VCU Cabell First Novelist Award

VCU Cabell First Novelist Award Night

7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015
W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts
922 Park Avenue, Richmond, VA 23284

Boris Fishman, winner of the 2015 VCU Cabell First Novelist Award for A Replacement Life, reads from his book and is then joined by his agent for a discussion of the evolution of the book from original idea to first draft to published work. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event will be followed by a public reception and book sale and signing.

The event is free and open to the public, but please register.

Register Now

Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad Street, West Main Street, and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations are needed, or to register offline, please call Gregory Kimbrell, VCU Libraries events and programs coordinator, at (804) 828-0593 prior to November 6.

About the Book

Slava Gelman is a young Jewish-American magazine editor living in Brooklyn. When his grandmother—a Holocaust survivor—dies at the same time a letter arrives from the German government offering restitution, he is asked by his grandfather to take her story and forge an application on his behalf. Reluctantly, Slava agrees, and before long it seems that the entire Jewish community is at his door in search of similar services. As his clientele grows, it soon becomes clear that the only life Slava has trouble amending is his own.

A Replacement Life is the subject of wide critical acclaim. Author Joyce Carol Oates calls it "a beautifully nuanced, tender, and often very funny novel about conscience and familial loyalty that will linger long in the memory." The Guardian's Phoebe Taplin lauds it as "an elegy for loss (of families, health, sanity) and a plea for compassion [that] raises serious questions about identity and history." Alan Cheuse of NPR says that in presenting difficult truths "with feeling, humor and eyes wide open, novelist Fishman doesn't miss a beat."

About the Author

Boris Fishman was born in Belarus and immigrated to the United States in 1988 at the age of nine. His journalism, essays, and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, the London Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New Republic, and other publications. His first novel, A Replacement Life has also won the American Library Association's Sophie Brody Medal and was one of The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2014 and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. His second novel, Don't Let My Baby Do Rodeo, about a New Jersey couple that adopts a boy from Montana who turns out to be wild, will be out from HarperCollins on March 1, 2016.