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Lily Brett Lily Brett i(A18582 works by)
Born: Established: 1946
Western Europe, Europe,
Gender: Female
Expatriate assertion Arrived in Australia: 1948 Departed from Australia: 1991
Heritage: Polish ; Jewish
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Lily Brett was born in a displaced persons' camp in Germany. Her Jewish parents were survivors of the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz. Her family moved to Melbourne in 1948, and in 1961 Brett began her literary career writing for the Australian rock magazine Go-Set.

The Auschwitz Poems (1986) received great critical acclaim for its expression of the feelings and experiences of second-generation Holocaust survivors, a theme which is prevalent throughout her writing. Her terse, short poems elliptically recreate the experience of her parents' generation in a style whose minimalism accentuates the horrors of what is being depicted. Her stories are characterised by their adept movements between horror, excesses and the exaggerated behaviour of what is reductively known as Jewish humour.

Much of Brett's writing is autobiographical or semi-autobiographical. Brett also writes intimately about her experiences with sex, body image and food. Her frank writing about her interactions with her family, particularly her relationship with her mother, led to a public rift with her sister, the author and psychologist Doris Brett, who challenged the veracity of the account. In 1991 Brett moved to New York with her second husband, the Australian painter David Rankin. Her essay collections In Full View (1997), New York (2001) and Between Mexico and Poland (2002) present her experiences as an expatriate.


Most Referenced Works

Personal Awards

2021 recipient Order of Australia Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) For service to literature as a writer.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Lola Bensky Melbourne : Penguin , 2012 10482849 2012 single work novel

'Lola Bensky is a nineteen-year-old rock journalist who irons her hair straight and asks a lot of questions. A high-school dropout, she's not sure how she got this job - but she's been sent by her Australian newspaper right to the heart of the London music scene at the most exciting time in music history: 1967.

'Drawing on her own experience as a young journalist, the bestselling author of 'Too Many Men' has created an unforgettable character in the unconventional and couragous Lola. Genuinely funny and deeply moving, 'Lola Bensky' shows why Lily Brett is one of Australia's most distinctive and internationally acclaimed authors. ' (Publication summary)

2014 winner Prix Femina (France)
y separately published work icon Between Mexico and Poland Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2002 Z991194 2002 selected work autobiography
2003 shortlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
y separately published work icon Too Many Men Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 1999 Z330394 1999 single work novel 'Ruth Rothwax, a successful, independent, New York woman with her own business, Rothwax Correspondence, can find order and meaning in the words she writes for other people - condolence letters, thank-you letters, even you-were-great-in-bed letters. But as the devoted daughter of Edek Rothwax, an Auschwitz survivor with a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to the English language, Ruth can find no words to help her understand the loss her family experienced during World War II. Ruth is obsessed with the idea of returning to Poland with her father, Edek, but she doesn't quite understand why she feels this so intensely. To make sense of her family's past - and the way her parents' lives were suddenly torn apart by the Nazis - yes. To visit the places where her beloved mother and father lived and almost died, certainly. But there's more to this trip than Ruth's extraordinary perceptiveness can identify. By facing Poland and the past, she can confront her own future.' (Publisher's blurb)
2000 winner Commonwealth Writers Prize
2000 shortlisted Miles Franklin Literary Award
2000 winner South East Asia and South Pacific Region Best Book
1999 shortlisted Australian Booksellers Association Awards BookPeople Book of the Year
Last amended 14 Jun 2021 15:57:58
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