Classi Conversations Amazing online Author / Book Events

Classi Conversations Amazing Author / Book Series

Dr. Anne Koval on “Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision”

Apr. 25, 2024
Mary Pratt’s art has captivated millions of Canadians. Her luminescent paintings capture reality in a way that few artists have been able to achieve — the chip in a glass bowl, the play of light across a dish-strewn supper table, the vulnerability of a naked woman. Replete with symbolism, Pratt’s work elevates the traditional still life by transforming the everyday into the iconic. Art historian, Anne Koval, wrote Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision in close consultation with Pratt. This in-depth study of Pratt’s life and work explores the complex issues of gender, feminism, and realism in Canadian art, resulting in a richly layered biography of an artist who redefined the visual culture of her period and whose art and life intersect in varied and surprising ways.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Anne Koval is Professor of Art History, Museum and Curatorial Studies at Mount Allison University. She is the author of Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision, Whistler in His Time, and the co-author of James McNeill Whistler: Beyond the Myth. 

Helen Fry in Conversation with Rory Cormac on “Crown, Cloak & Dagger”

Apr. 14, 2024
The British Royal Family and the intelligence community are two of the most mysterious and mythologized actors of the British State. Crown, Cloak, and Dagger offers a new history of how the two have been inextricably linked from the reign of Queen Victoria to the present. Fascinating and fast-paced, Crown, Cloak, and Dagger demonstrates that the British monarch continues to be far more than a figurehead. This book will inform as well as entertain anyone with an interest in history, espionage, and the royals.

AUTHOR – Professor Rory Cormac’s expertise lies in secret intelligence and covert operations. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Rory has written five books on secret intelligence and international security. His research has featured in most national newspapers and he regularly appears on radio and television. Alongside Richard Aldrich, he has co-presented history documentaries.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Jeff L. Lieberman in conversation with Rachel Shteir on her new biography Betty Friedan: Magnificent Disrupter

Apr. 11, 2024
The feminist writer and activist Betty Friedan (1921–2006), pathbreaking author of The Feminine Mystique, was powerful and polarizing. In this biography, the first in more than 20 years, Rachel Shteir draws on Friedan’s papers and on interviews with family, colleagues, and friends to create a nuanced portrait. Friedan was an active advocate for legislative changes to promote gender equality and her work remains foundational for scholars, activists, and anyone interested in understanding the evolution of women’s rights.

AUTHOR – Rachel Shteir is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She is the author of three previous books: Striptease: The Untold History of the Girlie Show (Oxford University Press, 2004), Gypsy: The Art of the Tease (Yale University Press, 2009), and The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting (The Penguin Press, 2011). She is also the founder and current head of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

PRESENTER – Jeff L. Lieberman is an award-winning Journalist, Producer and Filmmaker and the founder of Re-Emerging Films.

Lieberman’s newest documentary, “Bella!” profiles the trailblazing congresswoman, Bella Abzug and is the winner of the 2022 Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film.  

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett with Ruby Newman

Apr. 8, 2024
It’s spring and Lara’s three grown daughters have returned to the family orchard. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the one story they’ve always longed to hear – of the film star with whom she shared a stage, and a romance, years before. Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart.

AUTHOR – Ann Patchett is an American author. She received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the same year, for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett’s other novels include The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Run, State of Wonder, Commonwealth, The Dutch House, and Tom Lake.

PRESENTER – Professor Ruby Newman is Associate Professor of Humanities in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University.

Lori Weber on her book The Ribbon Leaf

Mar. 25, 2024

Classi Lectures in partnership with Beth Tikvah Synagogue and Canadian Jewish Literary Awards (CJLA)

The Ribbon Leaf tells the story of a forbidden friendship!
Two girls, one German and one Jewish, who grew up as best friends in southern Germany – until Kristallnacht. After this, their friendship is “verboten”.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Lori Weber is the author of 12 books for young readers, including The Ribbon Leaf, which was nominated for the 2023 Red Maple Award and the 2023 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People; it also won the 2023 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Fiction. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and English from Concordia University, an MA in English from Acadia University, and a Diploma in Education from McGill. A native Montrealer, she taught English at John Abbott College for twenty-seven years. After retiring, Lori returned to Nova Scotia, where she currently lives in Dartmouth.

P

Classi Conversation with Alexander Herman on his book “The Parthenon Marbles Dispute”

Mar. 7, 2024
This will look at the most infamous and long-standing cultural dispute of all, the conflict between Greece and the British Museum over the Parthenon Marbles. The session will consider the long history of the dispute, what deeper elements there are and whether a way forward exists.

AUTHOR – Alexander Herman is the Director of the Institute of Art and Law. He has written, taught and presented on an array of topics in relation to art, law and cultural property. 

“Amos Oz” author Robert Alter interviewed by Nicholas de Lange

Mar. 5, 2024
Oz was one of Israel’s most prominent writers, a regular contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the author of dozens of novels, essay collections, and novellas in a career spanning over half a century. This seminal work also explores his mother’s suicide; his time in Kibbutz Hulda following his separation from his father aged 14; his family’s right-wing Zionism; and his activism in support of a pluralistic Israel. Alter brings together testimony from Oz and his circle, as well as close readings of his central works, to present the inner world and public persona. In conversation with Amos Oz’s translator and friend, Nicholas de Lange.

AUTHOR – Robert Alter is professor of the Graduate School and emeritus professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. His many books include The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age, Imagined Cities: Urban Experience and The Language of the Novel, and Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible (Princeton).  

PRESENTER – Nicholas de Lange has written extensively on aspects of Judaism and Hebrew literature. He is well known as a translator of contemporary Hebrew fiction. His translation of JUDAS by Amos Oz was recently shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

Anna Porter on her book Kasztner’s Train

Feb. 28, 2024
The dramatic true story of a train that left Hungary at the end of the war taking 1,684 Jews to freedom.

Adolf Eichmann and his SS Sondercommando were determined to eliminate the entire Jewish population of Hungary, but Rezso Kasztner – a lawyer and Zionist activist – negotiated with Eichmann, pretending he represented “world Jewry”, an imaginary entity that Eichmann believed existed. He saved 1,684 Jews and was devastated that he had not succeeded in saving more.

AUTHOR – Anna Porter is the award-winning author of twelve books, both fiction and non-fiction, including Kasztner’s Train, winner of the Writers’ Trust Non-fiction Award and the Jewish Book Award for non-fiction, The Ghosts of Europe, winner of the Shaughnessey Cohen Award, and Buying a Better World, George Soros and Billionaire Philanthropy. Gull Island, a psychological thriller, is her 6th novel. She co-founded Key Porter Books, an influential publishing house she ran for more than twenty years. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada has been awarded the Order of Ontario.

