2024 Festival:
October 21–27
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Incite: Kiss the Red Stairs with Marsha Lederman

Presented in partnership with Vancouver Public Library and TELUS.

In a powerful and intimate Incite event, long-time Festival friend, moderator, and award-winning journalist Marsha Lederman returns to our in-person stages for the launch of her stunning memoir on intergenerational trauma, monumental change, and survival. Kiss the Red Stairs: The Holocaust, Once Removed explores the impact of a generation’s anguish on her family, beginning when Lederman was only five years old, and asked her mother why she didn’t have any grandparents.

In conversation with Kathryn Gretsinger, another beloved moderator of the Festival, this heart-to-heart will explore the rippling effect of Lederman’s family history throughout her own life, including being a mother to a young son, experiencing a difficult divorce, and an ever-present need to explore and understand the stories and experiences of those that have gone before.

RSVP to join us for the first in-person Incite events in two years—a momentous occasion made even more special for the friends we’ll have together on stage. If you would prefer to join us online, register to receive the livestream link!

From the publisher

For readers of All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Hay and They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson, Kiss the Red Stairs is a compelling memoir by award-winning journalist Marsha Lederman. Marsha was five when a simple question led to a horrifying answer. Sitting in her kitchen, she asked her mother why she didn’t have any grandparents. Her mother told her the truth: the Holocaust.

Decades later, her parents dead and herself a mother to a young son, Marsha begins to wonder how much history has shaped her own life. Reeling in the wake of a divorce, she craves her parents’ help. But in their absence, she is gripped by a need to understand the trauma they suffered, and she begins her own journey into the past to tell her family’s stories of loss and resilience. Kiss the Red Stairs is a compelling memoir of Holocaust survival, intergenerational trauma, divorce, and discovery that will guide readers through several lifetimes of monumental change.

Incite events are free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. We encourage you to pick up the book at your favourite independent bookseller.

This event can be attended in-person or online. At checkout, we will ask you if you plan to join us online or in-person. 

The Vancouver Writers Fest encourages patrons to wear face masks at its events. While not currently mandated by the BC health authority, face masks continue to offer assurance and safety for many of the communities the VWF serves. We thank you for your understanding and consideration.

Participants and Speakers

Marsha Lederman

MARSHA LEDERMAN is a columnist with The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. An award-winning journalist, she was previously The Globe’s Western Arts Correspondent. Prior to joining The Globe, she worked for CBC Radio, mostly in Toronto. Her memoir Kiss the Red Stairs: The Holocaust, Once Removed, was published in May and was an instant national bestseller. Born and raised in Toronto, she has lived in Vancouver since 2007.

Kathryn Gretsinger

KATHRYN GRETSINGER is an associate professor of teaching at the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media. She is a long-time public broadcaster at the CBC, and has been named one of North America’s top innovative journalism educators.