By Trevar Langlands, FAW NSW President
I was privileged recently to be asked to a book launch for a wonderful 96 year old Life Member of the FAW. The book is Shards of Life by Helen Boris and it was launched at the Ukrainian Community Centre Lidcombe.
What an absolute thrill to meet a life member of the FAW and to address the Ukrainian community on behalf of the FAW and speak of its history. Thank you to the Ukrainian community who welcomed my so warmly and gave me a wonderful afternoon. I was also thrilled to meet Helen’s daughter Irene who came up from Melbourne for the occasion.
About Helen Boris
Helen came to Australia in 1949 as a refugee when the Soviets took over Ukraine. She went first to a migrant camp at Bathurst with none of the mod cons of today, no heating or air conditioning, and no frills from the Government coffers like today.
Helen was born in the city of Smile in 1920 and lived through the famine which killed 7 million, followed by political repression. Living through Stalinist dictatorship and Nazi Occupation, Helen fled in 1943 to West Germany where her daughter was born.
In 1949 with her husband, daughter and her mother, they all set sail for Australia, Helen arriving in a new land at the age of 29.
In 1972 Helen saw the Fellowship of Australian Writers NSW advertised and then joined Parramatta branch. At the FAW Christmas party she met Walter Stone who encouraged her to publish her poetry.
Helen was founder of the Booklovers Club in Sydney. The current book is published in her 96th year of life but is by no means her entire works as she has written much in her native language.
Despite some serious works in this book there are also quirky and at times comical pieces, plus verse on mortality and nature.
Shards of Life is edited by Dr Sonia Mycak, Visiting Fellow in the Centre for European Studies at Australian National University. She also held research fellowships at the University of Sydney and University of NSW. The book is available from www.fivesenseseducation.com.au
Thank you again everyone for a wonderful opportunity to meet a wonderful lady.