Simon Tedeschi

Shortly before Simon Tedeschi’s grandmother, Lucy Gershwin, died sixteen years ago, she recorded a memoir of her wartime years. Gershwin, a Polish Jew, was the only survivor of a family obliterated by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Simon Tedeschi’s powerful essay, ‘This woman my grandmother’, reflects on the moment he decided to read her memoirs and encounter the tragic outlines of a life that remains shaded by a reticence typical of her generation.

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Distinguished classical musician Simon Tedeschi has won the sixteenth Calibre Essay Prize, worth a total of $7,500. 

Simon receives $5,000 for his essay ‘This Woman My Grandmother’, while as the runner-up, Sarah Gory receives $2,500 for her submission, ‘Ghosts, Ghosts Everywhere’. The winning essay is available to read online and has been published in the May issue of ABR. The runner-up essay will appear in a future issue of the magazine.

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A decade before she died, my grandmother Lucy, whose Hebrew name was Leah but who was known to us as Nanna, decided to write her memoirs. English wasn’t her first language, let alone her second or third, so rather than write she chose to speak. When she was finished, the contents of eight cassette tapes were typed up and bound in blue plastic covers. Copies were made for both daughters and all five grandchildren, of whom I am the eldest.

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