2024 Festival:
October 21–27
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Incite: On the Ravine: Vincent Lam

Presented in partnership with Vancouver Public Library. 

Giller Prize-winning author Dr. Vincent Lam joins our distinguished 2023 Incite lineup with a novel that casts an insightful, urgent, and intimate eye upon the devastating experience of addiction.

In his practice as an emergency physician and addictions physician, as well as the medical director of Coderix Medical Clinic, an addictions medicine clinic based in downtown Toronto, Dr. Lam is a first-hand witness to the staggering impact of opioid addictions—an epidemic that claimed the lives of over 11,500 Canadians between January 2016 and December 2018[1]. On the Ravine combines the depth of his experience with his literary talent to create a gripping novel of profound emotional force, electric in its precision and radiant in its detail, where the paths of a doctor and patient intersect in complex, life-altering ways.

RSVP for free to hear Lam in conversation with physician Daniel Kalla, the internationally bestselling author of novels such as The Darkness in the Light, Lost Immunity, and the forthcoming book Fit to Die. Books will be for sale before and after the event courtesy of Book Warehouse, a division of Black Bond Books.

[1] Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. https://www.ccsa.ca/opioids



In his downtown Toronto condo, Dr. Chen awakens to the sound of streetcars below, but it is not the early morning traffic that keeps him from sleep. News banners run across his phone: Fentanyl Crisis; Toxic Drug Supply; Record Number of Deaths. From behind the headlines, on the same screen, glow the faces of his patients, the faces of the what-ifs: What if he had done more, or less? Or something different? Would they still be alive?

Claire is a violinist; she feels at one with her music, taking flight in its melody, free in its movement. But now she rises and falls with the opioids in her system, becoming increasingly reckless. After two overdoses in twenty-four hours, she sits in the blue light of her computer, searching a notice board for recommendations: my doctor saved my life; my doctor is just another dealer. And then another message catches her attention, about Chen’s clinic: be a guinea pig—why not get paid to take it?

When Claire’s life intersects with Chen’s, the doctor is drawn ever more deeply into the complexities of the doctor-patient relationship, the implication and meaning of his intention to treat. Chen must confront just how far he would go to save a life.

Join us for Incite all season, in-person or online! This readings series offers conversations with celebrated authors and emerging talents every two weeks from January to June. Incite is free and open to all

Participants and Speakers

Vincent Lam

VINCENT LAM’s first book, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was adapted for television and broadcast on HBO Canada. The Headmaster’s Wager, Dr. Lam’s first novel, was shortlisted for the 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award and the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Dr. Lam is also the co-author of The Flu Pandemic and You, a non-fiction guide to influenza pandemics, which received a Special Recognition Award by the American Medical Writers’ Association in 2007. He served as executive editor and co-author of the textbook, Opioid Agonist Therapy: A Prescriber’s Guide to Treatment, published in 2022. Dr. Lam is an emergency physician and addictions physician who lives in Toronto. He is the medical director of the Coderix Medical Clinic.

Daniel Kalla

DANIEL KALLA is an internationally bestselling author of many novels, including The Darkness in the Light, Lost Immunity, The Last High, and We All Fall Down. His new book, Fit to Die, is set to release spring 2023. Kalla practices emergency medicine in Vancouver, British Columbia.