Anna Porter

Anna Porter

ANNA PORTER was born in Budapest, but she and her mother had to leave Hungary in 1956 to escape the increasing Soviet presence, joining relatives in New Zealand. Porter received her BA and MA in English Literature from the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, before a trip to Europe led to proofreading job with Cassell’s in England. In 1979 she found Key Porter Books, which became known internationally for its high-quality non-fiction and illustrated books and for its mainstream books of national interest. In recognition of her varied achievements, Porter was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992. In 2003, she was awarded the Order of Ontario. She has also been awarded Honorary Doctoral degrees from Ryerson University, St Mary’s University, the University of Toronto, and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Porter has written three crime novels – Hidden Agenda, Mortal Sins and The Bookfair Murders – and a biography of her grandfather entitled The Storyteller. Most recently, Kasztner’s Train was the winner of the 2008 Canadian Jewish Book Award for history.


Every time I tackle this, I stop and work out how old mother was. The result always takes me by surprise. In the autumn of ‘fifty-six, as I remember it: an old lady. Nervous, timid. She sits by the radio, listening to the Voice of America. She doesn’t set foot


Hungarians used to love poetry. In Budapest there are well-known statues of Hungarian poets, such as Ady, Petőfi, Vörösmarty, Arany, József and Radnóti. But in 1950s Hungary, the most famous poet was the little-known 15th-century French vagabond poet François Villon. György Faludy had translated, or re-imagined, Villon’s poetry into 20th