Serge Liberman


Born 1942 - Fergana, Uzbekistan, USSR
             -> DP camp in Germany 1946-7
             -> Paris 947-1951
Arrived in Melbourne 1951
Educated in Melbourne through to MBBS (Melbourne University 1967)
Medical residencies & registrarships at Prince Henry's Hospital and in Israel 1968 - 1974
General Practitioner in North Carlton and East Brunswick 1974-2000; then Brunswick to the present

Communal/ Literary
1959 - President of chess & tennis clubs at Elwood High School
1959-1964 - youth leader in Jewish communal organisation

1960 - President of history and chess clubs at Melbourne High School
1961 - President of Inter-School Jewish Fellowship at Melbourne High School
1964 - Editor of Situations, bi-monthly journal of Melbourne University Jewish Students Society
1965 - Editor of Venture  - annual journal of the National Union of Australian Jewish Students
1966 - first story published in Speculum, Medical Students' Journal

1970 - story published in Israeli English-language journal while living there
1977-1984 & 1991- 1996 - Editor of English section of bi-lingual literary journal (English & Yiddish) Melbourne Chronicle

Early 1980s - Literary Editor of Menorah: Journal of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies
1984 + - Associate (later Corresponding) Editor of Outrider: Journal of  Australian Multicultural Literature
1983-85 - Executive member of PEN International - Melbourne Centre
1986-87 - Vice-President of PEN International - Melbourne Centre
1987 (May)  - Melbourne PEN Delegate to International PEN Conference in Lugano, Switzerland
         (May) - officially opened Australian Book Exhibition in Berne, Switzerland, in presence of Australian ambassador
Achievements in relation to PEN:
                        *established PEN Writers' address at Toorak-South Yarra Library - idea led in time, indirectly, to Victorian Writers Centre
                       *instituted regular public monthly readings at the Library
                       *instituted combined public lectures with Amnesty International
                        *recommended annual PEN short story competition - led to Judah Waten Award, administered by Box Hill-Doncaster Library
                        *recommended stories/competitions in daily press - led to annual The Age short story competitions

1985-1996 - Honorary Treasurer of the Australian Jewish Historical Society; and member of Editorial Board of the Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal
1987 to 1998 - Literary Editor of the Australian Jewish News
1992 to 2000 - on Editorial Committee of Gesher: the Journal of  the Victorian Council of Christians and Jews

Periodical publications in which works have appeared, these works being stories - editorials - translations - book reviews and weekly book columns - essays - historical, cultural, literary and social commentary - in:

Access, Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal, Australian Jewish News, Biala, Chung Wai  Literary Monthly (translated into Chinese), Generation, Gesher, inprint, The Jewish Quarterly (London), Kivun, Meanjin, Melbourne Chronicle, Menorah, Nepean Review, Outrider, Overland, Southerly, Westerly, Yiddishe Naies (translated into Yiddish); Matrix (New Zealand); The Journal of Literature and Aesthetics (India);The Commonwealth Review (India)

Published books:

            On Firmer Shores (1981)
            A Universe of Clowns (1983)
            The Life That I Have Led (1986)
            The Battered and the Redeemed (1990)
            Voices from the Corner (2000)

A Bibliography of Australian Judaica

(1987; second revised & updated edition 1991; third edition in process of being updated online)

Compiled by Serge Liberman
First edition - Edited by Joy Young
Second edition - Edited by Laura Gallou
Sydney (The Mandelbaum Trust and the University of Sydney Library).
Although this was printed ten years ago, it remains a very useful tool.

            [On Firmer Shores, The Life That I Have Led and The Battered and the Redeemed have been set as study texts in assorted high schools and Australian university English departments, as well as separate stories abroad in Berkeley, Barcelona, Perugia, Vancouver and Kent].


