Community Read Features Rawi Hage

House of Anansi, 2006
House of Anansi, 2006

Greater Moncton readers will have the opportunity to meet one of Canada’s most acclaimed authors, Rawi Hage at the Frye Festival’s Community Read on Thursday, October 15th at 7pm at Moncton City Hall. The author will discuss his novel De Niro’s Game for which he won the world’s most lucrative literary prize, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a value of $160,000.

Hage, born in Beirut, lived through the civil war in Lebanon before immigrating to the United States and finally heading north to Montreal in 1992. Everyone is encouraged to read De Niro’s Game and come together for the giant book club. Copies are available in French and English at public libraries and bookstores. A sample chapter of De Niro’s Game as well as a reading guide will be available on the Festival website Readers can visit the Frye Festival’s facebook page for the chance to win tickets to the event and copies of De Niro’s Game and Cockroach, Hage’s latest book.

“To have such an enormous success with the publication of a first novel shows the extent of Hage’s talent for writing and his capacity to reach out to people with a subject matter as harsh and cruel as the daily living in the midst of a civil war,” says Festival Chair, Dawn Arnold. “I’m sure readers will appreciate Hage’s beauty, however cruel, in his writing and words which portray images that stay with us long after the page is turned.” During the Community Read, Rawi Hage will be interviewed on stage by Monique LeBlanc, filmmaker, humorist, and avid reader. The author will also read from his book and answer questions from the public. The event will take place in English and in French.

Admission is $10 and tickets will be available at the door (space is limited). Moncton City Hall is located at 655 Main Street. Rawi Hage will meet with students from various regional high schools on Friday, October 16th.

This fourth edition of the Community Read in Moncton is made possible thanks to the Promotion of Linguistic Duality component of the Enhancement of Official Languages Program offered by Heritage Canada. The program aims to help organizations from various sectors to undertake or continue activities that promote a better understanding or appreciation of linguistic duality and to build stronger linguistic and cultural links among members of the two official-language communities.

The 11th edition of the Frye Festival, Canada’s only bilingual, international literary festival, will take place from April 19-25, 2010 in Moncton. More details at

Rawi Hage
Rawi Hage

De Niro’s Game
De Niro’s Game
(House of Anansi, 2006) tells the story of Bassam and George, two childhood friends caught in Lebanon’s civil war. The teenagers must face their futures: stay in Beirut and consolidate power through crime; or go into exile abroad and be alienated from the only existence they have ever known.

Praise has been plentiful for De Niro’s Game. “East meets West in this stunning first novel yielding a totally fresh perspective on war-torn Beirut. . . Both terse and lyrical, Hage’s narrative is a wonder, alternately referencing modern American action heroes and ancient Arabic imagery. The blend of the two is as startling as it is beautiful.” (Booklist);

“[A] masterpiece . . . writing cannot really get much better than Hage’s.” (Literary Review of Canada);

“The novel is full of poetic descriptions of the surreal and horrific nature of war delivered through Bassam’s stream of consciousness narrative. There are lines that you are compelled to read again and again due to their raw beauty and their insight into how war irreparably shapes human psyches.” (Fast Forward Weekly).

About the author
Rawi Hage is a writer, a visual artist, and a curator. His writings have appeared in Fuse Magazine, Mizna, Jouvert, The Toronto Review, Montreal Serai, and Al-Jadid. His visual works have been shown in galleries and museums around the world including the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Musée de la civilisation de Québec.

Rawi’s debut novel, De Niro’s Game (2006), was a finalist for numerous prestigious national and international awards including the Scotiabank Giller Prize (Shortlisted, 2006), the Governor General’s Award: Fiction (Shortlisted, 2006), the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction (Winner, 2006), and the McAuslan First Book Prize (Winner, 2006). Rawi is only the second Canadian to win the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award after Alistair McLeod. Rights to the book have been sold around the world, and the movie rights have been acquired by Toronto filmmaker Atom Egoyan.

Hage’s second book, Cockroach, was published by House of Anansi Press in the fall of 2008. One of the most highly anticipated novels, the book has been described “… as essential reading as its predecessor” (The Globe and Mail.) Cockroach has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and has been awarded the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.