Henry Kreisel

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Henry Kreisel, OC (June 5, 1922 – April 22, 1991) was a Canadian writer. Born in Vienna, Austria, he relocated to Britain with his family just before the Second World War, and was declared an enemy alien like many other German-speaking refugees. He was relocated by British officials to Canada on a farm in New Brunswick where he lived from 1940 to 1941[1]. It was there he began a career in writing, deciding to write in English and modelling himself after bilingual author Joseph Conrad. After the decision by Canadian officials that the refugees in camps such as Kreisel's, he was released and decided to pursue his dream of writing and was educated at the University of Toronto. Kreisel is now regarded as one of the first Jewish writers to write about Jewish-Canadian issues.

Kreisel's mother was born in Poland and his father in Romania.[2]

In 1987, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, Toronto Chapter.

Henry Kreisel's essay "The Prairie: A State of Mind" is an important and frequently anthologized essay of early Western Canadian regionalism.


  • The Rich Man (1948)
  • The Betrayal (1964)
  • The Almost Meeting (1981)
  • Another Country: Writings By and About Henry Kreisel (1985)


  • Greenstein, Michael. "Close Encounters: Henry Kreisel's Short Stories" in Essays in Canadian Literature (Summer 1983), pp. 64–69.
  • Greenstein, Michael. "The Language of the Holocaust in The Rich Man" Etudes canadiennes/Canadian Studies (1978), pp. 85–96.
  • Hlus, Carolyn. "Henry Kreisel" in Profiles in Canadian Literature 5. Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1986.
  • Lecker, Robert A. "State of Mind: Henry Kreisel's Novels" Canadian Literature (Summer 1978), pp. 82–93.

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