtetl Love Song'

Great Launch at Jam Cafe for 'Shtetl Love Song'. The cafe was full and buzzing on a cold November Sunday afternoon and the music of Howard Coleman on guitar and Stella Chadwick on violin really helped to create the feeling of the shtetl.

All photos by Le Dinh Han 

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Jam Cafe launch

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Both Howard and Stella generously donated their time and talents to raise money for the National Holocaust Centre and £70 was raised in donations.

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Lukas Geniusas at 'Shtetl' launch

Lukas Geniušas, silver medallist 2010 Chopin Piano Competition and 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition

Lukas Geniušas, silver medallist 2010 Chopin Piano Competition and 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition

Noir Press and Spiro Ark are delighted to announce that Lukas Geniušas, silver medallist 2010 Chopin Piano Competition and 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition, will give a guest performance at the London launch of Grigory Kanovich's novel, 'Shtetl Love Song'.

Lukas Geniušas is a Russian-Lithuanian pianist. Geniušas began to study piano at the age of five, and in 1996 he entered the Moscow Frederic Chopin College of Music Performing.

He studied piano with professor Vera Gornostayeva at the Moscow State Conservatory. Since 2004, he has received the M. Rostropovich Foundation scholarship.

He started to perform in public in 1996, and since that time he performed with various orchestras in the best venues of Moscow, St. Peterburg, Vilnius, Wroclaw and Hamburg. He arranged solo appearances in Russia, Poland, Sweden, Germany, France, Switzerland, Lithuania and Austria

[Text from Wikipedia]