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An evening with Debra Barnes discussing her debut novel The Young Survivors

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What if everyone you loved was suddenly taken away? Five siblings struggle to stay together as the tides of war threaten to tear them apart.

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On Wednesday 25 November from 7-8pm, including a 15mins Q&A session, with a prize for the best question: Barnet Libraries presents: An evening with Debra Barnes discussing her debut novel The Young Survivors.

This is a free virtual author event in association with Duckworth Books UK. Nearer the time, we will email you the details to join the event. The email will come from Eventbrite, so make sure you check your spam/junk folders, as well as your regular inbox.

The book was inspired by her mother, Paulette, who was born in France in 1938 and lost her parents and two siblings in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, including her twin sister at just six years old.

Debra said, "I wanted to write this story to shed light on the fate of Jews in France during the war, something which is not often considered. The book is dedicated to my mother who managed to live a full and happy life despite the horrors of the Holocaust. I often wondered how she managed to live with the burden of having survived when her twin sister perished, something she never spoke about.

"My extensive research included numerous trips to France where I visited my mother’s birthplace in Metz, the Jewish children’s homes and orphanages in Paris and Louveciennes, and the lady who looked after my mother in the orphanages and reunited with her sixty years later in Cannes. Writing this book has been a bittersweet experience for me."

Debra studied journalism and worked in several different communications roles as diverse as PR for Newcastle Brown Ale and internal communications manager for Mothercare. She joined The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) in 2017 to run their My Story project, producing life-story books for Holocaust survivors and refugees.

Debra has lived in the borough of Barnet for most of her life. She grew up in Woodside Park and attended Henrietta Barnett School from the junior school through to sixth form. She now lives in Edgware and works in Finchley Central for the AJR.

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