Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Read a Ghita

Brooklyn is Ghita Schwarz’s happy pill.

“I love living in Brooklyn, period,” said the Fort Greene-based author. “I just love biking and walking around. I’m very happy living here, and for me it’s easier to write when I’m happy.”

The borough is definitely doing the trick. A demanding day job as a civil rights lawyer hasn’t stopped Schwarz from completing her first novel, “Displaced Persons,” an epic tale of exiled Polish Jews who create new lives for themselves in New York after the Holocaust.

Schwarz didn’t have to look too far for inspiration — her parents are Polish immigrants who sought refuge in the city after World War II.

“A lot of the voice in the book is the voice of people I’ve heard my whole life,” said Schwarz, who celebrates the release of her debut novel at Fort Greene’s Greenlight Bookstore on Aug. 30 (see her discuss it in the clip below).

The author spent years developing that voice, writing in the early morning before work, late into the night after, and spending vacations intensively crafting her novel.

An often-haunting tale of survival, “Displaced Persons” follows an ad-hoc family living in a post-war refugee camp in Germany to adjusting to life in 1960s America to exploring ways to memorialize their history at the turn of the century. It’s heavy stuff, but not lacking in humor or hope.

With her new novel fresh on shelves, the author is already at work on her next piece of fiction, and she doesn’t have to look too far for motivation.

“One of the awesome things about riding the subway to work is everyone has a book or Kindle or iPad,” said Schwarz. “It’s really inspiring as a writer to be somewhere where you can see with your own eyes every day that the book is alive and well.”

Ghita Schwarz at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. at S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200], Aug. 30 at 7:30 pm. For info, visit www.abookstoreinbrooklyn.blogspot.com.


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