Heather Camlot on The Prisoner and the Writer

Feb. 26, 2024
The Prisoner and the Writer: When a Jewish army captain is falsely accused of treason and sent to prison, a writer uses his pen to fight for justice. This powerful middle-grade story written in verse with full-page illustrations is told from the perspectives of both Alfred Dreyfus and Emile Zola, two men whose courage changed the world. The true story, published in time for the 125th anniversary of “J’Accuse …!”, acts as a reminder that a person committed to truth, justice and equality must stand up and speak out against prejudice for themselves — and for others.

AUTHOR – Heather Camlot is an award-winning children’s author, journalist, editor and translator. She has written five nonfiction books and two novels for middle-grade readers, including Clutch, which was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2017, and The Prisoner and the Writer, which won the 2023 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Children and Youth. Her latest is Becoming Bionic and Other Ways Science Is Making Us Super.

Helen Fry in Conversation with Jane Tippett on Once a King, The Lost Memoir of Edward VIII

Feb. 25, 2024
Jane Marguerite Tippett weaves together Edward’s writing alongside newly uncovered interviews with the Duke and Duchess, diary entries from ghostwriter Charles Murphy and other sources. Together this forms an extraordinary new portrait of one of the most famous characters in modern royal history and his recollections and innermost feelings, particularly around the abdication of 1936.

AUTHOR – Jane Marguerite Tippett grew up outside Philadelphia and studied at the Universities of Delaware and Oxford. She has worked as a consultant archivist and fine art curator to families and institutions in New York, London and Paris. She lives between London and New York.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Helen Fry in Conversation with Roger Moorhouse on The Forgers: The Forgotten Story of the Holocaust’s Most Audacious Rescue Operation

Oct. 29, 2023
Between 1940 and 1943, a group of Polish diplomats in Switzerland engaged in a wholly remarkable—and until now, completely unknown—humanitarian operation.

With the international community failing to act, the operation was one of the largest actions to aid Jews of the entire war. The Forgers tells this extraordinary story for the first time.

AUTHOR – Roger Moorhouse is a visiting professor at the College of Europe in Warsaw. The author of several books on World War II history, including Poland 1939 (winner of the Polish Foreign Ministry History Prize), Berlin at War (shortlisted for the Hessell-Tiltman Prize), and The Devils’ Alliance, he lives in the United Kingdom.  

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

“Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton with Janna Nadler

Oct. 23, 2023
Mira Bunting founded a guerrilla gardening group: Birnam Wood. An undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic gathering of friends, this activist collective plants crops wherever no one will notice: on the sides of roads, in forgotten parks, and neglected backyards.

AUTHOR –Eleanor Catton is a New Zealand author. Catton was born in Canada and lived in Yorkshire until the age of 13, before her family settled in Canterbury, New Zealand. She studied English at the University of Canterbury, and completed a Master’s in Creative Writing at The Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.  Currently she teaches creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology.

PRESENTER – Janna Nadler has a B.Ed. and a Ph.D. in English Literature and has taught courses in Canadian Literature, Canadian Studies, and Children’s Literature for the University of Toronto and McMaster University.  Janna has been facilitating BookTalks for over 15 years. Janna enjoys lecturing at Book Clubs throughout the city. She also teaches senior high school English at a private High School in Toronto.

Classi Conversation with Deirdre Kelly on her book

Oct. 16, 2023
More than great musicians, the Beatles were quintessential fashion icons of one of the most memorable fashion eras of all time, making their own rules and changing their looks as many as five times a year to keep a few steps ahead of the crowd.

More than 50 years after their break-up, their style continues to animate the collections of some of the world’s leading designers. Fashioning the Beatles, the first in-depth look at their sartorial legacy, demonstrates that their inimitable style was not an incidental by-product of their fame but an integral part of their act and a key to their globe-spanning success.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Deirdre Kelly has written on arts and culture since 1985, starting as the award-winning dance critic, pop music columnist and senior fashion reporter at The Globe and Mail newspaper and continuing today as a correspondent for the Dance Gazette in London, England, the luxury lifestyle magazine Fête Chinoise in Toronto, Canada, and the arts e-zine CriticsAtLarge, where she also writes on the Beatles, among other favourite topics. Her previous books are Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection.

Classi Conversation with Renee Rosen on her book Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl

Sept. 18, 2023
It’s 1938, and a young woman selling face cream out of a New York City beauty parlor is determined to prove she can have it all. Her name is Estée Lauder, and she’s about to take the world by storm, in this dazzling new novel from the USA Today bestselling author of The Social Graces and Park Avenue Summer.

In New York City, you can disappear into the crowd. At least that’s what Gloria Downing desperately hopes as she tries to reinvent herself after a devastating family scandal. She’s ready for a total life makeover and a friend she can lean on—and into her path walks a young, idealistic woman named Estée. Their chance encounter will change Gloria’s life forever.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Renee Rosen is a USA Today bestselling author. Her novels include Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl, The Social Graces, Park Avenue Summer, Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. She is currently working on a new novel about the Barbie doll creator, Ruth Handler, coming from Penguin Random House/Berkley in 2025.

Renee is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of The American University in Washington DC.  She now lives in Chicago.

She frequently visits with book clubs (either in person or via Zoom/Skype/FaceTime) and is available for speaking engagements.

Classi Conversation with Gill Paul on her book A Beautiful Rival

Sept. 7, 2023
In this stunning new novel, bestselling author Gill Paul reveals the infamous rivalry of cosmetic titans Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein.

When it came to business, nothing was off-limits: poaching employees, copying products, planting spies, hiring ex-husbands, and one-upping each other every chance they had. This was a rivalry from which there was no surrender!

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the 20th century and often writing about the lives of real women. Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty languages. The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a book-club favourite worldwide.

She is also the author of several non-fiction books on historical subjects. She lives in London and swims year-round in a wild pond.

Helen Fry in Conversation with Katja Hoyer on her book “Beyond the Wall”

Aug. 27, 2023
In Beyond the Wall, acclaimed historian Katja Hoyer sets aside the usual Cold War caricatures of the GDR to offer a kaleidoscopic new vision of this vanished country, revealing the rich political, social, and cultural landscape that existed amid oppression and hardship. Drawing on a vast array of never-before-seen interviews and documents, this is the definitive history of the other Germany, beyond the Wall.

AUTHOR –Katja Hoyer is a German-British historian and journalist. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Katja is a Global Opinions columnist for the Washington Post and also writes for The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph, Die Welt and other newspapers on current political affairs in Germany and Europe. Her historical essays have featured in History Today and BBC History Extra. She hosts the podcast The New Germany together with The Times’ Berlin correspondent Oliver Moody. Her debut book ‘Blood and Iron’ has been well-received by critics and academics alike. She was born in (East) Germany and read history at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena. Katja is now based in Sussex, UK.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Classi Conversation with Anne Dublin and Trudee Romanek

On Anne’s book: Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything and Trudee’s play on the same subject

Aug. 24, 2023
Set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. Inspired by actual events, author Pip Williams has delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to tell this highly original story. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world. 

