Sharon Kirsch is a writer of fiction and narrative non-fiction. Her memoir, The Smallest Objective, is the winner of a 2021 Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature.

In The Smallest Objective, the microscope lens, or objective, belonging to the author’s grandfather enables great clarity of vision. It counts, too, as one of many items the author retrieves from her family home as she pursues the rumour of buried treasure. Together, these objects and the several personalities they represent—a celebrated rogue turned raconteur, a botanist, a young woman seized with newfound opportunities—offer a vantage point on 20th-century Montreal and its Jewish community. Not least is the author’s mother, battling memory loss as her daughter reveals a legacy of unexpected secrets and willed forgetfulness. The Smallest Objective is now available in a new e-book edition, including family photos. To purchase the e-book, click here. To purchase the print edition, click here.

Sharon’s fiction and non-fiction are also marked by an enduring interest in animals. What Species of Creatures, her debut book of literary non-fiction, was inspired by historical writings about unfamiliar “beasts.” “Animals Out of Turn,” a work in progress, imagines how the arts, scientific understanding, alchemy and even culinary tradition shape our interactions with other species.

Praise for The Smallest Objective, a winner of a 2021 Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature

“In the wake of her mother’s illness, and driven by lore of hidden treasure, Kirsch excavates history from ephemera found in her parents’ home . . . With poetic prose, and a proclivity for listing of things, Kirsch has a microscopic attention to detail that matches the theme of objects put under scrutiny to divine secrets. This writing has a way of hinting at the ineffable and drawing synaptic connections that reveal a real playfulness and love of words.”
—Vine Awards Jury

“Emptying her parents’ home furnishes Sharon Kirsch with the emotional drive to write a family history that is fascinating, meticulously researched, and full of yearning. I read it with pleasure.”
—Elizabeth Hay, author of the memoir All Things Consoled

“In this particularly well-crafted memoir, author Sharon Kirsch shares her experience of exploration, healing and loss. Akin to an intricately detailed slide under a microscope, this suite of stories, in fact, a collection of newly discovered memories, is a familial jigsaw puzzle—a series of mysteries, reassembled by way of meticulous research and the astute observation of a writer in her prime.
—Bill Arnott, The Miramichi Reader

“This new memoir is based on impeccable research, and the prose is equal parts unsentimental, edifying and engaging. Kirsch is especially forthright and honest when she writes about her mother, her failing health and her failing memory. She is equally adept in the way she juxtapositions the impending loss of her mother with her newfound family knowledge.”
—Sharon Chisvin, Winnipeg Free Press 

“Kirsch’s new book The Smallest Objective (New Star Books) is a very personal memoir set in the Jewish Montreal of the 20th century, fascinating for its frank examination of mothers and daughters, revelation of family secrets, and showing how the past is always somehow present.”
—Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish Record

“Kirsch is a writer by trade, and as a result her memoir bears a warm, clever tone and rich historical detail … it’s Kirsch’s vivid writing that truly brings to life the three generations of family to which readers are introduced.”
—Sharon Hanna, Canada’s History

“Kirsch exhumes a wealth of small, seemingly insignificant objects and minute details of past lives — always fitting them together in interesting ways. It is an unsuspected pleasure to find one drawn through the story without knowing exactly why, such is the author’s skill in weaving together disparate elements, moving us on from one part of the tale to another, putting together the giant puzzle with a few pieces missing.”
—Eric McMillan, Streeter


Virtual launch featuring Sharon in conversation with arts reporter Jeanette Kelly, plus music by Socalled, one of Canada’s most distinctive klezmer artists

Virtual launch highlights

Sharon reading from The Smallest Objective