Two novelists to tell stories about Holocaust at ACW

SARANAC LAKE — The Adirondack Center for Writing is opening and closing its fall schedule of events with talks with two novelists writing specific, untold stories of the Holocaust.

With these events — a reading and a film screening, respectively — ACW aims to underscore what Karen Glass of the Keene Public Library said in a recent article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise about antisemitism published on Aug. 23: “It’s bigger than we can imagine, the hate,” she said. “And at the same time, bigger than we can imagine is the love we share with each other.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 20 as part of the ongoing Barkreaders series, ACW will host New York Times bestselling historical fiction author Kim Van Alkemade to present her newest book, “Counting Lost Stars,” which tells the story of an unmarried college student who gives up her baby for adoption and helps a Dutch Holocaust survivor search for his lost mother. Van Alkemade recently moved to Saratoga Springs after a career teaching creative writing in Pennsylvania. Barkreaders includes a community open mic where anyone can sign up to share up to five mins of writing. This one-hour event is free to attend and books will be available for sale and signing after the readings. It begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

On Friday, Nov. 17, author and film co-producer Julie Canepa will screen her one-hour PBS documentary, “Return to Auschwitz: The Survival of Vladimir Munk” live at ACW. Canepa, a co-writer and co-producer of the film, will participate in a talk-back after the screening before selling and signing copies of her novel “The Missing Star,” which is based off of the same story. Admission is $10 for the event which begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17.

“Return to Auschwitz: The Survival of Vladimir Munk” is the moving story of Czech Holocaust survivor and retired SUNY Plattsburgh professor Vladimir Munk. The film follows Munk, now 95, as he returns to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, the camp where he was held prisoner during World War II. This will be his last chance to honor 30 of his close relatives, including his parents, who perished there. Accompanied by his dear friend, the trip from his home in the United States will be filled with painful memories and unforeseen hardships but it is a journey he knows he must take. The challenges continue upon his return when COVID-19, the isolation of lockdown and serious heart problems threaten the health and well being of this true survivor.

Canepa’s novel, “The Missing Star,” is based on the life of Munk and Kitty Lwi. The book chronicles Munk and Lwi’s lives as children growing up under German occupation, their deportation to the Terezin ghetto, where they met and fell in love. When Munk is sent to Auschwitz, and Lwi remains behind in Terezin, they promise to meet after the war in a less complicated world.

Canepa is a Culinary Institute of America-trained pastry chef, having owned and operated several bakeries in New York’s Hudson Valley. Canepa currently resides in the Adirondacks with her family.

To learn more about these events and many others coming from ACW this fall, visit www.adirondackcenterforwriting.org/events.


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