University of Toronto English professor
Novelist Randy Boyagoda is a professor of English at the University of Toronto. He is the author of three novels, including, most recently, Original Prin, and his fiction has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize, and named New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year selections. His fourth novel, Dante’s Indiana, will be published in Fall 2021. He lives in Toronto with his wife Anna and their four daughters and a Weimaraner named Virgil.
2021 Virtual Workshops:
A truth universally acknowledged: The first page matters
Great stories begin with great openings. In this workshop, you will explore the promise and peril of how to begin a work of fiction. Any one decision – of perspective, voice, location, time sequence – has a series of cascading effects on what you decide to do next. Done well, the first page invites readers into the rest of the story with balancing ratios of curiosity and committing. Looking at a series of examples — from the likes of Herman Melville, Elena Ferrante, Ian Williams, and Arundhati Roy — we will discuss your writing ambitions and plans in the context of what makes for the best possible start to the stories you want to tell.
*For Readers* Life, Death, Dante: Reading classics and ourselves
2021 is the seven hundredth anniversary of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Why has this poem captivated readers and commanded attention in so many different ways throughout its history? Answering that question begins with considering the ways in which the poem speaks to our lives in 2021. Testing that assumption, join novelist and professor Randy Boyagoda in reading, together, a canto from each of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, in search of moments of unexpected identification that can help us appreciate both the poem, and our own lives, on and beyond the page, all the more.