Nino Ricci On "Sleep" at North York Central Library
On October 7, North York Central Library welcomed Nino Ricci, two-time winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction, as part of The eh List Author Series.
In addition to numerous literary awards, Nino Ricci has served as writer-in-residence for the Toronto and Kitchener public library systems and has held the Pathy Visiting Professorship in Canadian Studies at Princeton. He is also a past president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN, a writers' human rights organization that works for freedom of expression.
Audience members included those familiar with Nino Ricci's books, including the Lives of the Saints trilogy, which was adapted for a television miniseries starring Sophia Loren. Other audience members were just discovering Nino Ricci and his award-winning writing, and all listened with fascination as the author talked about and read from Sleep, his first novel in seven years.
In Sleep, David Pace is a man who seems to have it all - an academic career, a beautiful and smart wife, a young son and a lovely home. But when David comes down with a rare sleep disorder, his apparently perfect life begins to unravel. His disorder plunges him towards the very extremes of human behaviour.
As reviewed in the National Post, "Sleep...is one of Ricci's most deeply felt novels...and one of his riskiest."
During his talk, Nino Ricci said that people wonder if Sleep is autobiographical, since the author himself has been diagnosed with narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. As a result of his diagnosis, Nino Ricci was drawn to the world of sleep clinics, and said, "out of this process this character (David Pace) came to me." Nino Ricci also said that David Pace is, "someone who puts himself in extreme situations to feel alive."
The audience enjoyed the evening, and thought that Nino Ricci was a brilliant author, as well as a charming, humorous and engaging speaker. Many stayed to have an opportunity to have their books signed by him and have a chat.
Clockwise from top left: Audience members Nino, Mary, Faith and Sheila, all
with Nino Ricci.