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Anne Dublin is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and was born in a displaced persons camp in Salzburg, Austria. Her family came to Canada when she was very young. She grew up in Toronto and was an elementary school teacher and librarian for over 25 years. She taught in Nairobi, Kingston, Winnipeg, and Toronto.

Anne has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including the Canadian Jewish Literary Award (Youth) for her last two historical novels: 44 Hours or Strike! and A Cage Without Bars, as well as the IODE Violet Downey Award and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Bobbie Rosenfedl: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything.

Classi Conversation with Cary Fagan on his book: Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart

July 18, 2023
In 10 compelling and delightful stories, Cary Fagan highlights ordinary people and how hope and their stories expand our acceptance of human frailty and unpredictable capacity for change.

AUTHOR –Cary Fagan is an award-winning author of novels, short stories and children’s books.

PRESENTER – 

Helen Fry in Conversation with Michael Smith – part 2 “The Real Special Relationship”

July 16, 2023
The first conversation dealt with the US/UK relationship during WWII. Helen is back to discuss with Michael, the more recent relationship regarding Afghanistan, China, and Russia.

AUTHOR – Michael Smith is the number-one bestselling author of Station X. He served in the British Army’s Intelligence Corps and was an award-winning journalist for the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times. He is now a full-time novelist and intelligence historian.

Smith’s latest book is The Real Special Relationship, a widely acclaimed account of the exceptionally close intelligence relationship between British and American spies and codebreakers from Bletchley Park to the war in Ukraine. He lives near Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Classi Conversation: Norman Ravvin on his book Who Gets In: An Immigration Story

July 10, 2023
Born from years of archival research, Who Gets In is author Norman Ravvin’s deeply personal family memoir, telling the story of his grandfather’s resolute struggle against xenophobic and anti-Semitic government policies. Ravvin also provides a shocking exposé of the true character of nation-building in Canada and directly challenges its reputation as a benevolent, tolerant, and multicultural country.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER –Norman Ravvin is a writer, teacher, and critic.  His new memoir is Who Gets In: An Immigration Story (University of Regina Press).  Based on his grandfather’s emigration from Poland in 1930 and his early years on the Saskatchewan prairie, it tells a private story as well as one about Canada in those years.  Using archival research and an ear for Jewish lives in Europe and Canada in the thirties, it provides a fresh view of the period.  Ravvin’s recent novel, The Girl Who Stole Everything, is set in contemporary Poland and Vancouver.  It was chosen by the Globe & Mail as one of the best books from independent publishers.  Previous publications include novels, The Joyful Child and Lola by Night, and the story collection Sex, Skyscrapers and Standard Yiddish.  He is co-editor of the Canadian Jewish Studies Reader and Failure’s Opposite: Listening to A.M. Klein.  His essays are collected in Hidden Canada: An Intimate Travelogue and A House of Words: Jewish Writing, Identity, and Memory.  A native of Calgary, he lived in Vancouver, Toronto, and Fredericton before settling with his family in Montreal where he teaches at Concordia University.

Helen Fry In Conversation with Clare Mulley on “The Spy Who Loved”

The Untold Story of Britain’s First Female Special Agent of World War II

June 25, 2023
In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessed colleague in a hotel in the South Kensington district of London. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising; that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable.

AUTHOR – Clare Mulley is an English award-winning author and broadcaster. Her first book, The Woman Who Saved the Children: A Biography of Eglantyne Jebb republished in 2019 to mark the centenary of Save the Children, won the Daily Mail Biographer’s Club Prize.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Helen Fry In Conversation on her book “Spymaster”

June 11, 2023
The dramatic story of a man who stood at the center of British intelligence operations, the ultimate spymaster of World War II: Thomas Kendrick

Helen Fry draws on extensive original research to tell the story of remarkable British intelligence officer, Thomas Kendrick. His life sheds light on the development of MI6 itself—he was one of the few men to serve Britain across three wars, two of which while working for the British Secret Service. Fry explores the private and public sides of Kendrick, revealing him to be the epitome of the “English gent”—easily able to charm those around him and scrupulously secretive.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER –Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Cathy Tile on The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

May 29, 2023
Set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. Inspired by actual events, author Pip Williams has delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to tell this highly original story. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world. 

AUTHOR – Pip Williams was born in London, grew up in Sydney, and now lives in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia with her family and an assortment of animals. She has spent most of her working life as a social researcher, studying what keeps us well and what helps us thrive, and she is the author of One Italian Summer, a memoir of her family’s travels in search of the good life, which was published by Affirm Press to wide acclaim. Her first novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words, based on her original research in the Oxford English Dictionary archives, was published in 2020 and became an international bestseller. The Bookbinder of Jericho is her second novel and again combines her talent for historical research and beautiful storytelling.

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Helen Fry In Conversation with Michael Smith on “Foley – The Spy who saved 10,000 Jews”

May 28, 2023
During the 1920s and 1930s, Frank Foley worked as Chief Passport Control Officer for the British Embassy in Berlin, a cover for his role as MI6 Head of Station there. As the Nazi administration increased its stranglehold over the country, Foley used his position to issue visas to countless Jews, allowing them to escape to Britain legally. This biography also recounts many of the escapes that Foley enabled.

Michael Smith has researched and vividly written one of the greatest unknown heroic stories of the Second World War.

AUTHOR – Michael Smith is the number one best-selling author of a wide variety of books on spies and special forces. He served in British military intelligence before becoming an award-winning journalist, working for the BBC,

Jon S. Dellandrea in Conversation on his book… The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case: The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson Forgeries

May 8, 2023
The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case takes readers back to 1962, a time when forgeries were turning up on gallery walls, in auction houses, and (unwittingly) being hung in the homes of luminaries across Canada. Inspector James Erskine, enlisting the help of A.J. Casson, the youngest living member of the Group of Seven, set out to discover where the forgeries were coming from. Fifty years later, Dellandrea follows Erskine’s hunt to the end, uncovering the masterminds behind the forgeries.

AUTHOR – Dr. Jon Samuel Dellandrea, CM (born October 8, 1949) is a Canadian author and art historian, and a former hospital foundation executive, university executive and educator. He is a senior fellow at Massey College, chair emeritus of the Art Canada Institute, and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Helen Fry in Conversation with Susan Ronald on Hitler’s Aristocrats

April 2, 2023
Hitler’s aristocrats became his eyes, listening posts, and mouthpieces in the drawing rooms, cocktail parties, and weekend retreats of Europe and America. Among these “gentlemen spies” and “ladies of mystery” were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Lady Nancy Astor, Charles Lindbergh, and two of the Mitford sisters.

AUTHOR – Susan Ronald, Born and raised in the United States, is a British-American biographer and historian of more than half a dozen books, including Conde NastThe Ambassador, A Dangerous WomanHitler’s Art Thief, and Heretic Queen. She lives in rural England with her writer husband.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Cathy Tile Review on The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

March 20, 2023
The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian—who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.

