Louvish, Simon (writer)

Reference: LOUDate: c. 1950-2009Extent: approx. 60 boxes

Simon Louvish is a British-Israeli author and filmmaker. He was born on 6 April 1947 in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1949, his family emigrated to Israel, where he was educated in Jerusalem. He served in the Israeli Army from 1965-1968, working as an army unit cameraman.

In September 1968, Louvish moved to London, where he attended the London School of Film Technique from 1968 to 1971. He has produced and photographed a number of freelance documentary films including End of the Dialogue: Apartheid in South Africa (1970); Greece of Christian Greeks: The Colonels’ Regime (1971); and To Live in Freedom: Israel-Palestine (1973).  Louvish also wrote several film scripts, such as A Matter of Life and Death, The Remaindered, and The Armenian Bathroom. A film based on one of his scripts, originally entitled Millennium Blues, was released in 2000 with the title Mad Dogs. He went on to tutor and lecture at his alma mater, now called the London Film School, for many years and continues to work part-time as a visiting lecturer on classic films and world cinema.

Simon Louvish’s first published novel, A Moment of Silence (1979), was an autobiographical account of his experiences in Israel and occupied Palestine during the making of To Live in Freedom. This was followed by The Therapy of Avram Blok (1985), the first of a series of satirical novels about the Middle East, followed by City of Blok (1988), The Last Trump of Avram Blok (1990), and The Days of Miracles and Wonders (1997). Louvish published two more Blok books, The Fundamental Blok and The Chinese Smile, in 2013 under his own imprint of Margaret Macdonald Books. His other novels include The Death of Moishe-Ganef (1986) and The Silencer (1993), both thrillers set in the Middle East; Your Monkey’s Shmuck (1990); The Resurrections (1992); and What’s Up, God? (1995). Louvish has written several works that remain unpublished, including The Planet of Fuck, a science-fiction novel; City of Mirrors, a children’s book; and The Governor’s Show, a spin-off from The Last Trump of Avram Blok.

After publishing The Days of Miracles and Wonders, Simon Louvish focused on writing biographies about some of film’s greatest figures, becoming the main film biographer for Faber & Faber. His first biography – of WC Fields – was published in 1997, followed by books about the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Mae West, Mack Sennett, and Cecil B. DeMille. His latest biography about Charlie Chaplin was published in early 2009.

Simon Louvish is currently working on various projects, including a new fiction novel called The Dream of Ages, which is about to be published, and a feature film entitled “The Man Who Broke Stalin’s Pipe”.

This collection contains correspondences, manuscripts and typescripts for published and unpublished works, film scripts, reviews and other papers from Simon Louvish. The material can be grouped into five areas: early works, correspondences, reviews, projects, and miscellaneous.

The early works section (LOU/A) covers the period between c. 1950 and c. 1970, inclusive of Louvish’s time at the London School of Film Technique. It includes examples of juvenilia, schoolwork, and work from university. This would be of interest to anyone wishing to view examples of Louvish’s early influences and works, or anyone looking for an insight into educational procedures at the above institute.

The correspondences section (LOU/B and LOU/C) includes all of Louvish’s correspondence from the 1970s onwards. It contains letters to and from Louvish corresponding with friends, agents, publishers or other associates.

The project section (LOU/F, LOU/G and LOU/H) constitutes the largest bulk of the collection and contains successful and unsuccessful works of Louvish, some in handwritten draft form, others in final stage manuscript form. This includes a broad range of material including screenplays, documentary scripts, short stories, book proposals, film synopses, drafts of novels, and any individual pieces of artwork related to those collections.

The material in the final section (LOU/J) includes papers relating to a possible blacklist at a Jewish film festival, leaflets and a statement regarding the Public Lending Right, Interlink catalogues, cartoons, press cuttings, notes, and other ephemera.

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