Our December featured author is...
You may have heard of or read Heather’s debut historical fiction novel, a story inspired by her friendship with Lale Sokolov, that quickly rose up to be the #1 New York Times Bestseller and #1 International Bestseller. Heather has since written three books based on Lale’s experience in Auschwitz.
Heather has a unique ability to captivate and transport her audience into the emotional and confronting stories of the Holocaust. These stories are a challenging yet quintessential introduction into World War II fiction.
Heather also has a one non-fiction book with another one coming late next year, we cannot wait!
Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tätowierer– the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance. His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good. This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz- Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable.
Cilka was only sixteen-years-old when she was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, noticed her long beautiful hair, and forced her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka did what she had to in order to survive Auschwitz. And yet after Russian soldiers liberated Auschwitz in 1945, Cilka was charged as a collaborator and sentenced to serve a fifteen-year sentence for 'sleeping with the enemy'. Once again, she found herself on a brutal train journey, crammed into a carriage with many desperate women and children. This time, her destination was Siberia. She was by then only eighteen-years-old. So began a new life of horror and brutality in a prison camp close to the Arctic Circle. But in this unimaginable darkness, this terror beyond terror, Cilka found endless resources within herself, her profound humanity and determination helping her to survive against all odds. Cilka's Journey is a remarkable novel of courage and resilience, based upon the heart-breaking true story of Cilka Klein.
'I want you to make a promise to me that you will always take care of your sisters. That you will always be there for one another. That you will not allow anyone to take you away from each other, ever. Do you understand?' When they are little girls, Cibi, Magda and Livia make a promise to their father - that they will stay together, no matter what. Years later, at just 15, Livia is ordered to Auschwitz by the Nazis. Cibi, only 19 herself, remembers their promise and follows Livia, determined to protect her sister, or die with her. Together, they fight to survive through unimaginable cruelty and hardship. Magda, only 17, stays with her mother and grandfather, hiding out in a neighbour's attic or in the forest when the Nazi militia come to round up friends, neighbours and family. She escapes for a time, but eventually she too is captured and transported to the death camp. In Auschwitz-Birkenau the three sisters are reunited and, remembering their father, they make a new promise, this time to each other: That they will survive.
Heather Morris presents an inspiring manual for life, with a series of tales of the remarkable people she has met, the incredible stories they have shared with her, and the lessons they hold for us all. In Stories of Hope, Heather will explore her extraordinary talents as a listener - a skill she employed when she first met Lale Sokolov, the tattooist at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the inspiration for her bestselling novel. It was this ability that led Lale to entrust Heather with his story, which she told in her novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz and the bestselling follow up, Cilka's Journey. Now Heather shares the story behind her inspirational writing journey and the defining experiences of her life, including her profound friendship with Lale, and explores how she learned to really listen to the stories people told her - skills she believes we can all learn.
Some of Heather's favourite authors:
- Stacey Halls,
- Christy Lefteri,
- Meg Waite Clayton,
- Ellen Feldman, and
- Mark Sullivan.