Lev Raphael: Biography

Lev Raphael
Photo credit: David Olds.
"Lev Raphael is a major figure in Jewish-American Literature."
—Deborah Dash Moore, Chair of Jewish Studies, University of Michigan


The son of Holocaust survivors, Lev Raphael is a pioneer in writing fiction about America's Second Generation. Many of his early stories on this theme were collected in his award-winning book Dancing on Tisha B'Av, while the best of those and newer ones appear in his second collection Secret Anniversaries of the Heart.

Raphael is the author of 27 other books, including the novels Winter Eyes and The German Money, and three memoirs, Journeys & Arrivals, Writing a Jewish Life, and My Germany. The Washington Post has compared The German Money to John le Carré, Phillip Roth, and Kafka. Raphael's Michigan mysteries have been praised by The New York Times and many other newspapers and magazines, while his fiction has been widely anthologized in the U.S. and Britain.

Along with hundreds of book reviews in papers from The Washington Post to The Detroit Free Press, Raphael has published many dozens of essays, articles, and stories in a wide range of publications. He had his own radio interview show on Michigan Radio where his guests included Salman Rushdie, Erica Jong, and Julian Barnes.

Raphael has keynoted three international Holocaust conferences where he received standing ovations, as well as appearing at hundreds of invited lectures and readings in North America, Western Europe and Israel at libraries, museums, churches and synagogues, colleges and universities. Featured in two documentaries, he has been a panelist at London's Jewish Film Festival. His stories and essays are on university syllabi around the U.S. and in Canada; his fiction has been analyzed in books, scholarly journals and at scholarly conferences, including MLA. Michigan State University's Library collects his literary papers for its Special Archives.

Born and raised in New York City, he received his MFA in Creative Writing and English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he won the Harvey Swados Fiction Prize, awarded by renowned editor Martha Foley for a story later published in Redbook. Winner of the Reed Smith Fiction Prize and International Quarterly's Prize for Innovative Prose (judged by D. M. Thomas), Raphael holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Michigan State University. Raphael has taught creative writing and many other courses at the university level in New York, Massachusetts and Michigan. Raphael left teaching in 1988 to write and review full-time and he currently mentors, coaches, and edits writers at his website writewithoutborders.com.

Booksradar.com List of Lev Raphael's Books in Order of Publication