Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1

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back IRENE ZIEGLER  |  The Little Lion

Novelist’s Notes
Nancy Wright Beasley, author of
The Little Lion: A Hero in the Holocaust (Posie Press, 2015)

For over seventy years, some have denied the Holocaust happened. I wrote The Little Lion: A Hero in the Holocaust to help dispel this dangerous myth, and in adapting my historical novel, playwright Irene Ziegler has created magic. Through her carefully crafted words, and under the masterful direction of Tom Width, the cast at Swift Creek Mill Theatre embodies the suffering—and the ultimate triumph—of one Jewish family facing the greatest evil in history. The story is set in the Kovno ghetto, located in Kaunas, Lithuania, during World War II. On October 28, 1941, at a place named Demokratu Square, 9,200 Jews—over 4,000 of them children—were chosen for execution. By documenting this family’s experience, I hope to inspire others. I am humbled that my novel has been adapted for the stage and humbled by the message that one person can make a difference. Laibale Gillman, the “little lion” for whom my book and this production are named, certainly did.

 John Mincks, Chris Craig
 Photo by Robyn O’Neill

I want to thank countless friends and family members who have weathered the storms with me over the thirty-five years of my writing career. Although I can’t name you individually, you know who you are. I would also like to offer special thanks to Frances Crutchfield, who read the manuscript of The Little Lion before it was published and offered continuous encouragement. She celebrated the publication of the book, as well as the opening of the play at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, by arranging a book launching for me at the Country Club of Virginia, and I am grateful for her support.  bug

Nancy Wright Beasley is the author of The Little Lion: A Hero in the Holocaust (Posie Press, 2015)and Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust (Palari Publishing, 2008). Beasley has been a national award-winning journalist, columnist, and contributing editor in Virginia for thirty-seven years, including long associations with The Richmond News Leader and Richmond magazine. She earned an MS in mass communication from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she taught for several years, and an MFA in children’s literature from Hollins University. Her thesis at Hollins became her young adult novel The Little Lion. The world premiere of Irene Ziegler’s stage adaptation of the book was directed at Swift Creek Mill Theatre by Tim Width in 2016.

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