Amitava Kumar’s Immigrant, Montana and Ruby Namdar’s The Ruined House both showcase a portrait of American life in New York at the turn of the 21st century from unique perspectives: Kumar’s from a coming-of-age immigrant in his university years and Namdar’s from the deterioration of a successful, middle-aged Jewish professor.
Settle in for an engaging discussion on the comparison and contrast of these two books, which comment on the confusion of cultural values, while blending the personal with the political. Amitava Kumar and Ruby Namdar will be interviewed by Ian Austen. This event will be hosted by Amy Jones.
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Ian Austen has covered Canada for The New York Times since 2004, both as a contract writer and staff reporter. Prior to his work for The Times, Austen was a freelance writer and contributing editor to Canadian Business Magazine. He was also a biweekly commentator for the CBC, focusing on technology industries. He was a senior writer and correspondent at Southam News, an Ottawa correspondent for Financial Times of Canada and a staff writer and correspondent at Maclean’s Magazine. Austen has been a National Magazine Awards and National Newspaper Awards finalist.
Amy Jones’s first novel, We’re All in This Together, was a national bestseller, won the Northern Lit Award, was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and named a “Best Book of the Year” by the Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire. Her debut collection of stories, What Boys Like, won the Metcalf-Rooke Award and was a finalist for the ReLit Award. Her fiction has won the CBC Literary Prize for Short Fiction, appeared in Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories, and been selected as LongForm’s Pick of the Week. Originally from Halifax, she lived in Thunder Bay for many years before moving to Toronto. Every Little Piece of Me is her second novel.
Amitava Kumar is a writer and journalist. He was born in Ara, India, and grew up in the nearby town of Patna, famous for its corruption, crushing poverty and delicious mangoes. Kumar is the author of several books of nonfiction and a previous novel. He lives in Poughkeepsie in upstate New York, where he is Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College. In 2016, Kumar was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (General Nonfiction) as well as a Ford Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists.
Ruby Namdar was born and raised in Jerusalem to a family of Iranian-Jewish heritage. His first book, Haviv (2000), won The Ministry of Culture's Award for Best First Publication. His novel The Ruined House has won the Sapir Prize, Israel’s most prestigious literary award. He currently lives in New York with his wife and two daughters, where he teaches Jewish literature, focusing on Biblical and Talmudic narrative. This author is supported by the Consulate General of Israel in Toronto.