Home 5 Articles and Reports 5 On the new wave of Holocaust publishing

On the new wave of Holocaust publishing

by | Jan 22, 2020 | Articles and Reports, Blog

There have always been books that have emerged from the darkness of the Holocaust – the Diary of Anne Frank in 1947, Primo Levi’s If this is a Man, published in the same year, William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice in 1979 and Thomas Kenneally’s Schlindler’s List in 1982 to name just a few. But in the last two years there has been a flood of Holocaust-related titles in the west, with many more slated to appear in the next 18 months. What is driving this new wave?

It seems much of it can be attributed to the success of a single novel: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Published in January 2018 this is based on the story of the Slovakian Jew Lali Sokolov whose job it was to tattoo the numbers on the prisoners’ arms and who fell in love with Gita Furman, one of his ‘patients’.

The novel has been a global bestseller, selling more than 400,000 copies in the UK alone. Published in the UK by Zaffre, an imprint of Swedish company Bonnier, and in the US by HarperCollins, its success has led to a run of similarly titled and packaged books: The Librarian of Auschwitz, The Sisters of Auschwitz, The Saboteur of Auschwitz, The Brothers of Auschwitz and The Child of Auschwitz.

The Irish novelist John Boyne, who wrote the Holocaust novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, has voiced criticism of ‘Holocaust genre’ fiction, tweeting: “I can’t help but feel that by constantly using the same three words, & then inserting a noun, publishers & writers are effectively building a genre that sells well, when in reality the subject matter, & their titles, should be treated with a little more thought & consideration.”

It is interesting to note that three of the five books above are novels. With the passage of the years, Holocaust books are inevitably going to be either second-hand accounts – pieces of historical research – or novels based on real events. For obvious reasons, there will be fewer eye-witness testimonies.

Time is the enemy, which is why back in 2000 Random House pledged $1m to the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project, set up by the World Jewish Congress to find and publish the written accounts of those who suffered under the Nazis during World War Two. The project has amassed hundreds of accounts, some of which have been published by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The idea is to preserve as many eye-witness accounts as possible.

This month (January 2020) marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. It seems certain that there are many more moving stories to be told as fascination with this darkest of times shows no sign of abating.

Recent News

13Jun
Korea’s “K-Book” Exhibit at Paris Olympics

Korea’s “K-Book” Exhibit at Paris Olympics

Starting June 2024 and running until October, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, alongside the Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea (KPIPA), is hosting a series of events in France focused on the Korean publishing market. These events include book talks, exhibitions, lectures, and a culture fair.   From June to August, an exhibition […]

13Jun
Beijing Book Fair Expands Reach with 15 New Debuting Countries

Beijing Book Fair Expands Reach with 15 New Debuting Countries

The 2024 Beijing International Book Fair is set to open on June 19 and will run until June 24. This year, 15 new countries and regions will be making their debut at the fair, including Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Nigeria, Norway, Slovakia, and Qatar.   Organizers expect around 1,600 exhibitors, with 1,050 of them coming […]

13Jun
HarperCollins Expands with Nonfiction Imprint Harper Influence

HarperCollins Expands with Nonfiction Imprint Harper Influence

HarperCollins is launching another new imprint, Harper Influence, that will join a long list of ‘Harper’-named imprints across the globe.  Harper Influence will publish a range of nonfiction “spanning popular culture, from general lifestyle and entertainment to stories of survival and inspiration,” the company said.  It added: “Whether in the fields of entertainment, science, medicine, […]

Related Posts

Oodi Library: A Cultural and Architectural Marvel in Helsinki

Oodi Library: A Cultural and Architectural Marvel in Helsinki

The Oodi Library, located in Helsinki, Finland, is a modern architectural marvel and a cornerstone of the city's cultural and intellectual life. Opened on December 5, 2018, Oodi is more than just a traditional library; it is a multifunctional space that embodies the...

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid/ Book Review

The Last White Man by Mohsin Hamid/ Book Review

In The Last White Man, Mohsin Hamid’s fifth novel, the protagonist, Anders, wakes up to discover that he has changed race. He looks in the mirror to see not the familiar white face, but “the dark man who had been Anders”. Hamid doesn’t seek to explain why this...

Must-Read Japanese Books In Translation

Must-Read Japanese Books In Translation

Japanese books have proven in the last few years that they are a huge success and a must have book especially if you are looking for a light and short read. We have put together a list of the most popular and must read Japanese books that have been translated into...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest