Norman Ravvin



RavvinComplete profile on Concordia University’s departement of religion website »

Norman Ravvin is a critic, fiction writer, and journalist. His essays on Canadian and American Jewish literature are collected in A House of Words: Jewish Identity and Memory(McGill-Queen’s). The essays included in this volume focus on such writers as Eli Mandel, Leonard Cohen, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Mordecai Richler, and Chava Rosenfarb. A House of Words also considers the role of multiculturalism, postcolonialism, and the Holocaust in the reception of Canadian writing. He is co-editor of The Canadian Jewish Studies Reader (2004), which includes two essays by him, focusing on Eli Mandel and Matt Cohen. His most recent fiction publication is the novel, Lola by Night (2003), which is out in Serbian translation. Other books include Hidden Canada: An Intimate Travelogue (2001), the novel, Cafe des Westens,which appeared in 1991, and his story collection, Sex, Skyscrapers, and Standard Yiddish (1997). He is the editor ofNot Quite Mainstream: Canadian Jewish Short Stories (2001) and Great Stories of the Sea (1999). Recent articles include an essay on “memory tourism” in Poland in Canadian Literature, a chapter on Jewish identity in a collection called Religion and Ethnicity in Canada, and an introduction to the reissue of Gwethalyn Graham’s Earth and High Heaven from Cormorant Books. He is at work on a novel set in Poland. 

As general editor of a series in association with Red Deer Press at the University of Calgary and the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies, he oversees the publication of books dedicated to Canadian Jewish writing and history. Among the publications from the Institute is Mordecai & Me: An Appreciation of a Kind, by Joel Yanofsky. Norman Ravvin acted as editor of this study, which won a number of awards in Canada and the United States. The recent title from the Institute and Red Deer Press is Henry Kreisel’s 1948 novel, The Rich Man, with a new introduction by Ravvin. He also oversees two chapbook series published by the Institute, which focus on Canadian Jewish literature and history. The titles in these series include a long short story by Toronto writer Cary Fagan, and a translation of a document dealing with early Montreal Jewish history, by Ira Robinson.

Selected publications

The Joyful Child. Gaspereau Press, 2011. Failure’s Opposite: Listening to A.M. Klein (co-edited with Sherry Simon). McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011. Canadian Literature, an issue on Mordecai Richler (co-edited with Nathalie Cooke). UBC (Winter, 2010).

Involvement with the more recent Hungry I Chapbooks

Hungry I Chapbooks’ Blessing (2009), includes an essay entitled “Kaddish in Literature.” Hungry I Chapbooks’ translation of Franz Kafka’s Josephine the Singer or The Nation of the Mice, trans. Karin Doeer, Barbara Galli and Gary Evans. Hungry I Chapbooks’ Shuln and Shulelach: Large and Small Synagogues in Montreal and Europe, by Sara Ferdman Tauben, 2008. Hungry I Chapbooks’ Opening The Star: Three Responses to the New Translation of Franz Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption, 2005.