Author Archives: Yona Zeldis McDonough

The Lilith Blog

June 11, 2019 by

Conversation with a Curator: Avery Exhibit Features Works by Artist Wife and Daughter

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“Summer with the Averys [Milton/Sally/March],” a remarkable show at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, presents the work of american painter Milton Avery alongside that of his wife Sally and their daughter March, who were both artists in their own right.

A Jewish girl born in 1902, Sally Avery (née Michel) studied painting at the Arts Students League and met Milton in 1924; she was 22 and he was 39. They married in 1926 and embarked upon an unusual artistic life together.

Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough talks to Stephanie Guyet (who assisted Professor Kenneth E. Silver in mounting the show) about the special role Sally played in her husband’s life and career. 

Sally Michel.Swimming Lesson, 1987, Watercolor on paper

Sally Michel Swimming Lesson, 1987

 

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The Lilith Blog

June 7, 2019 by

“Jade Lily” Imagines Jewish Refugees Who Found Home in Shanghai

Song of Jade LilyVienna, 1938.  It’s clear to the Bernfelds that they are no longer welcome in their city and they have to flee.  But where? No one wants or will accept the refugees…no one except the Chinese that is, and so the family, or what remains of it, heads for Shanghai.   Novelist Kirsty Manning talks to Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about how she accidentally stumbled upon this bit of Jewish history and what she did to bring it to life in The Song of the Jade Lily.

 

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The Lilith Blog

May 14, 2019 by

The Meaning and Value of Humor: An Interview with Marilyn Simon Rothstein

In Lift and Separate and Husbands and Other Sharp Objects (both from Lake Union Publishing) humor is the lens through all of life’s mishegas is viewed.  Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough asks author Marilyn Simon Rothstein what it means to be funny, and why it’s more essential now than ever.

B16HB-gTUAS._SY600_YZM: Have you always been considered funny?

MSR: When I was growing up in Flushing, New York, a terrible name for a wonderful community where there were two ethnic groups—Orthodox Jews and Conservative Jews—my family sat around a wrought iron kitchen table and discussed one important topic—other people. Being funny was the way to get everyone’s attention. 

YZM: Do you think that Jewish humor, and in particular Jewish women’s humor, is its own category?

MSR: All humor is based on observation. So, Jewish humor is based on what a member of the Jewish community observes.  I feel that my first book, Lift And Separate, is very Jewish.

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The Lilith Blog

May 2, 2019 by

The Object of Your Affections: What’s a Baby Between Friends?

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Two best friends undergo a bitter falling out and a tearful coming back together. But this is no ordinary rapprochement—because one of the women asks her friend to be the surrogate who carries her child. Author Falguni Kothari talks to Lilith’s fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about the complex, delicate nature of such a relationship, and how it set the plot for her new novel in motion.

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The Lilith Blog

April 22, 2019 by

A Novel Bends Time at the Onset of the Holocaust

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 A talented young female musician, the bookselling man who loves her and a quasi-magical way to escape the rising Nazi horror in Germany are the key elements in Jillian Cantor’s latest novel, In Another Time.

Below she chats with Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about how she crafted this original and compelling story that asks whether it’s really possible to escape the horrors of history.

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The Lilith Blog

April 17, 2019 by

Golden Girls of the Silver Screen

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Well told and illustrated with charm, Renegade Women is a coffee table book for our feminist pop cultural age. It offers more than 60 informative and whimsically illustrated portraits of female movers and shakers in the entertainment field.

Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough chats with author Elizabeth Weitzman about the importance of highlighting their impressive accomplishments. 

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The Lilith Blog

April 17, 2019 by

The Story of a Storyteller

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Longtime Lilith readers may remember Miryam Sivan’s name; her story Roadkill appeared in the magazine in 2003 and City of Refuge was featured in 2011.

Now she’s back with her debut novel, Make It Concrete, which is set in contemporary Israel and follows a woman who transcribes Holocaust stories. Sivan talks to fiction editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about how the past shapes and even defines the present. 

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The Lilith Blog

April 15, 2019 by

From “I Hate Everyone” to “While Grandpa Naps,” Naomi Danis on Her Fiction for Young Readers

Naomi Danis is Lilith’s resident angel/soother of souls/bridge over troubled waters. She combines a practical-get-it-done attitude with an uncommon amount of kindness and empathy and she is much-loved within the office and beyond. 

while grandpa napsDanis is also an accomplished author of several well-received picture books and as she prepares to launch her latest, While Grandpa Naps, illustrated by Junghwa Park, she talks to Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about the way she keeps so many balls spinning in the air with such effortless grace.

YZM: Tell us when you started working at Lilith and a little bit about what the job has been like.

ND: I started working at Lilith in 1988, after nine years at home raising three children, during which time I began seriously writing for kids. I had trained as an early childhood teacher, also have an MA in English, but learned from a friend at my Forest Hills synagogue who did grant writing that Lilith was looking for someone. The position turned out to be administrator, and I really wanted to be called something like assistant editor, but two friends in publishing I consulted said if you like the people, take the job. I still love it after all these years, and feel very lucky and grateful every day. I have the kindest, smartest, funniest, most caring, talented, inspiring and encouraging colleagues. 

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The Lilith Blog

April 11, 2019 by

A Novel Invents a Musical Masterpiece

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Lauren Belfer’s And After the Fire, is a complex, highly textured novel that moves easily between past and present to tell the converging stories of musicians and those in their orbits, centering around one imagined musical masterpiece through the centuries.

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, Belfer talks to Lilith’s Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about the inner melody that led to this highly original and haunting story. 

Yona Zeldis McDonough: What inspired you to write about a fictional piece of music?

 

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The Lilith Blog

April 9, 2019 by

A Jewish Beauty’s Journey, in Fiction

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Entertaining and witty, Susan Dworkin’s novel, The Garden Lady—chronicling a woman of notable beauty—nonetheless asks some penetrating questions about the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep going.

Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough talks to Dworkin, a feminist who worked at Ms. in its early days, about what Gloria Steinem called her “new dreams of justice” and how she’s pursued them both in this novel and elsewhere. 

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