Lovers in a Dangerous Time: Esi Edugyan, Gayla Reid & Antanas Sileika

Recorded at the Revue Stage on Saturday, October 22, 2011.

War and conflict heighten human emotion, action and thought. There’s a desperate awareness that life may be even shorter than expected and the future irrevocably changed. When history crashes into personal lives and loves during wartime, novelists are given rich fodder to create characters under pressure. Three authors who have written against the backdrop of interesting politics–from Lithuania under the Soviet Union, to the Spanish Civil War, to Europe on the cusp of World War II, talk about the intense passion that intertwines their characters and drives their actions. Through their research, Edugyan, Reid and Sileika also open up our knowledge and understanding of conflicts that may have shaped the lives of our contemporaries.

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Esi Edugyan’s first novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published internationally. It was nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, was a More Book Lust selection, and was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of 2004’s Books to Remember. Edugyan’s work has also appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, and Revival: An Anthology of Black Canadian Writing. Her new novel is Half-Blood Blues.



Gayla Reid was born in Australia and came to Canada over 30 years ago. Her work has garnered major Canadian literary awards, including the Journey Prize and the 2005 Marian Engel Award for a woman writer in mid-career. Her first work of fiction, the short story collection To Be There with You, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her subsequent books are All the Seas of the World, Closer Apart: The Ardara Variations and her latest novel, Come from Afar.





Antanas Sileika is the author of two novels and one collection of linked short stories, Buying on Time, which was nominated for both the City of Toronto Book Award and the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. His last novel, Woman in Bronze, was a Globe and Mail Best Book selection. He lives in Toronto, where he is the artistic director for the Humber School for Writers. His new novel, Underground, is set in Lithuania’s resistance movement in the 1940s.