Leah Kaminsky was born in Melbourne to Polish Jewish refugees. She was educated at Methodist Ladies College and Lauriston, graduated in Medicine from Monash University in 1983 and has worked as a general practitioner. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy and Literature) at Deakin University (1997) and a Diploma of Professional Writing from RMIT (1988). Kaminsky has also studied creative writing at New York University, Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been a student in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpellier, USA.
Kaminsky was awarded the Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship for Fiction at Varuna in 2007 and she received a Writer-in-Residence Fellowship at the Shaindy Rudolff School of Creative Writing in Tel Aviv in 2008. In 1989, she was awarded a Victorian Ministry of the Arts Grant and, in 2008, an Arts Victoria Creation grant for work on her first novel 'The Waiting Room'.
Kaminsky has had many short stories, memoir pieces and poems published in various literary journals, newspapers and magazines, including Quadrant, Voices, Mattoid, the Age, Fine Line, The Tin Wash Dish, Divan, the Melbourne Chronicle, Poetry Australia and Cordite Review. She has been a feature writer at the Age and a columnist for the Australian Jewish News, and is the author of a poetry chapbook, Spilt Milk (1988). Kaminsky has also published two non-fiction books - ABC Guide to Poisons (1991) and Your Child's Health (2006), the latter co-authored with Professor Frank Oberklaid.
Kaminsky lived and worked in Haifa, Israel, from 1991 to 2002. She speaks English, Yiddish and Hebrew.
In 2016, Kaminsky published the non-fiction book, We're All Going to Die: A Joyful Book About Death (HarperCollins Publishers).
2010State Library of Victoria, Creative FellowshipTo research a creative non-fiction narrative about Yiddish–Polish poet Melekh Ravitch who travelled across the Kimberley with an Italian postal truck driver and a young Aboriginal guide to find a homeland for German–Jewish refugees.
'The Waiting Room captures the sights, sounds, accents and animosities of a country overflowing with stories.
'Dina is a family doctor living in the melting-pot city of Haifa, Israel. Born in Australia in a Jewish enclave of Melbourne to Holocaust survivors, Dina left behind a childhood marred by misery and the tragedies of the past to build a new life for herself in the Promised Land.
'After starting a family of her own, she finds her life falling apart beneath the demands of her eccentric patients, a marriage starting to fray, the ever-present threat of terrorist attack and the ghost of her mother, haunting her with memories that Dina would prefer to leave on the other side of the world.
'Leah Kaminsky plumbs the depths of her characters' memories, both the sweet and the heart-wrenching, reaching back in a single climactic day through six decades and across three continents to uncover a truth that could save Dina's sanity – and her life.' (Publication summary)