AUTHOR – Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years’ experience as a litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms, who found her calling unearthing the hidden historical stories of women. Her mission is to excavate from the past the most important, complex and fascinating women of history and bring them into the light of present-day where we can finally perceive the breadth of their contributions as well as the insights they bring to modern day issues. 

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Helen Fry in Conversation with David Burke on The Lawn Road Flats

March 9, 2023
The story of a modernist building with a significant place in the history of Soviet espionage in Britain, where communist spies rubbed shoulders with British artists, sculptors and writers.

AUTHOR – David Burke, historian of intelligence and international relations.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Helen Fry in Conversation with Joseph Sassoon on The Global Merchants The Enterprise and Extravagance of the Sassoon Dynasty

February 12, 2023
As a Baghdad teenager, Joseph Sassoon was “totally uninterested” in the family stories his father wanted to tell him. It’s all the more extraordinary then, that as a present-day economic historian, Professor Joseph Sassoon has produced a sweeping account of part of his remarkable family, once hailed as “The Rothschilds of the East”.

AUTHOR – Joseph Sassoon is Professor of History and Political Economy at Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and holds the al-Sabah Chair in Politics and Political Economy of the Arab World. He is also a Senior Associate Member at St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he also completed his PhD. Professor Sassoon, whose research focuses on political economy, economic history, Iraq, Iraqi refugees, and authoritarianism, has published extensively and is the author of five books.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Cathy Tile in Conversation with Dawn Promislow on Wan

February 6, 2023
Narrated in a completely distinctive and mesmerizing voice, Wan is the story of Jacqueline, a privileged artist in 1970s South Africa. After an anti-apartheid activist comes to hide in her garden house, Jacqueline’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel.

AUTHOR – Dawn Promislow was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the author of the collection Jewels and Other Stories, which was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award 2011, and named one of the eight best fiction debuts of 2010 by The Globe and Mail. She has also published award-nominated short stories, poems, and essays in literary journals and anthologies in Canada, the US, and the UK, and has led creative writing workshops at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and at schools. 

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Helen Fry in Conversation with Clare Mulley: The Women Who Flew for Hitler

A riveting biography of two of the most highly decorated women test pilots.

February 5, 2023
Hanna Reitsch and Melitta von Stauffenberg were talented, courageous and strikingly attractive women who fought convention to make their names in the male-dominated field of flight in 1930s Germany. With the war, both became pioneering test pilots and both were awarded the Iron Cross for service to the Third Reich. But they could not have been more different and neither woman had a good word to say for the other.

AUTHOR – Clare Mulley is an award-winning popular historian, author and broadcaster, primarily focused on female experience during the Second World War.

Clare is currently writing Agent Zo: Woman on a Mission, a biography of the only woman in the Polish special forces, the ‘Silent Unseen’, who were trained in country houses across Britain. To be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 2024.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Cathy Tile in Conversation with Colm Toibin on The Magician

January 30, 2023
The Magician opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone.

AUTHOR – Colm Tóibín, Irish author of such notable works as Brooklyn (2009), a love story set within the landscape of Irish migration to the United States in the 1950s.

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Helen Fry in Conversation with Simon Parkin on his book Extraordinary Captives

December 4, 2022
The remarkable untold story of a Jewish orphan who fled Nazi Germany for London, only to be arrested there by the British government and sent to an internment camp for suspected foreign agents on the Isle of Man, alongside a renowned group of refugee musicians, intellectuals, artists, and—possibly—genuine spies.

AUTHOR – Simon Parkin is an English writer. He is a contributing writer for The New Yorker,[1] a critic for The Observer,[2] and the author of three non-fiction books. His work has appeared in The New York Times, the New Statesman1843, and he is a frequent contributor to The Long Read in The Guardian.[3]

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Cathy Tile Review on Fight Night by Miriam Toews

November 28, 2022
Fight Night is told in the unforgettable voice of Swiv, a nine-year-old living in Toronto with her pregnant mother, who is raising Swiv while caring for her own elderly, frail, yet extraordinarily lively mother. As Swiv records her thoughts and observations, Fight Night unspools the pain, love, laughter, and above all, will to live a good life across three generations of women in a close-knit family. But it is Swiv’s exasperating, wise and irrepressible Grandma who is at the heart of this novel: someone who knows intimately what it costs to survive in this world, yet has found a way—painfully, joyously, ferociously—to love and fight to the end, on her own terms.

AUTHOR – Miriam Toews OM is a Canadian writer and author of nine books, including A Complicated Kindness, All My Puny Sorrows, and Women Talking. She has won a number of literary prizes including the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Cathy Tile Review on The Promise by Damon Galgut

October 24, 2022 A modern family saga written in gorgeous prose by three-time Booker Prize-shortlisted author Damon Galgut. Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa. Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country—one of resentment, renewal, and, ultimately, hope. The Promise is an epic drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of national history, sure to please current fans and attract many new ones.

AUTHOR – Damon Galgut is a South African novelist and playwright. He was awarded the 2021 Booker Prize for his novel The Promise, having previously been shortlisted for the award in 2003 and 2010

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Robin Lustig talks with Helen Fry on his book “Is Anything Happening?: My Life as a Newsman”

August 28, 2022
In this witty and illuminating memoir, BBC journalist Robin Lustig looks back on his life as a newsman, from coming under fire in Pakistan to reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall; and from meeting Nelson Mandela to covering Princess Diana’s sudden death. Astute, incisive, and frequently hilarious, Is Anything Happening? is both an irresistible personal memoir and an insightful reflection on world events over the past 45 years.

AUTHOR – Robin Lustig is a well known British journalist and radio broadcaster who anchored “Newshour” on BBC World Service and “The World Tonight” on BBC Radio 4.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Classi Conversations with Gary Barwin

July 18, 2022
Gary Barwin did a reading and talked about his book Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the CowboyWinner of the 2021 Canadian Jewish Literary Award For Fiction. An imaginative and deeply felt exploration of genocide, persecution, colonialism and masculinity–saturated in Gary Barwin’s sharp wit and perfect pun-play–Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy is a one-of-a-kind novel of sheer genius.

PRESENTER/AUTHOR – Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and multidisciplinary artist and the author of 23 books of poetry, fiction and books for children. His recent national bestselling novel, Yiddish for Pirates, won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour as well as the Canadian Jewish Literary Award and the Hamilton Literary Award. It was also a finalist for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe: New and Selected Poems was also recently published to much acclaim. A PhD in music composition, Barwin has taught creative writing at a number of colleges and universities. His prose and poetry has been published in hundreds of magazine and journals internationally–from Reader’s Digest to Granta and the Walrus. 

