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Author Offers Insight Into Ancestry Research for Historical Fiction

Neville Frankel Click to view larger
Neville Frankel

Emmy award-winning author Neville Frankel will present Unearthing Family Lore: Behind the Scenes of a Novelist’s Journey at the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society meeting, Saturday, March 17, at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance St.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 11 a.m.

Frankel will discuss the well-researched family history that inspired his works of historical fiction.

He will provide an unusual, personal look at the fact-finding mission into his ancestry dating back to Latvia, Russia, Germany and South Africa during the 19th and 20th centuries.

The session also sheds insight into Frankel’s creative process, as he mines family history for the stories that bring life to his fiction. His journey puts his audience in touch with the rich family narratives that connect one generation to the next.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Frankel immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 14. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and did his doctoral work in English literature at the University of Toronto.

He is the author of three works of historical fiction: The Third Power about the transformation of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe; an apartheid-era novel Bloodlines; and On the Sickle’s Edge, a multi-generational saga set in Russia, Latvia, South Africa and the U.S.

On the Sickle’s Edge was a finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Awards. The two latter novels, as well as his current project, all were inspired by extensive research into his family history.

Frankel is the recipient of an Emmy for his work on a Frontline/BBC documentary, and he has been a contributor to The Huffington Post, LA Times, and The Good Men Project.

He is a 2013 and 2017 Jewish Book Council author and is a 2013 Boston Book Lab author.

In addition to his passion for writing, Frankel is an avid painter and wildlands hiker. He and his wife divide their time between Boston, Santa Barbara and Cape Cod.

Special Interest Groups meet at 9:30 a.m. for Civil War Genealogy, Writers' Support Group, German Ancestry, Italian Genealogy, French Canadian Genealogy, Computer Genealogy, and DNA.

The society's monthly meeting starts at 10:30 a.m. and the featured speaker starts at 11 a.m. The speaker presentation is open to non-members.

A calendar of genealogical events can be found at the society web site http://sbgen.org/eventListings.php?nm=216).

— Glenn Avolio for Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society.

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