Land of Plenty: Peter Behrens, Clark Blaise & Ling Zhang

Recorded at Studio 1398 on Friday, October 21, 2011.

Canada is populated largely by immigrants, all with stories that carry shadows of what they’ve left behind and how they’ve been welcomed to their new land. In his novel, The O’Briens, Peter Behrens transports, from Ireland to Canada, the family introduced in his award-winning first novel. Clark Blaise’s collection of short fiction tackles the struggle between tradition and modernity faced by Indian immigrants to America, something he understands as a result of his wife’s own immigration experience. And Ling Zhang, whose last novel became the highest-grossing film in Chinese history, gives voice to Chinese immigrants to Canada’s West Coast in her multi-generational saga. Listen to three compelling storytellers whose fiction embraces the possibility of success in a new land, where roots are shallow, and cultural identity and personal identity are often at odds.

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Peter Behrens is the author of the Governor General’s Award-winning novel The Law of Dreams, published around the world to wide acclaim, and a collection of short stories, Night Driving. His short stories and essays have appeared in Atlantic, Tin House, Saturday Night and the National Post. He was born in Montreal and lives on the coast of Maine with his wife and son. His new novel, The O’Briens, follows the family from The Law of Dreams two generations later.




Clark Blaise is the author of 20 books of fiction and non-fiction. A long-time advocate for the literary arts in North America, Blaise has taught writing and literature at numerous colleges and universities. Internationally recognized for his contributions to the field, Blaise received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2003 and was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2009. Blaise now divides his time between New York and San Francisco, where he lives with his wife, American novelist Bharati Mukherjee. His new collection of stories is The Meagre Tarmac.



Ling Zhang is a senior audiologist and fiction writer. She was born in Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province in China and came to Canada in 1986 to pursue an M.A. in English at the University of Calgary. She obtained her second degree—an M.A. in communication disorders at the University of Cincinnati. She has published three novels and two collections of short stories and was recognized in 2006 with the People’s Literature Award in China. Her most recent book is Gold Mountain Blues.