THE MAP SEEKER: One Woman’s Quest


map-seeker-smallBy Leah Kotkes, Israel Bookshop Publications

Reviewed by Chaim Schwarz

Leah Kotkes experiences life. With the vivid expression of a novel or a symphony or a play, Mrs. Kotkes experiences color and depth, meaning and message in the events  of every day. She has had an eventful life. As a religiously uncommitted British teen, she began a career in fashion publicity. She was soon associated with the industry’s rising stars, names who would become the world’s highest profile designers.

Glamorous as it was, fashion did not afford her the opportunity to pursue what she felt was her true calling, writing. Vanessa, as she was then called, switched careers, and writing in the newsroom of ITN, she was able to work on what would become her second most important passion; second only to looking for higher meaning, seeking the Truth.

Navigating by epiphany and inspiration, seeking a map, a guide to a meaningful, fulfilled existence, Vanessa found Yiddishkeit, and changed her name to Leah.

Today, Leah Kotkes is at the forefront of a burgeoning print movement in the Torah world. Her writing is elegant, her viewpoint brutally and beautifully introspective. She plays language like a violin as she portrays the pathos and grace that she has found in reality and within herself, through her search for the Truth.

You can download and read some of Leah Kotkes’s highlights from Binah Magazine at . Articles include her experience with anorexia, and visits to the Venice Ghetto, France and Russia.

The Map Seeker, her first book, tells the story of that quest. Leah documents her struggles and successes, from girlhood to yiddishe mama-hood, through Yiddishkeit that inspired her to live, and a divorce that threatened to destroy her. Rather than a retelling of the past, Leah’s memoir, The Map Seeker, is of herself. The writing, the story, and the author are one and the same.

map-seekerHaving many writing and editing accomplishments under her belt, Mrs. Kotkes has also started a program to open the door for other women who write. The program is called Lifework.

Visit the Lifework Website:

Lifework offers seminars, writing clubs, mentoring and referrals for writers who are experienced or who are just trying to get a foot in the door. Many well known and successful authors, editors and publishers, including Sara Shapiro, Yaffa Ganz, Aviva Rappaport and Mimi Zakon have joined Mrs. Kotkes in giving seminars and mentoring authors. Lifework also publishes a writer’s journal in honor of a seminar that is conducted annually, The Writer’s Journey Seminar.

Read the online version of The Writer’s Journal

Issue 1

Issue 2

Issue 3

In honor of the release of The Map Seeker, Leah Kotkes will be holding seminars and meet-the-author talks in towns around the U.S., Canada, and England. 

She will be visiting Lakewood, Boro Park, Monsey, Toronto, Montreal, Stamford Hill, Golders Green, and Manchester.

Women who write, or who dream of writing, will find this an exciting opportunity to explore publishing possibilities, develop writing skills, and learn about themselves through writing.

Seeking her guide, Leah Kotkes traveled and settled, suffered and triumphed. Through her book, The Map Seeker, and her program, Lifework, women around the world can experience her journey, and discover and document their own.

The Map Seeker: One Woman’s Quest is available at Judaica stores everywhere, or from Israel Book Shop Publications (732) 901-3009 Find out when Mrs. Kotkes will be visiting your town by visiting  

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