The important role of migrants in Australia’s history, culture and culinary growth, along with several accounts of early Canberra life, are explored in a new book by local writer Liz Posmyk, launched tomorrow, Saturday 12 November 2016.
The Barber from Budapest & other stories is a deeply personal and poignant memoir in which Liz pays tribute to her forebears, namely her late father, András, who achieved recognition in Canberra as The Barber from Budapest. The book is a powerful glimpse into her family’s lives as refugees and as a family at peace. Liz says although quite personal, it is something she has long wanted to write.
Uniquely presented in three parts, The Barber from Budapest & other stories is a story of survival, hope and love. It follows the life of András, born in Hungary before the cataclysmic changes of World War II tore at the fabric and heart of his world.
The first part of the book is her father’s narrative, spanning 1916 to 1957 in Hungary and Austria. Liz captured the stories in 1997 when she interviewed András with an old style video camera. The recording is greatly treasured, and Liz says with joy that she can watch the footage and it is as though her beloved father is in the room with her.
“I feel it’s so important for my generation to sit down with the elders in their lives and capture their stories, before it’s too late,” says writer Liz Posmyk.
“Let curiosity get the better of you. Ask those probing questions and gather up those old family photographs and letters. Delve into your family’s history before you lose your loved ones. Preserve their stories for generations to come,” Liz continued.
Part two of the book is a series of vignettes, in which Liz reflects on the present and the past – taking the reader from Bonegilla in Victoria, to Acton in Canberra’s old inner north, and Malua Bay on the NSW south coast. Sprinkled throughout the book are remarkable photographs – old and new.
Liz’s life-long passion for food, and in particular her love of sharing her migrant family’s Hungarian food, shines through with the book’s third part dedicated to a handful of treasured family recipes. A truly wonderful Hungarian feast awaits the reader.
“My parents and older siblings were among the 14,000 Hungarian refugees who were offered sanctuary and allowed to resettle in Australia under the Menzies Government, having fled their homeland in 1956-7 after the Uprising.
“The book follows my family’s journey through stories and shows their strength of character and determination. It also offers a glimpse of what life was like for a migrant family in early Canberra, and how my parents strived to give their children a happy home.
“I am so very proud to be sharing my father’s story and my mother’s precious Magyar recipes,” Liz concluded.
An award-winning writer, Liz is known for her blog, Good Things, a leading cooking school, and a long-running newspaper column. Canberra has always been Liz’s home – her father and mother having settled there after arriving in Australia in 1957. The family has ties to Canberra’s old history, having lived in The Buggy Shed at the rear of The Constable’s Cottage on Lennox Crossing in Acton from 1959 to circa 1961.
The Barber from Budapest and other stories is Liz Posmyk’s first book. A percentage of royalties from the sales will be donated to The International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The Barber from Budapest and other stories by Liz Posmyk is available now for purchase from Parsley Lane Press www.parsleylanepress.com and from Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things www.bizzylizzysgoodthings.com/ and selected book stores in Canberra including Muse in Kingston and Paperchain in Manuka. RRP $32 AUD, plus postage and handling.