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Leonid Newhouse


First Language(s): Russian
Second Language(s): English


Born and raised in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia), Leo Newhouse wrote about his experience growing up in the Soviet Union in “The Fairytale House", a manuscript for which he received the 1998-99 Writing Fellowship from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. He recently completed work on a collection of interlinked short stories, “Out of Russia: From Mama’s Boy to Refusenik”, one of which, "The House of Cards” recently appeared on JewishFiction.net. “The Overcoat” is another piece from this collection. A clinical social worker by day, he lives in Boston, MA, with his wife, the video artist Janice Rogovin.


What was your favorite book as a child?

“The Three Musketeers”. They would remain my favorite “band” until the arrival of the Beatles.

Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

I left the Soviet Union in 1977, with no chance of ever seeing any of my family and friends again. (That would change in the late 1980s). It was, in a sense, a way of dying, except that, happily, you got a new lease on life in the West. When the Soviet Union finally collapsed, I realized I had grown up in an empire that was now extinct. I wanted to write about that experience.

What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?

Coming to Vienna, in the fall of 1977, fresh from behind the Iron Curtain. If leaving the USSR was like a death, coming to the West felt like a new birth.

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

No. I think silence is beautiful.


Short Story
The Overcoat
Issue Fall '20

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz