October 26, 1999
Alvin Abram will not consider himself a real writer, as he puts it, until he has published that first novel. In the meantime, he has dedicated himself to doing work he regards as extremely important.
Abram is the author of The Light After the Dark: Six Stories of Courage and Survival (Key Porter Books), in which he relates true-life accounts of men and women who lived through the Holocaust. A graphic designer and printer by trade, the Toronto-born Abram collected and published these poignant and inspiring stories in hopes that “they would change the perspective of people who hear them.”
All royalties are donated to charity. Abram says. “I believe, very strongly, that love and understanding are important. “Although I’m not a Holocaust survivor myself, nor are any members of my family, a lot of my friends are survivors, and their kids would come over and ask me if I would please talk to their parents because their parents wouldn’t tell them their stories. “I became a friend of the family more so than a writer,” he adds. “Not that the era isn’t important, in the historical sense, but I was more fascinated by the people themselves.”
Several years ago, when Abram was recuperating from a heart attack, his wife suggested he take a creative writing course at York University. Abram had written technical manuals, but he had never even attempted a book of this nature. “I had a story to tell, but I didn’t know how to tell it.” he says. Abram published the book himself, at his own expense, and it sold 2,600 copies in the Toronto and Hamilton area. It has since been reissued by Key Porter Books and total sales are now approaching 4,000.
“The attraction, I believe, is that these stories are positive. Each of them has a happy ending,” Abram says. “I think it was a healing process, for the people who told these stories, and that’s very satisfying for me.”
This book was four years in the making.
There is a sequel coming as well.
“These six people were selected because their stories give a broad perspective, not because they were necessarily the most interesting stories I heard,” Abram says. “We have enough material to do another book, and this one will tell the stories of eight survivors.”
Abram is currently looking for a publisher for a children’s story, in which he uses “a simplistic way of pointing out that the world is full of bullies, and we must realize this and take a stand against it.”
There is also the aforementioned novel. Set in Poland during the Holocaust, it tells of the love between a Jewish girl and a Gentile boy.
“I have always loved to tell a story, a story about people. And the stories I love best are stories with a moral,” he says. “Now if I ever publish the novel, then I’ll call myself a real writer.”