The largest community of Jewish writers in Canada can be found in Montreal, where a vibrant Yiddish culture has flourished, surrounded by a Francophone majority. Beginning with A. M. Klein and carrying through the works of Leonard Cohen and Mordecai Richler, Jewish writing in Montreal has adapted to changing political and linguistic pressures over the course of the twentieth century. A number of Jewish authors in this anthology write in French and are involved in translation—not just of language, but of cultural values as well.
The second largest concentration of Jewish writers in Canada is in Winnipeg and the western part of the country, where Jewish communities have strong Yiddish and socialist roots. A generation of younger writers, however, have shifted from these earlier centers to Toronto, where they form part of a multicultural mosaic, blending Jewish, Canadian, and cosmopolitan values. From Anne Michaels’s Greek island to Aryeh Lev Stollman’s Berlin and Michael Redhill’s Irish synagogue, Canadian-Jewish literature engages exile—at home abroad and abroad at home.