Gayle Kertzman in Conversation with Marsha Lederman on “Kiss the Red Stairs”

June 22, 2022
Kiss the Red Stairs is a compelling memoir by award-winning journalist Marsha Lederman and delves into her parents’ Holocaust stories in the wake of her own divorce, investigating how trauma migrates through generations with empathy, humour, and resilience. Marsha was five when a simple question led to a horrifying answer. Sitting in her kitchen, she asked her mother why she didn’t have any grandparents. Her mother told her the truth. Kiss the Red Stairs is a gripping story of Holocaust survival, intergenerational trauma, divorce, and discovery that will guide readers through several lifetimes of monumental change.

AUTHOR – Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. She covers the film and television industry, visual art, literature, music, theatre, dance, cultural policy, and other related areas. Before joining The Globe, Marsha worked for CBC Radio, mostly in Toronto, where she held a variety of positions, including National Arts Reporter, morning news editor, and founding senior producer on Q. Marsha also worked for many years in private radio as a reporter, news anchor and talk show host. She was born in Toronto and has lived in Vancouver since 2007.

PRESENTER – Gayle Kertzman is Beth Tikvah’s Director of Programs, Events and Community Relations. This comes after seven years of serving the community as our Program and Lifecycle Coordinator.  In her role, Gayle is responsible for planning a wide range of programs, events and activities across the Synagogue membership, while deepening the connections with our members, the Jewish community and the broader community.  

Pauline Pankowski in Conversation with Eva Stachniak on Eva’s new book The School of Mirrors

June 16, 2022
A scintillating, gorgeously written historical novel about a mother and a daughter in eighteenth-century France, beginning with decadence and palace intrigue at Versailles and ending in an explosive new era of revolution.

During the reign of Louis XV, poor but beautiful teenage girls from all over France are sent to a discreet villa in the town of Versailles. Overseen by the King’s favorite mistress, Madame de Pompadour, they will be trained as potential courtesans for the King.

AUTHOR – Eva Stachniak is an award-winning and internationally bestselling author of five novels. The Winter Palace was a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and made The Washington Post’s most notable fiction list in 2012. She holds a PhD in literature from McGill University. Born and raised in Poland, she moved to Canada in 1981, and lives in Toronto. Her latest novel, The Chosen Maiden, was published in Canada, US, Germany, Poland, and Italy.

PRESENTER – Pauline Pankowski 

Cathy Tile on “The Mystery of Mrs. Christie” by Marie Benedict

May 16, 2022
In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car-strange for a frigid night. Her World War I veteran husband and her daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

AUTHOR – Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than 10 years’ experience as a commercial litigator at two of the country’s premier law firms. While practicing as a NYC lawyer, Marie dreamed of a fantastical job unearthing the hidden historical stories of women — and finally found it when she tried her hand at writing. 

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Helen Fry In Conversation with Tracy Borman on “Crown & Sceptre”

May 4, 2022
Appealing to the intrinsic fascination with British royalty, Borman lifts the veil to reveal the remarkable characters and personalities who have ruled Britain. Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the Monarchy has been more ceremonial―a crucial distinction explaining the staying power as the royal family has evolved and adapted, avoiding the storms of rebellion that brought many of Europe’s royals to an abrupt end.

AUTHOR – Tracy Borman is a best-selling author, historian and broadcaster, specializing in the Tudor period. Her books include Elizabeth’s Women, which was Book of the Week on Radio 4 and Thomas Cromwell: the untold story of Henry VIII’s most faithful servant. Her highly acclaimed debut fiction trilogy, inspired by the events surrounding the Gunpowder Plot, comprises The King’s Witch, The Devil’s Slave and The Fallen Angel. Tracy’s latest book is Crown & Sceptre: A New History of the British Monarchy, William the Conqueror to Elizabeth II.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Cathy Tile on “Madame Fourcade’s Secret War” by Lynne Olson

April 4, 2022
In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war.

AUTHOR – Lynne Olson is an American author, historian and journalist. She was born on August 19, 1949, and is married to Stanley Cloud, with whom she often writes. In 1969 she graduated from University of Arizona. Before becoming a writer she worked for the Associated Press and the Baltimore Sun. 

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Helen Fry in Conversation with Robert Hutton on “Agent Jack”

April 3, 2022
Agent Jack is the incredible true story of  Jack King” – in reality, a bank clerk named Eric Roberts. Based in the UK he pretended to be a Gestapo agent and  hundreds of British-based Nazi sympathisers and informers passed their secrets on to him thinking  he was sending them back to Germany. Many were put on a salary by what they thought was the Third Reich and some were even ‘awarded’ Iron Crosses for their services to the Fatherland; they never found out the truth.

AUTHOR – Robert Hutton spent 16 years covering the British government for Bloomberg, taking in five prime ministers, as many elections, and the odd referendum. He is now sketchwriter for The Critic. 
His first two books were both satire: Romps, Tots & Boffins, is about the words only journalists use, and Would They Lie to You? was about the way politicians got around reality without actually uttering untruths (it was a more innocent age).

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Helen Rappaport in Conversation With Helen Fry on Her Book “After the Romanovs”

March 6, 2022
Helen brilliantly evokes the lives and stories of the Russian emigration to Paris…from artistic exiles in the days of the Belle Époque to the mass exodus of political refugees after the revolution of 1917… different country but eerily similar to today! Helen has written about an era where people fled for their lives because they feared the new leadership.. little did she know how like today her book would be!

AUTHOR – Dr. Helen Rappaport is an internationally & New York Times bestselling historian and author of 15 books specializing in the Victorian period and revolutionary Russia. She is a fluent Russian speaker and a specialist in Russian history and 19th century women’s history. Her great passion is to winkle out lost stories from the footnotes and to breathe new life and perspectives into old subjects.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Helen Rappaport in Conversation With Helen Fry on her book “Victoria”

March 6, 2022
Helen Rappaport talks about the life, loves, and relationships of Queen Victoria, about her children, her personal interests, the historic times in which she ruled, and the leaders she influenced, as well as her extended European family whose influence is felt today.

AUTHOR – Dr. Helen Rappaport is an internationally & New York Times bestselling historian and author of 15 books specializing in the Victorian period and revolutionary Russia. She is a fluent Russian speaker and a specialist in Russian history and 19th century women’s history. Her great passion is to winkle out lost stories from the footnotes and to breathe new life and perspectives into old subjects.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Rosemary Sullivan in Conversation with Rona Arato on The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation

February 28, 2022
The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation is the riveting story of their mission. Rosemary Sullivan introduces us to the investigators, explains the behaviour of both the captives and their captors and profiles a group of suspects. All the while, she vividly brings to life wartime Amsterdam: a place where no matter how wealthy, educated, or careful you were, you never knew whom you could trust.

AUTHOR – Rosemary Sullivan, the author of 15 books, is best known for her recent biography Stalin’s Daughter. Published in twenty-three countries, it won the Biographers International Organization Plutarch Award and was a finalist for the PEN /Bograd Weld Award for Biography and the National Books Critics Circle Award. Her book Villa Air-Bel was awarded the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Award in Holocaust History. She is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and has lectured in Canada, the U.S., Europe, India, and Latin America.

PRESENTER – Rona Arato, a former teacher, is an award-winning children’s author with a strong interest in the field of human rights. From 1994 to 1998, she was an interviewer for Survivors of the Shoah, a Steven Spielberg project that recorded the histories of Holocaust survivors. She is the author of Courage and Compassion and the On a Day Story Voyages series, among others. She lives in Toronto.

Andrew Lownie in conversation with Helen Fry on his book “Stalin’s Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess”

February 13, 2022
In this first full biography, Andrew Lownie shows us how even Burgess’s chaotic personal life of drunken philandering did nothing to stop his penetration and betrayal of the British Intelligence Service. Even when he was under suspicion, the fabled charm which had enabled many close personal relationships with influential Establishment figures (including Winston Churchill) prevented his exposure as a spy for many years.

AUTHOR – Andrew Lownie  has a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. His dissertation at Edinburgh was titled: Stalin’s Englishman: The Lives of Guy Burgess. Lownie founded his eponymous literary agency in 1988. It specialises in non-fiction, representing some 200 authors, and is reported to have “regularly been the top selling agent in the world.”

PRESENTER –  Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

January 31, 2022
Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.

AUTHOR – Maggie O’Farrell (born 1972, Coleraine Northern Ireland) is a British author of contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones’ 25 Authors for the Future. It is possible to identify several common themes in her novels – the relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters. 

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

In Conversation with Eric Jennings on his new book, “Escape from Vichy”
January 26, 2022

The story of the daring escape of Jewish refugees from Vichy France to the Caribbean. The origins of the Jewish Community in the Caribbean.

AUTHOR – Eric Jennings

PRESENTER –  Eric Jennings is a leading authority in the fields of modern French colonial history and the study of France and the Francophonie. His many publications in Canada’s two official languages have contributed to globalizing and de-centering the history of France.  They have spanned and involved archival research on five continents.  

Andrew Lownie talks about his new book, The Mountbattens: The Lives and Loves of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten, with Helen Fry
January 16, 2022

The intimate story of a unique marriage spanning the heights of British glamour and power that descends into infidelity, manipulation, and disaster through the heart of the twentieth century.

AUTHOR – Andrew Lownie has been a bookseller, publisher, journalist , writing for the Times, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal , Spectator and Guardian, and since 1988 has run his own literary agency specialising in history and biography.

PRESENTER –  Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Helen Fry discusses her new book, Spymaster, with Robin Lustig
December 12, 2021
Thomas Kendrick was central to the British Secret Service from its beginnings through to the Second World War. He ran spy networks across Europe, facilitated the escape of Austrian Jews, and later went on to set up the “M Room,” a listening operation which elicited information of the same significance and scope as Bletchley Park. Yet the work of Kendrick, and its full significance, remains largely unknown.

AUTHOR – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

PRESENTER – Robin Lustig is a British journalist and radio broadcaster, who has presented programmes for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4.

Klara & the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
November 29, 2021
The first novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature tells the story of Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, who, from her place in the store, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her.

AUTHOR – Kazuo Ishiguro is known as one of the greatest British authors. He has received 4 ‘Man Booker Prize’ nominations. He has also won a prize for his novel ‘The Remains of the Day’ in 1989. He was also ranked on number 32 on ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’ by The Times.

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Andrew Lownie in conversation with Helen Fry on Traitor King: The Scandalous Exile of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
November 7, 2021

Extensive and new research into hitherto unused archives and Freedom of Information requests, it makes the case that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were not the naïve dupes of the Germans but actively intrigued against Britain in both war and peace.

Traitor King tells the story of a royal exiled with his wife, turning his back on duty, his family and using his position for financial gain.

AUTHOR – Andrew Lownie has been a bookseller, publisher, journalist , writing for the Times, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal , Spectator and Guardian, and since 1988 has run his own literary agency specialising in history and biography.

PRESENTER –  Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Anne Sebba returns to talk with Helen Fry about her new book Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy
October 10, 2021

In June 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a couple with two young sons, were led separately from their prison cells on Death Row and electrocuted moments apart. Both had been convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. This book is the first to focus on one half of that couple for more than thirty years, and much new evidence has surfaced since then.
 

AUTHOR – Anne Sebba is an award-winning British biographer, writer, lecturer and journalist. She is the author of nine non-fiction books for adults, two biographies for children and several introductions to reprinted classics.

PRESENTER –  Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

The Convert by Stefan Hertmans
October 4, 2021

In this dazzling work of historical fiction, the Man Booker International–long-listed author of War and Turpentine reconstructs the tragic story of a medieval noblewoman who leaves her home and family for the love of a Jewish boy.

Based on two fragments from the Cairo Genizah—a repository of more than 300,000 manuscripts and documents stored in the upper chamber of a synagogue in Old Cairo—Stefan Hertmans has pieced together a remarkable work of imagination, re-creating the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers whose steps he retraces almost a millennium later. Blending fact and fiction, and with immense imagination and stylistic ingenuity, Hertmans painstakingly depicts Vigdis’s terrible trials, bringing the Middle Ages to life and illuminating a chaotic world of love and hate.

AUTHOR – Stefan Hertmans is considered to be one of the outstanding Flemish writers of his generation. He has won or been nominated for most of the literary prizes in the Dutch-speaking world (Multatuli Prize, Arch Prize of the Free Word, AKO Prize, Libris Prize, Bordewijk Prize, Prize of the Flemish Provinces, ‘State’ prize of the Flemish Community, Paul Snoek Prize, …).

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Susan Ronald, author of The Ambassador, talks to Helen Fry
September  26, 2021

Acclaimed biographer Susan Ronald reveals the truth about Joseph P. Kennedy’s deeply controversial tenure as Ambassador to Great Britain on the eve of World War II.

Through meticulous research and many newly available sources, Ronald confirms in impressive detail what has long been believed by many: that Kennedy was a Fascist sympathizer and an anti-Semite whose only loyalty was to his family’s advancement.

“Ronald’s lucid narrative… not only examines United States resources, but also enhances the story by reviewing a multitude of British documents that few have included, resolving any ambiguities [and] leaving the reader with the inescapable conclusion that The Ambassador was a Nazi and fascist appeaser as well as a blatant anti-Semite.” — Irwin F. Gellman, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of Secret Affairs.

AUTHOR – Susan Ronald is a British-American biographer and historian of eight books, including Conde Nast, The Ambassador, A Dangerous Woman, Hitler’s Art Thief, and Heretic Queen. She lives in rural England with her writer husband.

PRESENTER –  Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Classi Conversations in partnership with Beth Tikvah Synagogue present: Genevieve Graham on her book “Letters Across The Sea”
August 11, 2021

Inspired by a little-known chapter of World War II history, a young Protestant girl and her Jewish neighbour are caught up in the terrible wave of hate sweeping the globe on the eve of war in this powerful love story that’s perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

AUTHOR – Genevieve Graham is the #1 bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child, Letters Across the Sea, Tides of Honour, Promises to Keep, Come from Away, and At the Mountain’s Edge. She is passionate about breathing life back into Canadian history through tales of love and adventure.

