Book Presentation: My Disappearing Uncle - Kathy Henderson in conversation with Meriel Schindler

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Book Presentation: My Disappearing Uncle - Kathy Henderson in conversation with Meriel Schindler

  • Tue 5 Dec 2023
  • 7:00PM

We are excited to welcome Kathy Henderson, an award-winning children’s writer, poet and illustrator, at the ACF London this December. Join us as she presents her latest book, 'My Disappearing Uncle: Europe, War and the Stories of a Scattered Family' in an engaging conversation with British author Meriel Schindler, renowned for her family memoir 'The Lost Café Schindler'.

‘My Disappearing Uncle’ is based on the stories Henderson grew up with, the undaunted women whose lives they told, and the discoveries made when she looked behind them. This is where her story, their stories and history meet - coming together in a vivid and moving family biography.

From childhood in London, these tales take us to Austria, Germany, Italy and France, and from Argentina to an extraordinary encounter with the Jewish past in Hungary. Full of remarkable characters – among them, the young actress in fin de siècle Vienna, the Austrian scientist who invented the radio valve, and a 16-year-old schoolboy who disappeared in 1941 and didn’t come back for 50 years – ‘My Disappearing Uncle’ is a journey of discovery that explores the complicated relationship between the present and the past.

Join us for this book presentation and conversation, offering you a fascinating insight into Henderson's work.

A compulsive tangle of tales touching not only on lives, loves andthe longing to belong, but also the brutality of war and injusticesuffered again and yet again in Europe up to the present day. Heavy with humanity as well as meticulous historical research, Henderson‘s account brings to life the sheer determination and thirst for life of extraordinary individuals over the ages, allowing us to step into our future with hope, however fragile.
Katya Adler, BBC Europe Editor

She fits these tales into a gripping ... historical narrative for her own better understanding of what occurred ... to allow us, her readers, a deeper insight into the complex history of central Europe through the 20th Century, its two world wars and beyond.
Meriel Schindler

Kathy Henderson is an award-winning children’s writer and illustrator with more than 30 published books, winner among other things of the Kurt Maschler Award, the Aesop Prize of the American Folklore Society and shortlisted for the Children’s Poetry Prize. With a background in literature, music and oral history she also compiled My Song is My Own, 100 women’s songs from the British Isles, which has become the iconic book on the hidden voices of women. She has written for radio, visited hundreds of schools and libraries and been a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund.

Meriel Schindler spent the first fif­teen years of her life in Lon­don before spend­ing five for­ma­tive years in Inns­bruck, Aus­tria. Meriel, now based in Lon­don, is an author, employ­ment lawyer, part­ner, and head of a team at With­ers LLP, a law firm, and a trustee of Arvon, the writ­ing char­i­ty. 'The Lost Café Schindler' is her first book - an extraordinary memoir of a Jewish family spanning two world wars and its flight from Nazi-occupied Austria. Meriel spent her adult life trying to keep her father, Kurt, at bay. But when he died in 2017, he left behind piles of Nazi-era documents related to her family’s fate in Innsbruck and a treasure trove of family albums reaching back to before World War I. Meriel was forced to confront not only their fractured relationship, but also the truth behind their family history.

Please note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, our scheduled guest, BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler, may face challenges in attending. While we remain hopeful that she can join us, please be aware that her availability is subject to change, given the nature of her job.

My Disappearing Uncle

Kathy Henderson (Photo © George Blair); Meriel Schindler (Photo © Holly Falconer)


Austrian Cultural Forum London
28 Rutland Gate
London SW7 1PQ