Deni Béchard was born in British Columbia to French Canadian and American parents and grew up throughout Canada and the United States. He has also traveled and lived in over thirty countries. His first novel, Vandal Love, (2006, Doubleday Canada) has been published in French and Arabic, and won the 2007 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, both for the best first book in Canada and for the best overall first book in the British Commonwealth. It was also nominated for Le Prix du Grand Public Salon du Livre Montréal / La Presse, 2008, as well as the French version of Canada Reads (Le Combat des Livres, 2009). On four occasions, he has been a recipient of Canada Council and Québec Arts Council Grants, and he has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Jentel, the Edward Albee Foundation, Ledig House, the Anderson Center and Vermont Studio Center, among others. His articles, stories and translations have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, among them the National Post, Maisonneuve, Le Devoir, the Harvard Review and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He has done freelance reporting from Northern Iraq as well as from Afghanistan. When not traveling, he divides his time between Cambridge, New York City and Montréal. He reads from his memoir Cures for Hunger.
“In Vandal Love D.Y. Béchard has re-invented the generational novel with innovative brilliance. The book has all the quirky depth of a great HBO series and a line-to-line literary energy that is very rare. This is an enormously impressive debut by a clearly gifted writer.” Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Good Scent From A Strange Mountain
“Over a vast yet beautifully coherent canvas, Vandal Love follows the panic and privilege of human longing through an amazing coalition of loneliness and adaptation. These characters – injured but unbowed, broken but enduring – introduce a gifted new writer. Béchard’s surety of voice and confident narrative span declare a first rate novel and an eloquent debut.”
Commonwealth Judging Panel, 2007
“Though Béchard has a journalism background, this fiction debut,unfolding in punchy prose, recalls Márquez with a French-Canadian twist.” -Publishers Weekly (starred review of Vandal Love)
Jack Hitt is the author of a new book, Bunch of Amateurs: A Search for the American Character, out from Crown Books. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and the public radio program, This American Life. His book, Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk Down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain, was made into a motion picture, “The Way,” directed by Emilio Estévez and starring Martin Sheen and released earlier this year. His worked has won the Peabody, Livingston and Pope Awards. He is currently touring a one-man show, “Making Up the Truth” (www.thejackhittplay.com), a series of his slightly incredible real-life stories woven in with the contemporary brain science that nearly answers the question, “Is any of this true?”
The KGB Bar Sunday Night Fiction showcases the finest in contemporary fiction from new and emerging writers.