AustLit logo
Maria Lewitt Maria Lewitt i(A14642 works by)
Born: Established: 1924 Lodz,
Eastern Europe, Europe,
Gender: Female
Arrived in Australia: 1949
Heritage: Polish ; Jewish
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Maria Lewitt possessed a knowledge of Russian and French apart from Polish, her first language. She was a student at a high school until the outbreak of the Second World War, during which she attended underground classes. From 1945 to 1948 she attended night school and then worked as a secretary at the Central Board of the Textile Industry. In 1948 she left Poland for France where she studied French at the Alliance Française. She migrated to Australia with her husband and young son in 1949 and learnt to speak English by ear. Lewitt worked in Melbourne as an outdoor machinist, shop assistant and secretary and attended Council of Adult Education classes studying various courses.

Lewitt began to write in English in 1967. She has acknowledged the influence and encouragement of Frank Kellaway (q.v.), her tutor in adult education poetry classes, who became friend and mentor. She has been a member of PEN International and served on the committee of the Victorian Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW), becoming a life member in the early 1990s. She has been also a member of the National Book Council and of the Victorian Writers' Centre. She has had short stories commended in the FAW State of Victoria Short Story Awards in 1972, was a finalist in the Sun News Pictorial Festival of Short Stories competition, won first prize in the 1972 Council of Adult Education Adult Association Writers' Short Story Competition and won second prize in the same competition in 1973.

From 1980 to 1989 she gave many public addresses to literary groups and societies, has been interviewed and has read extensively on radio in Australia. She also read for the Victorian Fellowship of Australian Writers in 1982, PEN International's Australian chapter in 1985, the National Book Council's Touring Writers Scheme in 1986, at Caulfield Library in 1986 and 1988, at the Jewish Festival of the Arts Writers' Forum in 1988 and 1990, at Writers' Weeks in the Spoleto Festival in 1986 and 1988, at La Mama Poetica in 1987 and 1989, at Piccolo Spoleto in 1988 and 1989, at the Lygon Street Arts Festival in 1989, for the 1990 Pen/Amnesty International Readings at the Victorian Writers' Centre and at various high schools and colleges.

Most Referenced Works


  • Author writes in these languages:ENGLISH
  • For more information about Lewitt's titles for younger readers, refer to Kerry White Australian Children's Books, Vol. 2 (1992).
Last amended 2 May 2006 14:03:50
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: