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New Member Spotlight: Meryl Ain

By Rebecca D’Harlingue
January 11, 2022

Welcome to Paper Lantern Writers! Tell us about yourself. 

In addition to being an author, I’ve been a history teacher, school administrator, PR person, journalist and cooking columnist. I tried my hand at fiction after joining a book club and reading numerous novels. My debut novel, The Takeaway Men, was published in 2020. Now I’m working on the sequel.

Can you tell us what you’ve written?

Besides The Takeaway Men, I’ve co-authored a non-fiction book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last and its companion journal. My essays and op-eds have appeared in Huffington Post, The Forward and other publications. My sequel will be published in Spring 2023.

Did you choose historical fiction or did it choose you? 

It chose me. As a student, teacher and researcher of history, the story that I wanted to tell was not well-known and seemed ideally suited to Historical Fiction. What happened to the survivors and their families AFTER the end of WW II was only the end of the beginning of the challenges and struggles they faced.

The inspiration was my friendship with survivors and their families. I learned from them about the special burdens and responsibility they carry. I wanted to tell their story because while there are a huge number of novels about the Holocaust, there are very few about the post-War experiences of these families.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message is that all human beings are responsible for one another. I wanted to raise questions: What do we do when we see evil in the world? How do we treat others who are different from ourselves? These are important questions about the Holocaust and its aftermath, but they are also timely and timeless.

Can you share three books on your night table right now?

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Children of the Holocaust by Helen Epstein

The Takeaway Men, Meryl Ain’s Post-Holocaust debut novel, was published in August 2020. It’s her first work of Historical Fiction and is the result of her life-long quest to learn more about the Holocaust and its aftermath, a thirst that was first triggered by reading The Diary of Anne Frank in the sixth grade. She has been reading and writing, researching, and teaching about the Holocaust ever since — as a history teacher, author, school administrator and life-long learner. She was recently named to The International Advisory Board for Holocaust Survivor Day. Both The American Fiction Awards and The Best Book Awards named The Takeaway Men Winner in the Category of Historical Fiction.  It was also chosen as Winner in Fiction for The Canadian Book Club Awards. She is currently working on a sequel, which will be published in Spring 2023.

 Meryl’s articles and essays have appeared in Huffington Post, The Forward, The New York Jewish Week, The New York Times, Newsday and other publications. In 2014, she co-authored the award-winning book, The Living Memories Project: Legacies That Last, and in 2016, wrote a companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal.

Meryl holds a B.A. from Queens College, an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University and a doctorate in education from Hofstra University. She and her husband, Stewart, a journalist, live on Long Island. They have three married sons and six grandchildren.

Rebecca D’Harlingue
Written by Rebecca D’Harlingue

Award-winning author Rebecca D’Harlingue writes about seventeenth-century women forging a different path. Her debut novel, The Lines Between Us, won an Independent Press Award and a CIBA Chaucer Award. Her second novel, The Map Colorist, won a Literary Titan Award and a Firebird Book Award.

View Rebecca’s PLW Profile

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