York University’s Canadian Writers in Person Lecture Series will come to a close for the 2019-20 season with author David Bezmozgis as the final guest on March 17. He will read from his first story collection in more than a decade, Immigrant City, at 7 p.m. in 206 Accolade West Building, Keele Campus.
Latvian-born Bezmozgis is an award-winning writer and filmmaker and the current director of the Humber School for Writers in Toronto. His debut story collection, Natasha and Other Stories, won the Toronto Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His first novel, The Free World, was a finalist for both the Governor General’s Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His second novel, The Betrayers, was also a Giller Prize finalist and won the National Jewish Book Award. His writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story and The Best American Short Stories. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a Radcliffe Fellow, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library.
In the story collection Immigrant City, Bezmozgis presents immigrant characters with all their contradictions and complexities, their earnest and divided hearts. In the title story, a father and his young daughter stumble into a bizarre version of his immigrant childhood. A mysterious tech conference brings a writer to Montreal, where he discovers new designs on the past in “How It Used to Be.” A grandfather’s Yiddish letters expose a love affair and a wartime secret in “Little Rooster.” In “Childhood,” Mark’s concern about his son’s phobias evokes a shameful incident from his own adolescence. In “Roman’s Song,” Roman’s desire to help a new immigrant brings him into contact with a sordid underworld. At his father’s request, Victor returns to Riga, the city of his birth, where his loyalties are tested by the man he might have been in “A New Gravestone for an Old Grave.” And, in the noir-inspired “The Russian Riviera,” Kostya leaves Russia to pursue a boxing career only to find himself working as a doorman in a garish nightclub in the Toronto suburbs.
Canadian Writers in Person is a for-credit course for students offered out of the Culture & Expression program in the Department of Humanities in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. It is also a free-admission event for members of the public. For more information on the series, visit yorku.ca/laps/canwrite, call 416-736-5158, or email Professor Gail Vanstone at email@example.com or Professor Leslie Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.