Name ID 644
2004 Publishes: Vassanji, M.G. The In-Between World of Vikram Lall
Internet Web Pages
Extract Date: 23 Feb 2006
The In-Between World of M.G. Vassanji follows the author through the landscapes which have inspired many of his works; from the ancient graveyards of Arusha and other colonial outposts (the inspiration for The Book of Secrets, which won Vassanji his first Giller);
Internet Web Pages
Extract Date: 23 Feb 2006
While documentary filmmaker Robin Benger was watching the 2003 Giller Prize broadcast of M.G. Vassanji winning his second award, this time for The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, he was intrigued by three things: how unassuming the writer seemed to be; the fact that Vassanji, like Benger, was from Africa, and wrote about it; and that Vassanji was the Canadian contribution to the constellation of star writers of Asian background in international literature. Three years and three continents later, comes The In-Between World of M.G. Vassanji, an one-hour documentary, written and directed by Benger, that takes a look at the places, people and experiences that have lead to the success of this little-known author. Produced by Cogent/Benger Productions in association with Bravo!, the documentary has its world television premiere on Bravo! March 9 at 8pm ET/5pm PT.
"Canadian writers have exploded onto the international literary circuit, and yet the broader Canadian public doesn't know much about them. Our hockey players are better known," says Benger. "I think television in Canada has an opportunity to further increase the understanding of these writers and their imaginations to a wider public."
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Vassanji grew up impoverished and fatherless in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. He studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned a PhD in nuclear physics from the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Canada. Common themes in Vassanji's novels deal with East African Indians, their migration overseas, and the idea of immigrant identity - a topic Vassanji struggles with himself. Today, he is a celebrated author, awarded Canada's highest honour, the Order of Canada, along with some of Canada's top literary prizes, which include winning the Giller Prize not once - but twice.
The In-Between World of M.G. Vassanji follows the author through the landscapes which have inspired many of his works; from the ancient graveyards of Arusha and other colonial outposts (the inspiration for The Book of Secrets, which won Vassanji his first Giller); to Nairobi and the murky world of Asian-African corruption (the inspiration for The In-Between World of Vikram Lall); to the Don Valley "immigrant apartment towers" in Toronto (the landscape for No New Land); to the northern solitude of Deep River, Ontario (which acted as inspiration for Passages). The documentary also goes into the back rooms of Canadian publishing and, for the first time, reveals stories of fierce competition over Vassanji's works; highlighted in a rare interview with Ellen Seligman, the legendary editor of Vassanji, Atwood and Ondaatje.
Robin Benger is an award-winning producer/director/writer/narrator of television documentaries. Born in England and raised in South Africa, Benger has been working in Canadian journalism and documentary filmmaking since 1976.
The In-Between World of M.G. Vassanji was produced in association with Bravo!, The Knowledge Network, Canadian Learning Television, with the financial participation of Rogers Cable Network Fund and the Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund; and with the participation of the Canadian Television Fund created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cable Industry, CTF: License Fee Program, Telefilm Canada: Equity Investment Program and The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program.
Bravo!, a division of CHUM Television, is dedicated to entertaining, stimulating and enlightening viewers who have a taste for a more complex television (www.bravo.ca). A proud supporter of the Canadian independent production community, Bravo! funds approximately 100 hours of independently produced documentaries and performing arts specials a year. Bravo! has been a major contributor to such productions as Godiva's, Murder 19C: Detective Murdoch Mysteries, Strip Search, Freedom and Drawing Out the Demons: A Film About the Artist Attila Richard Lukacs.