50 Faces in the Conflict

United Kingdom
British Columbia/United Kingdom
Nadeem Aslam* United Kingdom

Nadeem Aslam is the author of four highly acclaimed novels, including Maps for Lost Lovers, which was a New York Times Notable Book, won the Kiriyama Prize, was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize. He is also the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Born in Pakistan, he currently lives in England. His new novel is The Blind Man’s Garden. Read more

* We regret that Nadeem Aslam will not be appearing at the festival.

D.W. Wilson British Columbia/United Kingdom

D.W. Wilson is the author of the short story collection Once You Break a Knuckle and a novel, Ballistics. He is the recipient of the University of East Anglia’s inaugural Man Booker Prize Scholarship, and in 2011, he won the BBC National Short Story Award and was shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Read more

Michael Winter Ontario/Newfoundland

Michael Winter is the author of several novels, including The Big Why, which was longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His previous novel, The Death of Donna Whalen, was nominated for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He is also the recipient of the Writers’ Trust Notable Author Award. His new novel is Minister Without Portfolio. Read more

Friday, October 25, 2013 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Waterfront Theatre
$17 / $8.50 for school groups

Every evening on the television news we are bombarded by video clips showing buildings reduced to rubble, crowds in conflict and little that makes any of this anguish make sense. Four writers put the personal story into global conflicts in a way that brings new understandings and connections. Nadeem Aslam, setting his novel in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the months following 9/11, brings us the story of foster brothers Jeo and Mikal. Michael Winter’s Henry Hayward is the character that gives us insight into the personal effect of roadside conflict in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ayelet Tsabari, formerly a soldier in the Israeli army, gives us short stories peopled with those living “life on the verge of an emergency” to show an Israel people may not have seen in the news. And D.W. Wilson’s US army deserter, Archer, suffers from both psychological and physical scars caused by his participation in the Vietnam War.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.

* Programming details have changed since the Festival Program was printed:
We are pleased to announce that Kathryn Para will be appearing at this event.

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View the study guide for this event.

Faces in the Conflict


Nadeem Aslam, The Blind Man’s Garden
Ayelet Tsabari, The Best Place on Earth
D.W. Wilson, Ballistics
Michael Winter, Minister Without Portfolio

Curriculum Connections:

  • Language Arts: plot and character development
  • Social Studies: global community, current history and human geography


  • After students select and research one of the conflicts discussed in this event and books, then have them write a personal account, such as a letter or journal entry, from the point of view of an Israeli, Palestinian, Afghani or Vietnamese student. The accounts can be written in the present day or in the past, but they must reflect a major event in the history of the conflict and they should include several details based on research. Challenge students to consider how it must feel to live in the midst of such a conflict.
  • Have students work in pairs to critique each other's work. Was the account believable? Was it clear when and by whom it was supposed to be written? Did the account include relevant facts based on research? Did it reflect how a young person might feel living in the midst of conflict? Students should revise their writing based on the critique.
  • Collect the accounts and make copies for everyone in the class. As a homework assignment, have students read the accounts and come prepared to discuss them the next day.
  • To conclude the lesson, lead a discussion about the accounts. How did students imagine it would feel to be involved in such a conflict? Did they imagine differences between Palestinian, Israeli, Afghani and Vietnamese students? How might their experiences be similar? What was most challenging about writing this assignment? Do students think it is difficult for most North Americans to understand the conflict? Why or why not?