David Bergen was first brought to my attention during the 2005 Scotia Bank Giller Prize award for best fiction which he ultimately won (and now he is nominated again this year).
The Giller was not the first writing award he won. All of his novels have been widely praised. He has five novels published. The Giller winning novel is The Time In Between (2005), a story about a family struggling with the effects of war decades later. A brother and sister travel from B.C.’s Fraser Valley to Vietnam in search of their father who’s travelled his own journey to answer to his past. It’s a wonderful story of family, culture and the conflict of past and present.
This year’s nominated novel The Retreat is in the running. It tells the love story between a young white girl and a native boy “during the summer of the Ojibway occupation of Anicinabe Park in Kenora,” Ontario. It has been described as both astonishing and heartbreaking.
The Case of Lena S. (2002) was a Governor General Award finalist. A Year of Lesser (1996) was a New York Times Notable Book. He’s written a collection of shorts under the title of Sitting Opposite My Brother (1993).
Bergen grew up in a small Mennonite community in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Prior to working as writer he was a teacher. He still teaches creative writing as such prestigious institutions as Humber College in Toronto.
This piece was originally posted on 9/18/2008 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.