PRESENTER –

Classi Conversations in partnership with Beth Tikvah Synagogue present: Gayle Kerzman with Rachel Beanland on her book “Florence Adler Swims Forever”
July 28, 2021

Over the course of one summer that begins with a shocking tragedy, three generations of the Adler family grapple with heartbreak, romance, and the weight of family secrets.

AUTHOR – Rachel Beanland is a writer of uncommon wit and wisdom, with a sharp and empathetic eye for character. She’ll win you over in the most old fashioned of ways: She simply tells a hell of a story.” 

PRESENTER – Gayle Kerzman

Classi Conversations in partnership with Beth Tikvah Synagogue present: Jonathan Kaufman talking to Rabbi Louis J. Sachs on his new book “The Last Kings of Shanghai”

July 21, 2021

Free Event
An epic, multigenerational saga of two rival Jewish families, the Sassoons and the Khadoories, who flourished in Shanghai and Hong Kong as twentieth-century China surged into the modern era.
A fascinating and easy read about the intrigues, passion, and remarkable history of how these families ignited an economic boom and opened China to the world, but remained blind to the country’s deep inequality and to the political turmoil on their doorstep.
In spite of their rivalry they combined their efforts to save hundreds of Jews in Shanghai & Lisbon during WWII.

AUTHOR – Jonathan Kaufman is Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, editor and author. He is currently Executive Editor for Company News at Bloomberg News. Projects he has overseen at Bloomberg have won numerous awards including finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, several George Polk Awards, an Overseas Press Club Award, a Gerald Loeb Award and Education Writers Association Grand Prize. 

PRESENTER – Rabbi Louis J. Sachs is the Associate Rabbi of Beth Tikvah. Also, he currently serves as both the Vice-President of the Ontario Rabbinical Assembly and chair of the Willowdale Interfaith Coalition.

Classi Conversations: Edward Rutherfurd talks about his new book “China”
June 21, 2021

This seventy-year family saga starts in the nineteenth century, during the reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria. Through the human stories of British, American and Chinese families, the novel tells the sweeping and dramatic tale of how the West met the exotic Empire of China and humiliated her. The history it relates led directly to the tragic events of the twentieth century and the attitude of China towards the rest of the world today.

AUTHOR Edward Rutherfurd is best known as a writer of epic historical novels which span long periods of history but are set in particular places.

PRESENTER – 

Helen Fry in Conversation with Kate Quinn on her book “The Rose Code”
June 13, 2021

A heart-stopping World War II story.
It’s 1940 at Bletchley Park in the UK where three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes.

A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…

AUTHOR – Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of Southern California she is a lifelong history buff she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two books set in the Italian Renaissance before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, and The Rose Code. “The reigning queen of historical fiction” — Fiona Davis, New York Times

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Kate Vigurs in Conversation with Helen Fry on her new book “Mission France”
May 16, 2021

Mission France: The True History of the Women of SOE

Formed in 1940, Special Operations Executive was to coordinate Resistance work overseas. Kate Vigurs interweaves for the first time the stories of all 39 female agents. Tracing their journeys from early recruitment to work undertaken in the field, to evasion from, or capture by, the Gestapo, Vigurs shows just how greatly missions varied.

Among them was Noor Inayat Khan, best known for her heroism as a clandestine Allied wireless radio operative in occupied France during World War II.

AUTHOR Dr Kate Vigurs is a professional freelance historian whose PhD at the University of Leeds was entitled ‘The women agents of the Special Operations Executive F section – wartime realities and post war representations’.  Her extensive research included interviewing agents, historians, actresses and script writers, as well as visiting France several times and undertaking an extensive tour of memorials to the women of F section including Ravensbrück and Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camps.

AUTHOR – Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of Southern California she is a lifelong history buff she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two books set in the Italian Renaissance before turning to the 20th century with The Alice Network, The Huntress, and The Rose Code. “The reigning queen of historical fiction” — Fiona Davis, New York Times

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Emily Urquhart in Conversation with Carol Bishop Gwyn on “The Age of Creativity”
May 6, 2021

When Emily and her family celebrated the eightieth birthday of her father, the illustrious artist Tony Urquhart, she found it remarkable that, although his pace had slowed, he was continuing his daily art practice of drawing, painting, and constructing large-scale sculptures, and was even innovating his style. It has long been thought that artistic output declines in old age. Many well-known visual artists completed their best work in the last decade of their lives, Turner, Monet, and Cézanne among them.

With the curiosity of a journalist, Urquhart began an investigation into late-stage creativity, asking: Is it possible that our best work is ahead of us? Is there an expiry date on creativity? Do we ever really know when we’ve done anything for the last time?

AUTHOR – Emily Urquhart has a PhD in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her first book, Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes, was a Maclean’s bestseller and a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2015. She teaches creative nonfiction at Wilfrid Laurier.

PRESENTER – Carol Bishop Gwyn is a former arts producer at CBC Radio and journalist. Her first biography, The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franca, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

Lesley Wyle in Conversation with Helen Fry on “Becoming Lesley”
April 25, 2021

At the age of 100, Lesley Wyle published her amazing memoirs.
She grew up in Vienna and after making it to the UK, worked for the BBC.
At the end of the war she worked for the Americans in Germany before coming to Canada and becoming an editor.
A heartwarming and true story of resilience.
 

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

An Evening with Mystery Thriller Writer Robert Rotenberg
April 15 2021

Robert Rotenberg is the criminal lawyer and novelist who’s made his fictional Toronto detective, Ari Greene, one of the top homicide sleuths in the world of contemporary mysteries.

Downfall” is his latest crime thriller. A page turner filled with references to places in the city you know well!  In “Downfall” he also explores the disparity between rich and poor and the homelessness crisis.

AUTHOR – Robert Rotenberg is the author of several bestselling novels, including Old City Hall, The Guilty Plea, Stray Bullets, Stranglehold, and Heart of the City. He also writes for television and teaches writing.

“ …being a writer makes me a better lawyer and being a lawyer makes me a better writer. Both are about the endlessly fascinating journey that we go through in our lives. That’s the story that I always strive to tell.

David O’Keefe In Conversation with Helen Fry on his new book “One Day in August”
March 21, 2021

The groundbreaking, thrilling, ultra-secret story behind one of WWII’s most enduring mysteries, which fundamentally changes our understanding of this sorrowful event in Canada’s past.

