Celebrate Jewish Author, Linda Kass’, latest accomplishment with Women’s Philanthropy!
JewishColumbus’ Women’s Philanthropy joins Gramercy Books to celebrate a local Jewish philanthropist’s latest accomplishment – launching her newest book Bessie on September 13th at 7 p.m.
Linda Kass is an accomplished magazine writer, correspondent and author, who continues to captivate readers with her evocative historical fiction. With three compelling novels already under her belt – Tasa’s Song, A Ritchie Boy, and her latest masterpiece, Bessie – Kass’ unique blend of real-life narratives and imaginative fiction is reshaping the literary landscape through a Jewish lens.
Kass’ goal with her writing is to “tell the untold stories.” Her previous novels were based on true events that she learned about through her family’s experiences and history. Many of her inspirations come from her love and passion for the Jewish community and background, including her family’s experience of leaving Europe during World War II and settling in Columbus. Bessie, on the other hand, is focused on the Jewish experience in 1940’s US during the height of antisemitism.
Unveiling Bessie: A Dive into History’s Depths
In her latest triumph, Bessie, Kass skillfully weaves an intimate and fictionalized portrait of the early life of Bess Myerson. Against the backdrop of a bigoted 1945 milieu, Kass unravels the riveting journey of Bess Myerson, the daughter of impoverished Russian Jewish immigrants. Amidst an environment hostile to Jewish individuals, Myerson’s remarkable rise to become Miss America stands as a testament to the indomitable human spirit. The novel dives into the formative years of Myerson’s life, tracing her journey from a 12-year-old in 1936 to her pivotal moment in 1946. Kass’s signature focus on moral and psychological growth provides a lens into the early life of an iconic woman, revealing a story unknown to many and conveying the profound message that “you can’t be beautiful and hate.”
“Antisemitism is pervasive throughout history. So much of it is small little digs at the community but they add up. To not address them is to say that it’s ok to hold those beliefs.”
While Bessie is rooted in the past, it resonates with contemporary society’s struggles against antisemitism, racism and sexism. Kass’ insightful storytelling holds up a mirror to our current challenges, drawing unsettling yet vital parallels between the past and present.
Linda Kass: A Multifaceted Visionary
As a first-generation American and a child of Holocaust survivors, Kass has always documented stories told by her parents. Many of the plot lines in her books are loosely based on their experiences during World War II. The Jewish experience is one that Kass does not take lightly, nor does she want to risk having the stories disappear into the past.
“My mother spoke more openly about her Holocaust experiences compared to my father. But both of my parents’ experiences served as a wellspring of inspiration for my historical fiction. Preserving these accounts is paramount. Through books like Bessie and through educational programs sponsored by organizations like JewishColumbus, we safeguard our stories, create new witnesses to our history and simultaneously combat the surge in antisemitism. We must remain vigilant and use our voices to prevent further acts of hate toward all minorities.”
Linda Kass’ journey from magazine writer to founder and owner of the cherished Gramercy Books is a testament to her passion for authenticity and giving back to her community. As an alumna of the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Arts in Journalism from The Ohio State University, Kass’ ability to juggle being a writer, philanthropist, and supporter of the Columbus Jewish community is unmatched.
Beyond her writing accomplishments, Kass is a dedicated advocate for education, literacy and the arts. As the founder and owner of Gramercy Books, a cherished Bexley neighborhood bookstore known for its independent spirit, Kass showcases her dedication to authenticity and community. Alongside curating a robust author program, she tirelessly carves out time to craft her literary works, exemplifying her unwavering commitment to preserving the essence of authenticity.
A prominent Jewish figure in the Columbus community, she has contributed her leadership to boards such as Bexley Schools, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and United Way of Central Ohio. Her commitment to fostering literary conversations has driven her involvement in the Bexley author series and other literary initiatives.
Through her novels and community engagement, Linda Kass embodies the spirit of storytelling, advocacy, and authenticity. As an avid long-distance road cyclist who participates in Pelotonia to support cancer research (she has raised over $200,000 so far), Kass is a shining example of using her platform to create positive change and standing up for Jewish heritage.
To learn more and join us for the Bessie book launch event on September 13th, please visit https://www.gramercybooksbexley.com/event/gramercy-books-owner-linda-kass-launches-third-historical-novel-bessie-conversation-noted.
For more information about Linda Kass and her transformative work, please visit www.lindakass.com.