FELLOWSHIP OF AUSTRALIAN
WRITERS LITERARY AWARD - 1994:
Winner, Susan Varga, HEDDY and ME
From the judges' report:
"Heddy and Me is a thoroughly compelling nar-
rative, both autobiographical and biographical. The author, whose father died in the Holocaust
when she was still a baby, left Hungary for Australia in 1948. The long, painful discovery of her Jewish
Hungarian past, the life that her mother led before and during the War, and the meticulous and clear-sighted
piecing together of the terrible inhumanities of the Holocaust, give this story a rare urgency and moral seriousness. Heddy
and Me is a disturbing, powerfully moving, and wonderfully accomp-
lished work. It steps straight into the front rank of autobiographical writing in this country."
Canberra Times, Sara Dowse:
"This is a challenging, complex, rich, and above
all, humane book. Into the process has gone great
frankness and courage, and hard-won recognition
of the potential for destructiveness in the closest,
most loving relationships."
Susan Varga was born in Budapest in 1943, came to Australia with her mother, Heddy, her sister, Judith, and her stepfather,
Gyuszi Varga, after the death of
her father, Feri Schwimmer, in a Nazi labor camp in Hungary.
She has a Masters degree in English Literature
and a law degree. She has worked as a teacher,
in film and video, as an arts administrator,
journalist, and lawyer.
She now writes full time. Heddy and Me was her
first book. Published in 1994, it was immediately
an Australian best-seller and has sold steadily
ever since. In addition to the FAW award for
biography, the book was short-listed for three
other awards. It has been translated into
German and Hungarian and has received
critical acclaim in both countries. Heddy and
Me is currently being used in several univer-
sity courses in Australia and is firmly embedded
in the country's literature.
Ms. Varga has since written a novel, Happy
Families, and collaborated with Anne Coombs
on Broomtime, a book about the town of