Classi Lectures provides a wonderful range of virtual talks and events on all periods and aspects of history. As a published historian specialising in the period after 1945, I cannot recommend them highly enough to anyone interested in the subject.” Trevor Barnes, Author

AUTHOR – David O’Keefe is an award-winning historian, documentarian and professor at Marianopolis College in Westmount, Quebec. He worked as a Signals Intelligence research historian for the Directorate of History and Heritage (DND). In 2002 he joined forces with Emmy award-winner producer Wayne Abbott; among the television documentaries they have made is Dieppe Uncovered, which aired simultaneously on History Television in Canada and Yesterday TV in the U.K. on 70th anniversary of the raid, to major acclaim.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Anne Sebba with Helen Fry on her book “Jennie Churchill – Winton’s American Mother”
March 14, 2021

Part of the Churchill The Man Series. In 1874 Brooklyn born Jennie Jerome moved into the British aristocracy to become Lady Randolph Churchill. At a time when women had few freedoms, she became a cornerstone of high society and a political behind-the-scenes dynamo. With unprecedented access to private correspondence Anne will tell the stories of Jennie – a woman known for her sexual freedoms and love life.

AUTHOR – Anne Sebba is an award-winning British biographer, writer, lecturer and journalist. She is the author of nine non-fiction books for adults, two biographies for children and several introductions to reprinted classics.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

The Kennedys in the World: How Jack, Bobby, and Ted Remade America’s Empire
by Lawrence J. Haas
March 1, 2021

The Kennedys in the World tells a new, rich, fascinating, and consequential story about Jack, Bobby, and Ted Kennedy. From an early age the brothers developed a deep understanding of the different peoples, cultures, and ideologies around the world; a keen appreciation for the challenges that such differences created for the United States; and a strong desire to reshape America’s response to them.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Lawrence J. Haas is an award-winning journalist and former senior White House official, is senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, a columnist on foreign affairs, and a TV and radio commentator. 

Head of the Mossad: In Pursuit of a Safe and Secure Israel
February 21, 2021
Free event sponsored by CL & Beth Tikvah

In this exciting and engaging book, Shavit combines memoir with sober reflection to reveal what happened during the seven years he led what is widely recognized today as one of the most powerful and proficient intelligence agencies in the world.

Shavit offers a broad sweep of the integral importance of intelligence in these historical settings and the role that intelligence can and should play in Israel’s future against Islamist terrorism and Iran’s eschatological vision.

AUTHOR – Shabtai Shavit was the seventh Director of the Mossad, and served from 1989-1996. He was born in pre-State Israel in 1939, and grew up in Nesher.

PRESENTER – Rabbi Louis J. Sachs is the Associate Rabbi of Beth Tikvah. Also, he currently serves as both the Vice-President of the Ontario Rabbinical Assembly and chair of the Willowdale Interfaith Coalition.

Carol Bishop-Gwyn on her new book “Art and Rivalry”

February 1, 2021

“She painted as if with pure light, radiant colours making quotidian kitchen scenes come alive with sublimated drama. He painted like clockwork, each stroke precise and measured with exquisite care, leaving no angle unchecked and no subtlety of tone unattended. Some would say Mary Pratt was fire and Christopher, ice. And yet Newfoundland’s Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (or Jackson Pollack and Lee Krasner…) presented their marriage as a portrait of harmony and balance. But balance off the canvas rarely makes great art, and the Pratts’ art was spectacular.”

AUTHOR – Carol Bishop Gwynn is a former arts producer at CBC Radio and journalist, published in The BeaverToronto LifeChatelaineMaclean’s and The Globe and Mail.  Summering in Newfoundland for over a decade, she developed a deep knowledge of the province’s visual arts scene, along with an excellent general knowledge of Canadian visual arts. Her first biography, The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franca, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and named a Globe 100 best book of the year.

That Woman

Author, Anne Sebba, in conversation with Helen Fry – January 24, 2021​

AUTHOR – Anne Sebba is an award-winning British biographer, writer, lecturer and journalist. She is the author of nine non-fiction books for adults, two biographies for children and several introductions to reprinted classics.

PRESENTER – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

Eva Stachniak in Conversation with Pauline Pankowski

The Chosen Maiden – January 11, 2021
The Ballets Russes – January 18, 2021

AUTHOR – Eva Stachniak is an award-winning and internationally bestselling author of five novels. The Winter Palace was a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and made The Washington Post’s most notable fiction list in 2012. She holds a PhD in literature from McGill University. Born and raised in Poland, she moved to Canada in 1981, and lives in Toronto. Her latest novel, The Chosen Maiden, was published in Canada, US, Germany, Poland, and Italy.

Red Sea Spies​
December 27, 2020

Raffi Berg, author of Red Sea Spies, talks about the true story of a daring Mossad operation to smuggle Ethiopian Jews from Sudan using a fake holiday village as cover.

AUTHOR/PRESENTER – Raffi Berg is the Middle East editor of the BBC News website. A journalist for nearly 30 years, he has a particular interest in events in Israel, from where he has reported extensively in times of war and peace. He graduated in Modern and Medieval History from the London School of Economics, and was a student of Jewish and Israel studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Raffi is based in London, where he lives with his family.

PRESENTER- Rabbi Louis J. Sachs is the Associate Rabbi of Beth Tikvah. Also, he currently serves as both the Vice-President of the Ontario Rabbinical Assembly and chair of the Willowdale Interfaith Coalition.

War: How Conflict Shaped Us
December 14, 2020​

Drawing on lessons from wars throughout the past, from classical history to the present day, Margaret MacMillan reveals the many faces of war—the way it has determined our past, our future, our views of the world, and our very conception of ourselves.

AUTHOR – Margaret MacMillan CC CH is a Canadian historian and professor at the University of Oxford. She is former provost of Trinity College, Toronto and professor of history at the University of Toronto and previously at Ryerson University. Macmillan is an expert on history and international relations.

PRESENTER – Iain Scott is perhaps one of Canada’s best-known and most popular opera educator and tour leaders. He now regularly teaches courses at the University of Toronto, York University, Ryerson University, George Brown College, Jewish Community Centres, etc. … and increasingly in private homes.

Book Review Series with Cathy Tile​

A Woman Is No Man – by Etaf Tum – November 23, 2020
The Secrets We Kept – by Lara Prescott – January 4, 2021
A Long Petal By The Sea – by Isabel Allende – February 22, 2021
Go, Went, Gone – Jenny Erpenbeck – April 12, 2021
Apeirogon – by Colum McCann – May 31, 2021​

PRESENTER – Cathy Tile came to reviewing books via a short teaching career followed by researching and writing features for CBC – Morningside – in the 70’s.
She was asked by the Toronto Board of Education to develop a course based on a feature called “It’s Okay to Stay Home.” She started Living Literature Seminars in 1980 and has given hundreds of book reviews across the city.

Helen Fry in Conversation with Robin Lustig

M19 – November 8, 2020
The Walls Have Ears – November 29, 2020
The London Cage – December 13, 2020

AUTHOR – Helen Fry was raised in North Devon and went on to graduate from the University of Exeter with a degree and Ph.D. She has written over 25 books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fought for Britain, and intelligence, espionage and prisoners of war. 

PRESENTER – Robin Lustig is a British journalist and radio broadcaster, who has presented programmes for the BBC World Service and BBC Radio 4.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.