Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997
Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks St.
6:30pm

No Place Like Home

with Nilofar Shidmehr, Pierre Jarawan and David Bezmozgis
Hosted by CBC’s Judy Trinh

No Place Like Home

with Nilofar Shidmehr, Pierre Jarawan and David Bezmozgis
Hosted by CBC’s Judy Trinh
7
Tuesday
May
6:30pm
Christ Church Cathedral
414 Sparks St.
David Bezmozgis
Nilofar Shidmehr
Pierre Jarawan - Photo by Marvin Ruppert

Human history is the story of migration, of adaptation, of lives and cultures intersecting, and yet some would use the word “immigrant” as an epithet, would suggest a hard line between “us” and “them,” would deny that shared humanity runs deeper than the specifics of our births. Join us for an evening of storytelling with a special focus on lives straddling cultures, of journeys both physical and spiritual.

 

Acclaimed poet Nilofar Shidmehr’s debut story collection, Divided Loyalties , is an unflinching look at the lives of women in post-revolutionary Iran and the contemporary diaspora in Canada. The stories begin in 1978, the year before the Iranian Revolution. In a neighbourhood in Tehran, a group of affluent girls play a Cinderella game with unexpected consequences. In the mid-1980’s, women help their husbands and brothers survive war and political upheaval. In the early 1990’s in Vancouver, Canada, a single-mother refugee is harassed by the men she meets on a telephone dating platform. And in 2003, a Canadian woman working for an international aid organization is dispatched to her hometown of Bam to assist in the wake of a devastating earthquake.

 

Pierre Jarawan’s novel The Storyteller —a bestseller in Germany, now available in English translation—pulls away the curtain of grim facts and figures portrayed in the media and shows an intimate truth of what it means to come from a country torn apart by civil war. It tells the story of Samir, who leaves the safety and comfort of his family’s adopted home, Germany, for volatile Beirut in an attempt to find his missing father. The only clues Samir has are an old photo and the bedtime stories his father used to tell him.

 

David Bezmozgis, winner of the Toronto Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, brings us Immigrant City , his first story collection in more than a decade. 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 these deeply felt, slyly humorous stories, he presents immigrant characters with all their contradictions and complexities, their earnest and divided hearts.    

 

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

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