            1975 - Zionist Federation of Australia Short Story Award
            1978 - Alan Marshall manuscript award for On Firmer Shores
            1979 - Alan Marshall manuscript award for A Universe of Clowns
            1981 - Alan Marshall manuscript award for The Life That I Have Led
            1985 - NSW Premier's and NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission Literary Award
                        for Ethnic Writing for A Universe of Clowns
            1989 - Alan Marshall manuscript commendation for The Battered and the  Redeemed

Anthologies in which work is included:

Arrivals: Australian Short Story Anthology - Ed. Ann Granat (Brooks Waterloo, 1987)
Australian Writing Now. Eds. Manfred Jurgensen & Robert Anderson (Penguin), 1988
B'nai B'rith Australia and New Zealand Yearbook 1985
B'nai B'rith Australia and New Zealand Yearbook 1987
Cheating and Other Infidelities. Ed. Manfred Jurgensen  (Outrider/Phoenix
            Publications, 1995)
Diaspora: The Australasian Experience. Ed. Cynthia vanden Driesen & Ralph Crane Books (New Delhi, India, 2005)
Displacements 2 - Ed. Sneja Gunew (Deakin University)
Ethnic Australia - Ed. Manfred Jurgensen (Phoenix Publications, 1981)
Fathers in Writing - Eds. Ross Fitzgerald & Ken Spillman (University of Western Australia Press, 1997)
Forever Eve. National Council of Jewish Women.
The Greatest Game - Eds. Ross Fitzgerald & Ken Spillman (Wm Heinemann, 1988)
Here I Am: Contemporary Jewish Stories from Around the World - Eds. Marsha Lee Berkman & Elaine Marcus Starkman (Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia & Jerusalem, 1998)
The Imagined City: Melbourne in the Mind of its Writers. Ed. John Arnold ( George Allen & Unwin, 1983)
Jewish Book Annual: The American Year Book of Jewish Literary  Creativity, Vol.42, 1984-85
Jewish Writing from Down Under: Australia & New Zealand - Ed. Robert & Roberta Kalechofsky (Micah Publications, Massachusetts, 1984)
Jews on the Sixth Continent - Ed. W.D.Rubinstein (Allen & Unwin, 1987)
Joseph's Coat - Ed. Peter Skrzynecki (Hale & Iremonger, 1985)
Lesen und Schreiben: Literatur. Kritik.Germanistik. Festschrift fur Manfred Jurgensen
            zum 55. Geburstag. Ed. Volker Wolf (Francke Verlag Tubingen und Basel, 1995)
Neighbours: Multicultural Writing of the 1980s. Ed. R.F.Holt (University of Queensland Press)
The New Writer's Survival Guide: an introduction to the craft of  writing. Ed. Dianne Bates (Penguin, 1989)
Outrider: A Year of Australian Literature 90. Ed. Manfred Jurgensen (Phoenix Publications, 1990)
Pomegranates: A Century of Jewish Australian Writing - Ed. Gael Hammer   (Millennium Press, 1988)
Reinventing Literacy: The Multicultural Imperative - Ed. David Myers (Phaedrus Books/Central Queensland University Press, 1995)
Shalom: Australian Jewish Stories - Ed. Nancy Keesing (2nd edition, Penguin,1988)
Storyteller: Short stories by Australian writers - Ed. Ann Granat (Brooks Waterloo)
Transgressions: Australian Writing Now- Ed. Don Anderson (Penguin)
Writing in Multicultural Australia - Ed. Australia Literature Board (Australia Council, 1985)
Shmooz Down Under. Westerly - Summer issue 1996. Ed. Ron Shapiro, English Department, Nedlands, University of Western Australia
Writing about/ in/ from the South Pacific - Custom Course material in English, University of California at Berkeley (Winter 1994)

Other related activities:

Frequent judging of published biographies and local histories, and of short story manuscripts and essays in competitions for the Fellowship of Australian Writers, the City of Caulfield Festival, the Australian Jewish News, and assorted universities and schools.

