Ivan Vladislavić presents "The Distance," with Peter Godwin

October 15, 2020, 6:30 PM

Ivan Vladislavić joins us to present his novel The Distance, in conversation with Peter Godwin. This program will take place on Zoom. Register here:

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In his youth in 1970s suburban Pretoria, Joe falls in love with Muhammad Ali. He diligently scrapbooks newspaper clippings of his his hero, recording the showman’s words and taking in his inimitable brand of resistance. Forty years later, digging out his yellowed archive of Ali clippings and comic books, Joe sets out to write a memoir of his childhood. Calling upon his brother Branko for help, their two voices interweave to unearth a shared past. Reconstructing a world of bioscopes, Formica tabletops, Ovaltine, and drop-offs in their father’s Ford Zephyr, conjuring the textures of childhood, what emerges is a collision of memories, patching the gulf between past and present. Meaning arises in the gaps between fact and imagination, and words themselves become markers of the past and the turbulent present. In this formally inventive, fragmented novel, Vladislavić evokes the beauty, and the strangeness, of remembering and forgetting, and explores what it means to be at odds with one’s surroundings.

Ivan Vladislavić is a novelist, essayist, and editor. He lives in Johannesburg, where he is a Distinguished Professor in Creative Writing at the University of the Witwatersrand. His books include The FollyThe Exploded ViewThe Restless Supermarket, Portrait with Keys, and Double Negative. Among his recent publications are Flashback Hotel, a compendium of early stories, and The Loss Library. His work has won several prizes, including the University of Johannesburg Prize, the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction. In 2015, he was awarded Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Peter Godwin studied law and international relations at Cambridge and Oxford. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa and Eastern Europe for The Sunday Times (London) and BBC TV. He now lives in Manhattan and contributes regularly to National GeographicNew York Times magazine, and BBC Radio. In addition to Mukiwa and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, Godwin is the coauthor of Rhodesians Never DieThe Three of Us, and Wild at Heart—Man and Beast in Southern Africa.