Lev Raphael

Lev Raphael
Born Reuben Steinberg
May 19, 1954
New York City, New York
Occupation writer
Nationality American
Genre fiction, memoir
Notable works Dancing on Tisha B'Av, Winter Eyes, My Germany
Official website

Lev Raphael (born May 19, 1954) is an American writer of Jewish heritage.[1] He has published work in a variety of genres, including literary fiction, murder mysteries, fantasy, short stories, memoir and non-fiction,[1] and is known for being one of the most prominent LGBT figures in contemporary Jewish American literature.[2] He is one of the first American-Jewish writers to publish fiction about children of Holocaust survivors, beginning to do so in 1978.


He was born as Reuben Lewis Steinberg in New York City.[2] His Holocaust survivor parents were culturally Jewish but not religious. As an adult, he changed his name to Lev as a part of reclaiming his Jewish heritage,[1] and later adopted the surname Raphael to reaffirm his Jewishness and abandoned a German one.[1]

He studied English at Fordham University[2] and creative writing and English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,[1] where he won the Harvey Swados Fiction Prize awarded by Martha Foley, editor of The Best American Short Stories for his first published short story which later appeared in Redbook.[1]

He received a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University in 1986.[2]


His first short story collection, Dancing on Tisha B’Av, won a Lambda Literary Award in the Gay Debut Fiction category at the 3rd Lambda Literary Awards in 1990.[3] He was also nominated for Lambdas in the Gay Fiction category at the 5th Lambda Literary Awards in 1992 for his novel Winter Eyes, in the Spirituality category at the 9th Lambda Literary Awards in 1997 for his memoir Journeys and Arrivals, and in the Gay Mystery category at the 12th Lambda Literary Awards in 2000 for The Death of a Constant Lover.

He won the Crossing Boundaries Award from International Quarterly for "Losing My Mother", an essay contained in his memoir Writing a Jewish Life.[2] The judge was D.M. Thomas, author of The White Hotel.

In 1996, Raphael began publishing a series of mystery novels centred on Nick Hoffman, an English professor and amateur detective investigating murders in the academic world.[2]

He is currently a visiting assistant professor in English and creative writing at Michigan State University. He has also been a book reviewer for The Detroit Free Press and The Washington Post,[2] and has published both short stories and essays in a wide variety of both LGBT and Jewish publications.[2] He formerly hosted a weekly radio show about books and literature on WLNZ in Lansing, Michigan.



Short stories




  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Emmanuel S. Nelson, Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2009. ISBN 978-0-313-34859-4. pp. 525-526.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Ludger Brinker, "Lev Raphael (1954- )" in Contemporary Jewish-American Novelists: A Bio-critical Sourcebook (Joel Schatzker and Michael Taub, eds.) Greenwood Press, 1997. ISBN 9780313294624.
  3. "A Story for Tisha B'Av". Tablet, July 24, 2015.

External links

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