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INCITE: Damon Galgut in Conversation with John Freeman

Presented in partnership with Vancouver Public Library.

The new year has come, and with it, a dazzling new season of Incite! Kick off the 2022 season with Damon Galgut, in celebration of his 2021 Booker Prize win for his novel, The Promise, in conversation with beloved Festival moderator and editor, John Freeman

In an exclusive pre-recorded event streamed from dual locations in South Africa and the UK, Galgut will share insights from both the process and pages of his recent tour de force, set in the town of his birth. Raved about in media, including The Guardian, Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times (Editor’s Choice), The Promise is an incisory, kaleidoscopic look at grief and guilt during a white family’s decline amidst South Africa’s transition out of apartheid—and the deterred promise the family has failed to keep for one of their servants.

This won’t be an event to miss! RSVP early.

From the publisher: Haunted by an unmet promise, the Swart family loses touch after the death of their matriarch. Adrift, the lives of the three siblings move separately through the uncharted waters of South Africa; Anton, the golden boy who bitterly resents his life’s unfulfilled potential; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by a nebulous feeling of guilt.

Reunited by four funerals over three decades, the dwindling family reflects the atmosphere of its country—one of resentment, renewal, and, ultimately, hope. The Promise is an epic drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of national history, sure to please current fans and attract many new ones.

Incite events are free and open to the public, but an RSVP is required. We encourage you to pick up The Promise at your favourite independent bookseller, or use our Festival Bookstore partner, kidsbooks.

This is an online, pre-recorded event. 

Participants and Speakers

Damon Galgut

DAMON GALGUT was born in Pretoria. His 2003 novel The Good Doctor won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In a Strange Room was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2021, Galgut won the Booker Prize for The Promise. In 2013, Galgut was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

John Freeman

JOHN FREEMAN is the founder of the literary annual Freeman’s and the author and editor of Dictionary of the Undoing, The Park, Tales of Two Planets, The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story, and, with Tracy K. Smith, There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Orions. The former editor of Granta, he teaches writing at NYU and is an executive editor at Alfred A. Knopf. (UNITED STATES)