Gwen Strauss



My newest project: a work of creative non-fiction, The Nine follows the true story of my great aunt Helene Podliasky, a twenty-four-year-old engineer who leads a band of nine female resistance fighters as they escape a German concentration camp and make the ten-day journey across the front lines of WWII.

The Military ID of one of the nine women, Josée, code name "Severine."

Here's a short video about why I wrote The Hiding Game

The Hiding Game
The true story of Varian Fry, my great-Uncle Danny Benedite and the Rescue Committee. With their courageous efforts, they saved over 2200 lives from the Death Camps, including famous authors, artists, musicians and poets, such as Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Aube Breton, the daughter of Andre Breton.

ALA Most Notable Book

Ruth and the Green Book
The story of the journey of a family traveling from Chicago to Alabama by car. "It was a BIG day at our house when Daddy drove up in our very own automobile—a 1952 Buick!...I was so excited to travel across the country!" Ruth's family encounters many of the obstacles that existed, from whites-only restrooms in gas stations to whites-only hotels: "It seemed like there were White Only' signs everywhere outside of our Chicago neighborhood." The Negro Motorist Green Book comes to the rescue, listing resources for black motorists in every state, and Ruth and her family make their way from safe haven to safe haven until they reach Alabama.

This story touches on a little-known moment in American history with elegance, compassion and humanity. The Negro Motorist Green Book comes to the rescue, listing resources for black motorists in every state, and Ruth and her family make their way from safe haven to safe haven until they reach Alabama.

Trail of Stones
From Publisher's Weekly:

Strauss explores "the theme of metamorphosis in fairy tales" in this stunning collection of 12 dramatic monologues by familiar fairy tale characters at a moment of crisis or confrontation. The voices in these poems are both strong and complex, and the themes the characters explore -- fear, loneliness, shame, jealousy -- are as stark as Browne's evocative black-and-white illustrations that seem to reveal the characters' souls. We see Hansel and Gretel's father seated underneath Edvard Munch's famous woodcut, telling how the pebbles he gave his son "rattle in his dreams." We hear the wolf imagining how Red Riding Hood "will have the youngest skin / he has ever touched, her fingers unfurling / like fiddle heads in spring." Like Anne Sexton's "Cinderella," Strauss's poems are best suited to an adult audience, but they offer readers new wine in old bottles, a fresh view of familiar territory in language that has depth and power. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc

The Night Shimmy
The Night Shimmy is Eric's friend: he explains why Eric can't eat his peas (Eric himself prefers not to talk) and keeps the boy company when the other children tease him about his shyness. When Eric meets Marcia, who accepts him as he is, the Night Shimmy takes his leave -- and Eric finds that he has plenty to say. This quietly effective picture book derives its power in part from Strauss's understated text, which stays with Eric's perspective and thus never spells out that the Night Shimmy is imaginary or that Eric eventually needs to abandon him.

Fooling the Sun
The novel is set in Haiti in the late 1960's and early 70's and it tells the inter-racial love story of a wealthy American woman and along with the failure of her marriage, set against the backdrop of the Duvalier regime.

The book is set in 1982 against the backdrop of Guatemala’s bloody civil war, and tells the story of a young American couple, who set out on a small wooden sailboat to travel around Yucatan. When they run out of money, they naively accept a job smuggling contraband. Only later, when it is too late, do they discover that they are carrying weapons supplied by the CIA for the Guatemalan military. The story is based on my own true life experiences.

Crossing the Heart

To get perfect footprints, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, they say
Stanley Kuberick staged a fake landing in a studio with 4 CIA guys

who would soon die. Later, Kubrick turned paranoid with his time bomb
of family secrets. Our son fears growing up, getting a job, his body turning

into a man’s. In airports, he’s terrified of arrows, gates, codes, the closed
anti-chambers and tunnels of the heart. We find conspiracy in everything.

There’s the other shooter, the grassy knoll, Roswell, and this real betrayal,
my falling in love. You write that according to your therapist, my affair has

absolutely nothing to do with love and everything to do with personal neediness,
my narcissistic yearning for intense flattery. Perhaps he’s right. Look at the blown

apart landscape of our marriage, fragmented secrets. Who wants perfect vision,
a mind overgrown and wild with uncertainty? It would be better if were plotted.

The film in your head, what you most fear, is true. It happened. It is happening.
We returned from the moon only to live in a cave of shadows, just bend and drink.

Selected Works

Juvenile Nonfiction Ages 7-10, Grades 2-5
The True Story of a young Holocaust survivor
Children's picture book
In the early 1950s, newly built interstate highways invited Americans to travel by automobile, but the open road wasn't so open for African-Americans, especially in the South.
Until he meets Marcia, Eric doesn't speak -- the Night Shimmy does all the talking.
Strauss explores the theme of metamorphosis in fairy tales in this collection of poetry.
a series of poems in the form of a sonnet garland
Kay koule twompe soley men li pa twompe lapli. A leaky house can fool the sun, but it can't fool the rain. --Haitian Proverb
The adventure story of a young couple who sail to the Yucatan

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