One of the first NeWest Press Board members, Henry Kreisel (1922 - 1991) made a significant contribution to the study of Canadian literature, most notably by working to bridge two worlds—the European and the Canadian. Born in Austria in 1922, he fled the Anschluss in 1938 to England where he was then sent to Canada as an "enemy alien” and interned in 1940.
He earned his MA in English in 1947 from the University of Toronto and in 1954 he earned a PhD from the University of London. In 1961, as head of the English department, he introduced the first course in Canadian literature at the University of Alberta. In 1948 his novel, The Rich Man, was published, followed by The Betrayal in 1964. In his lifetime Kreisel won many awards including the President's Medal from the University of Western Ontario for his short story "The Travelling Nude,” the J. I. Segal Foundation Award for Literature in English for The Almost Meeting and The Order of Canada in 1988.