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Author M. G. Vassanji to give wide-ranging public lecture at the TFDL Oct. 21

Acclaimed writer’s first profession was nuclear physics
October 17, 2013

If this guest speaker were to bring all his prizes and awards with him, he’d definitely have to pay for extra luggage.

Moyez G. Vassanji has been awarded a PhD in nuclear physics, the Giller Prize for best Canadian novel, and the Governor General’s Award for non-fiction. With credentials like those, Vassanji is certain to give a highly informative talk at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21 in the Gallery Hall on the main floor of the Taylor Family Digital Library.  

His lecture, titled “Physics, Fiction and Song – A Writer’s Inspiration,” is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and its English Department, the Faculty of Science’s Physics Department, and the Postcolonial Studies Research Group.

“Moyez Vassanji is a man of two cultures – science and humanities,” says English professor Victor Ramraj.

“His fictional world reconstructs the experience of Indians living in colonial East Africa and in the immigrant communities of the UK, Canada and the U.S.,” says Dr. Ramraj. “He insightfully portrays their cultural hybridity and ambivalence in a post-colonial, globalized world.”

Born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania, Vassanji now lives with his family in Toronto. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Pennsylvania, where he studied nuclear physics.

After his first novel, The Gunny Sack won the Commonwealth Book Prize, Vassanji devoted himself to writing. He won the Giller Prize – twice – first for the for The Book of Secrets 1994 and then for The In-Between World of Vikram Lall in 2003. Two years later, he was awarded the Order of Canada and, four years after that, he won the Governor-General’s Award for non-fiction for A Place Within: Rediscovering India.

Vassanji’s most recent novel is The Magic of Saida published in 2012.