George Jonas

Biography

George Jonas was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1935. He is the son of Dr. Georg M. Hübsch, a lawyer, composer, and former member of the Viennese State Opera, and Magda Hübsch, both deceased.

After attending the Lutheran Gymnasium between 1945 and 1954, Jonas worked briefly as a program editor for Radio Budapest. Following the Hungarian uprising of 1956, he emigrated to Canada. He became a script editor (1962), and later TV producer (1971), for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where he worked until 1985. Since then he has been a freelance journalist, writer, and TV producer based in Toronto. In 2005 he has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor to the Aurea Foundation.

In addition to 15 books, some of which have become national and international bestsellers, Jonas has written three works for live stage (The European Lover, a one-act opera, with music by Tibor Polgar, directed by Leon Major, first performed in 1965; The Glove, a one-act opera, with music by Tibor Polgar, directed by Alan Lunn, first performed in 1973, and Pushkin, a full-length stage play, directed by Marion Andre, first performed in 1979). Jonas has also written and/or produced and/or directed over 200 dramas and documentary dramas for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, including the award-winning radio and TV series, The Scales of Justice (1981-1996). A film, Sword of Gideon, based on Jonas's book Vengeance, was directed by Michael Anderson and featured Michael York, Colleen Dewhurst, Lino Ventura, and Rod Steiger. Another film, Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Eric Bana, was nominated for five Academy Awards for 2005.

Jonas has contributed features, reviews, columns, poetry as well as aviation and motorsport journalism to many Canadian periodicals and newspapers; also to such U.S. and British publications and wire services as the Daily Telegraph, Saturday Review, the National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, The Chicago Sun-Times, the Middle East Quarterly, and United Press International. He has been a contributing editor and columnist for The Canadian Lawyer; past contributing editor of Toronto Life, and past weekly columnist for the Toronto Sun (1981-2001).

Currently Jonas is a twice-weekly columnist for the National Post. His most recent books are, Beethoven's Mask: Notes on My Life and Times, published by Key Porter Books in 2005, and a collection of essays, Reflections on Islam, released by Key Porter Books in 2007. His most current collection, published by Cormorant Books in the fall of 2011, is a cavalcade of poetry, biography, autobiography and irreverent literary history, called The Jonas Variations: A Literary Séance. He is at work on his next book of fiction, which he calls Me, A Novel.

Awards:

  • "Edgar Allan Poe" Award for Best Fact Crime Book for By Persons Unknown, Mystery Writers of America. (New York, 1978.)
  • "Nelly" Award (twice) for Best Canadian Radio Program for The Scales of Justice, A.C.T.R.A. and Texaco. (Toronto, 1983 and 1986.)
  • "Gabriel" Award for Best Radio Entertainment Program in North America for The Scales of Justice. (San Antonio, Texas,1985.)
  • Gold Medal, New York International Radio Festival, for The Scales of Justice. (New York, 1986.)
  • Inaugural "Scales of Justice" Award, Law Reform Commission and the Canadian Bar Association, for The Scales of Justice. (Ottawa, 1986.)
  • Periodical Distributors of Canada "Author's Award" (three times) for Best Paperback Book for By Persons Unknown (Toronto, 1978); Vengeance (Ottawa, 1985); and for Personality Feature ("The Nice Man Cometh," Toronto Life, 1987.)
  • International World of Motorcycling "Max Award" (twice) for motorsport journalism and for A Passion Observed. (Toronto, 1980 and 1989.)
  • National Magazine Award for journalism (three times) for "Legally Bombed," Saturday Night, 1991; "The Spielberg Massacre," Maclean's Magazine, 2006; and "Meditations on Israel," Queen's Quarterly, 2007.
  • "Gemini" Award (twice) for Best TV Movie for Regina vs. Nelles, The Scales of Justice, and for Best Short Dramatic Program for Regina vs. Stewart, The Scales of Justice, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. (Toronto, 1993.)