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Family is the glue for so many great stories – from the tales in the Torah to today’s fiction set in Toronto. Join us as three master storytellers talk about the way they weave their family stories and familiar characters into their own great fiction. We can be eavesdroppers as these friends discuss their work. There will be short readings from each and plenty of time for your questions, book signings and informal chats with our speakers. “Turning Family into Fiction” will be at 7:30 p.m. on April 28th – and we hope to see you there! Cynthia Good

A program of the Centre for Contemporary Jewish Literature at Holy Blossom Temple

Turning Family Into Fiction
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
7:30 p.m.
David Bezmozgis, Anne Michaels and Joe Kertes at Holy Blossom!

To paraphrase Tolstoy, happy families may all be alike, and unhappy families may all be distinctive, but only great writers can make them both universal and particular.

Join us for an evening of readings and discussion from three award-winning novelists, whose work reflects family histories and complex relationships.

Non-Members: $10 at the door

  • David Bezmozgis brilliantly depicts the world of Soviet Jews and their family life
  • Joe Kertes draws on his family history from Hungary during the war and Soviet occupation
  • Anne Michaels explores memory and redemption around the Holocaust


David BezmozgisDavid Bezmozgis is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. He is the author of the story collection, Natasha and Other Stories (2004), and the novels, The Free World (2011), and The Betrayers (2014). He has twice been a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Natasha was awarded the City of Toronto Book Prize and The Free World won the First novel award. In the summer of 2010, David was included in The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 issue, celebrating the twenty most promising fiction writers under the age of forty. In 2009, David’s first feature film, Victoria Day, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Screenplay. His second feature, Natasha, will be released in Canada by Mongrel Media in the fall of 2015. David holds a BA in English Literature from McGill University and an MFA in film production from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

Joe KertesJoseph Kertes founded Humber College’s creative writing and comedy programs. He is currently Humber’s Dean of Creative and Performing Arts and is a recipient of numerous awards for teaching and innovation. His first novel, Winter Tulips, won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. Boardwalk, his second novel, and two children’s books, The Gift and The Red Corduroy Shirt, met with critical acclaim. His novel, Gratitude, won a Canadian National Jewish Book Award and the U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. Kertes has also been a finalist for a National Magazine Award and the CBC Literary Award. His latest novel is called The Afterlife of Stars, and it is published by Penguin Canada. Richard Bausch said of it that “it is blazing with every good thing a work of fiction ever does or could do.”

Anne MichaelsAnne Michaels’ books are published in over forty countries. Her first novel, Fugitive Pieces, was on bestseller lists for over three years and won dozens of international and national awards including the Orange Prize, the Guardian Fiction Award, and the Trillium Award. Fugitive Pieces was adapted as a feature film. She has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize twice and the Impac Award twice and a Governor-General’s Award. Her books of poetry have garnered prestigious honours and her most recent book-length poem, Correspondences, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2014. She has written for theatre and co-wrote with John Berger, Railtracks, which was produced by Theatre Complicite in the UK.  Anne Michaels holds two honorary degrees and she is an adjunct professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto where she is also this year’s Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor.

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  • Phyllis Wintraub

    Debbie: The programme was wonderful–and you were right. Where does one get an opportunity to hear such well-known Canadian,Jewish writers in one place? For that,we have to thank Cynthia Good for bringing her esteemed colleagues to Temple so it could happen. It was an exceptionally well-attended evening and most edifying. Those of us who cannot imagine writing even one page of a book, were fascinated to learn about how one finds a subject for a book-in this case family. And than filling up many more blank pages that draw us in to make us care about these people and what becomes of their lives through their struggles during war, immigration and adjusting to life in a new land. Thanks–please do it again.

  • Debbie Spiegel

    Join us tomorrow night for this fabulous program. It will be a terrific evening! We don’t often get a chance to meet 3 wonderful Canadian authors in one place!

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