A spinner of yarns: Conversations with Auntie Mady

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This article reflects on an oral history interview about expatriate life and transcultural belonging with lifelong traveller and multiple immigrant Mady Gerrard and reads Gerrard’s own rich and illuminating life writing, a memoir entitled Full Circle (2006). Having survived the Holocaust as a teenage girl, Gerrard returned to Hungary only to realize that the Soviet-enforced Communist regime was just another dictatorship. She left the country with her 3-year-old daughter, along with many other political refugees, in 1956 and settled in Wales, which she exchanged later (mostly in response to professional challenges) for Canada and the United States but returned to her adopted home, Wales, for her mature years. Our conversations were cut short by the COVID-19 lockdowns and then Mady’s death in the autumn of 2021, but the article attempts to channel her vivacious spirit and life-affirming wisdom and contextualize her legacy as important both to the memory of the Holocaust and as a contemporary woman’s material/tangible and intangible legacy (encompassing her handicraft work, writing and public appearances). The contribution consists of a framing piece of academic writing and a more creative and somewhat (auto-)ethnographic vignette capturing our encounters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-198
Number of pages14
JournalBook 2.0
Issue number2
Early online date27 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2023


  • autobiography
  • Holocaust
  • Mady Gerard
  • memoir
  • migration
  • oral history
  • women's life writing


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