Smitten by Catherine

Smitten cover

Alumnus, Dr Henry Lew, (MBBS 1970) has launched his sixth book: Smitten by Catherine, the first ever chronicle of the life of Catherine Rachel Mendes da Costa (1678-1756). Mendes da Costa was the first female Jewish painter in recorded history, the first English-born Jewish artist in recorded history (male or female) and only the second English-born female artist in recorded history after Mary Beale (1633-1699).

“This is a true story that no fiction writer could even begin to imagine,” says Dr Lew. “Characters in the book include such well-known names as  Michaelangelo, Sofanisba Anguissola, Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Donna Gracia Nasi Mendes, Suleiman the Magnificent, Cromwell, Manasseh ben Israel, King Charles II and his Queen Catherine de Braganza, Sir Robert Walpole the first British Prime Minister, and Sir John Churchill the first Duke of Malborough and Voltaire to mention just a few.”

Smitten by Catherine was launched in October 2016 by Rabbi John Levi DD PhD AM, co-founder of the Australian Council of Christians and Jews and Adjunct Professor to the Australian Catholic University’s Melbourne-based Asia-Pacific Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue.

To purchase a limited edition, signed copy please contact:

Hybrid Publishers
T +61 3 9504 3462


Praise for Lion Hearts (2012)

“Many men and women in the later stages of their lives contemplate writing autobiographies or family memoirs for their children. Not many actually do so and very few take on such thorough research or discover such dramatic stories as Henry R. Lew has done. His Lion Hearts is structured like a series of connected chapter-carriages, full of refugees and asylum seekers, and the sounds of exhilaration and sadness, which travels through a history of the twentieth century. Though centred on the author's family, the story embraces us all and deserves a wide readership.”

Sir Michael Holroyd, Chairman of the Society of Authors (1973–83), President of the English branch of PEN (1985-88), President of the Royal Society of Literature (2003-08)

Praise for The Stories Our Parents Found Too Painful To Tell (2008)

“This valuable memoir adds to our knowledge and understanding of the fate of the Jews of Bialystok, a city of importance in the life of pre-war Polish Jews. I believe it deserves to receive the widest possible circulation and publicity.”

Sir Martin Gilbert, British historian and honorary Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. The author of eighty-eight books, including works on Winston Churchill , the 20th century, and Jewish history

Praise for The Five Walking Sticks (2000) the story of Australia’s first great investigative journalist, Maurice Brodzky.

“Completing the reading of your book is like being at the end of a journey and having the book allows one to remember every step of the way. I am going to re-read it. It is a brilliant work, a new way of writing a biography. Similar to a doppelganger; Brodzky as an apparition or shadow or double of yourself; a phantom extension of your will, you the author submerged in his artistic identity. Quite intriguing! Sometimes I did not know who was writing the book, you or he. What a treasure to have in my library.”

Laurel Hessing, New York playwright, author of The Golden Bear

“Lew’s ease as a storyteller has animated Brodzky’s life into the foreground of Melbourne’s history. A memorable read.”

Christopher Bantick, The Canberra Times

“The rich, venal, high high-minded world of Melbourne’s zenith brought back to life.”

Professor Peter Pierce, The Bulletin

“Meticulously researched and seamlessly integrated. A ripper read.”

Diane Carlyle, The Australian