Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks Street

What Tomorrow Brings with Michael Helm and M.G. Vassanji

Hosted by Peter Schneider

What Tomorrow Brings with Michael Helm and M.G. Vassanji

Hosted by Peter Schneider
Christ Church Cathedral
414 Sparks Street
M.G. Vassanji
Michael Helm

Join us for one-on-one conversations with two of this country’s most acclaimed acclaimed authors whose new novels deftly conjure the world of tomorrow to explore who we are now. As TS Eliot famously suggested, the past and future, “point to one end, which is always present.” Don’t miss these conversations on what tomorrow can tell us about today.

After James  by Giller Prize finalist Michael Helm is a genre-bending work of astonishing vision and a dazzling story of our times. A neuroscientist retreats to a secluded cabin in the woods, intending to blow the whistle on a pharmaceutical company and its creativity drug gone wrong. A failed poet is lured to Rome as a “literary detective” to decode the work of a mysterious Internet poet who seems to write about murders with precise knowledge of private details. On the heels of a life crisis, a virologist discovers her identity has been stolen by a conceptual artist in whose work someone always goes missing. After James is an audacious, masterful novel, told in three connected parts, each gesturing toward a type of genre fiction–the gothic horror, the detective novel, and the apocalyptic.

Nostalgia , the new novel by two-time Giller Prize winner M.G. Vassanji, is set in the indeterminate future in an unnamed western city where physical impediments to immortality have been overcome. As society approaches the prospect of eternal life, a new problem must be confronted: with the threat of the brain’s storage capacity being overwhelmed, people want to move forward into the future free from redundant, unwanted and interfering memories. Rejuvenated bodies require rejuvenated identities–all traces of a person’s past are erased and new, complete fictions are implanted in their stead. On occasion, though, cracks emerge, and reminders of discarded lives seep through. Those afflicted suffer from Leaked Memory Syndrome, or Nostalgia, whereby thoughts from a previous existence burrow into the conscious mind threatening to pull sufferers into an internal abyss.

Books available for purchase at every event: Proceeds support our free children’s literacy programs.

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