Manuscript assessments for Australia Council Literature Board writers' grants

Editing of eight book-length works to publishability by other writers: three sets of Conference Proceedings, three autobiographies, a novel and a PhD thesis (generally for writers to whom English is an acquired second language)

Frequent assessment and discussion of manuscripts of writers seeking advice on their work

Translations of works - essays, stories, poems - from Yiddish for subsequent publication in English-language historical and literary journals

Public lectures before several organisations on communal, historical and literary themes: eg:
                        Yiddish Theatre in Australia (later published in Melbourne Chronicle)
                        Is There a Jewish Literature? (later published in AJN)
                        Gentile Champions of Jews in Australia (later published in W.D.Rubinstein (Ed) Jews in the Sixth Continent
                        Koheleth from a Secular Perspective (later published in Gesher)

Due to his bibliography, serves as a reference source by diverse communal organisations and individuals, both academic and lay, and both in Australia and abroad, engaged in researching any of the many fields of Australian Judaica

Invited to Syracuse University, New York in 1988
Invited to Barcelona and Italy for literary tour in March 1999
Invited as participant in Trivandrum, India to International Conference of the Association for the Study of Australasia in Asia in July 2004
Invited as participant to Roorkee, India to International Conference on Commonwealth Literature in October 2005
All this while engaged in full-time general medical practice since 1974

Biographical and critical comment of Liberman's work included in:

A Bibliography of Australian Multicultural Writers. Compiled by. Sneja Gunew, Lolo
            Houbein, Alexandra Karakostas-Seda and Jan Mahyuddin (1992).
A Reader's Guide to Australian Fiction by Laurie Clancy
Allen & Unwin Good Reading Guide. Ed. Robin Lucas (1990)
Australian Literature: An Historical Introduction by John McLaren
Australian Writing: Ethnic Writers 1945-1991 by Annette Corkhill (1994)
The Blackwell Companion to Jewish Culture. Ed. Glenda Abramson, Blackwell, UK, (1989)
Chosen: The Jews in Australia by Hilary Rubinstein (Allen & Unwin, 1987)
Diversity and Diversions: An Annotated Bibliography of Australian Ethnic Minority Literature  - Eds Peter Lumb & Anne Hazell (1983)
Ethnic Writings in English from Australia: A Bibliography - 3rd edition, Ed. Lolo Houbein (1984)
Good Reading Guide. Ed. Helen Daniel.
Jewish Writers of the Twentieth Century. Ed. Sorrel Kerbel (Fitzroy Dearborn, New York, 2003.
The Jews in Australia: A Thematic History, Volume 2, 1945 to the Present.  William D.Rubinstein (Heinemann, 1991)
Oxford Companion to Australian Literature by Wilde, Wooton, Andrews.
The Oxford Literary Guide to Australia by Peter Pierce (1987)
Who's Who in Australian Literature.

Critical/analytical essays about SL:

Berger, Alan L. (Florida, America)
"From Theology to Morality" Post-Auschwitz Tikkun Olam  in the Stories of Serge Liberman." Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. IX, Nos 1 & 2, 1995, Pp. 104-123

Morera de la Vaal, Elisa (Barcelona)
"The Elusive Land of Milk and Honey" in Susan Ballyn  (Ed) A Spanish Sampler of Australian Studies. Barcelona, Spain, Promociones y Publicaciones Universitarias, Departament de Filologia Angliesa i Alemanya, 1996, Pp.37-50. Essay on the writings of Serge Liberman.

Ballyn, Susan (Barcelona)
"How Firm the Shores?" Serge Liberman and the Migrant  Experience." Address presented at International Jewish Literature Symposium, Perth, July 6-9, 1998

Also essays on his work by:

Sokushin Ezawa (Japanese) in English-language Japanese journal
Itzhak Kahn (Yiddish) of Melbourne in New York journal

Liberman's work discussed in following theses:

Sylvia Irlicht (Melbourne)
Post-World War II Jewish Australian Authors: A Historical Survey of  Social, Cultural and Political Themes  Discernible on their Writing . (BA Hons. Thesis, Monash University)

Alex Hart (Canada)
Writing  the Diaspora: A Bibliography and Critical Commentary on Post-Shoah English-Language Jewish Fiction in Australia, South Africa , and Canada  (PhD dissertation, British Columbia, Canada)

Elisa Morera de la Vall (Barcelona)
A Contribution to the Study of Jewish Writing in Australia. (PhD Thesis, Barcelona, Spain, 2002)

Also included in theses and papers by Ruth Tenenholz in Haifa, Israel, and by Susan Rabinowitz, New York, USA. (Not yet sighted)



Back to the Australian Jewish Writers database