Christ Church Cathedral414 Sparks Street

Past Imperfect with
Deborah Campbell,
Alexandra Shimo
and Joy Kogawa

Hosted by CBC's Adrian Harewood
"Gripping, inspiring, and at times intensely sorrowful, A Disappearance in Damascus provides a portrait of tremendous courage and resourcefulness within the community of Iraqi war survivors in Syria, the devastation war wreaks upon civilians, and a remarkable friendship between two women.
— Phil Klay, winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Redeployment
Alexandra Shimo
Deborah Campbell - Photo courtesy of J.L. Campbell
Joy Kogawa
Our celebration of narrative non-fiction brings three amazing story-tellers to the stage for a remarkable evening of true stories, and a conversation on writing the world.

In the midst of an unfolding international crisis, journalist  Deborah Campbell , undercover in Damascus to report on the exodus of Iraqis into Syria following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, finds herself swept up in the mysterious disappearance of Ahlam, her guide and friend. Haunted by the prospect that their work together has led to her friend’s arrest, Campbell spends the months that follow desperately trying to find her—all the while fearing she could be next.  A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War is a frank, personal account of a journey through fear, and the triumph of friendship and courage. 

When freelance journalist  Alexandra Shimo  arrives in Kashechewan, a fly-in northern Ontario reserve, to investigate rumours of a fabricated water crisis and document its deplorable living conditions, she finds herself drawn into the troubles of the reserve. Unable to cope with the desperate conditions, she begins to fall apart. Part memoir, part history of the Canadian reserves,  Invisible North: The Search for Answers on a Troubled Reserve  offers a vivid first-person account of life on a troubled reserve that illuminates a difficult and oft-ignored history.

Set in Vancouver and Toronto, the outposts of Slocan and Coaldale, the streets of Nagasaki and the high mountains of Shikoku, Japan,  Gently to Nagasaki  is also an account of a remarkable life. As a child during WWII, Joy Kogawa was interned with her family and thousands of other Japanese Canadians by the Canadian government. Her acclaimed novel Obasan, based on that experience, brought her literary recognition and played a critical role in the movement for redress. In her new book, interweaving the events of her own life with catastrophes like the bombing of Nagasaki and the massacre by the Japanese imperial army at Nanking, she wrestles with essential questions like good and evil, love and hate, rage and forgiveness, determined above all to arrive at her own truths.

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

See Also

Join Wait List

Past Imperfect with Deborah Campbell, Alexandra Shimo and Joy Kogawa

Notify me if new tickets come available for this event

Number of tickets:

Past Imperfect with Deborah Campbell, Alexandra Shimo and Joy Kogawa

RSVP to help us ensure there are enough seats at this event