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Writing the Anti-Hero: In-Conversation with Guy Gunaratne

October 15, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT

This hybrid program, curated by City of Asylum Advisory Board member Anderson Tepper, features acclaimed author Guy Gunaratne, who will be livestreamed in for the reading and conversation. The two will discuss Guy’s latest release, Mister, Mister, a blazingly propulsive novel following a captured jihadist and poet-preacher as he recounts his path to international notoriety. 

Who is Yahya Bas? Revolutionary poet, notorious jihadist, misbegotten son, self-styled idiot-boy. When the enigmatic Yahya finds himself languishing in a detention center after fleeing the conflict in Syria, he has many questions to face. What was he doing in the desert? Why did he betray his home country? What led him to write the incendiary verses that launched him into international infamy? Mister, his interrogator, wants answers. So Yahya resolves to tell his own story, in his own words, and on his own terms.

Mister, Mister is what follows: a coming-of-age story of radical self-invention, a quest for a long-lost father, and a discovery of another way to live in the shadow of war. Brash, biting, yet ultimately tender and bracingly imaginative, Mister, Mister follows a child of the tumultuous 90s and the ravaged aughts as he becomes the unwitting voice of a generation.

You can purchase your own copy of Guy’s book, Mister Mister, at City of Asylum Bookstore.

About the Author:

Guy Gunaratne (they/them) is the author of Mister, Mister and In Our Mad and Furious City, winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Jhalak Prize. They were longlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. Guy was a Visiting Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and is a trustee at English PEN. They have also served on various literary prize judging panels including the Goldsmiths Prize in 2019 and the Rathbones Folio Prize in 2023.

About the Moderator:

Anderson Tepper is co-chair of the international committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival and a guest curator of the 2023 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Formerly of Vanity Fair, he writes on books and authors for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and World Literature Today. Anderson Tepper serves on the City of Asylum Advisory Board.

About Your Visit: 

The in-house restaurant will be closed.

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October 15, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


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40 W. North Avenue
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