September 19, 2020

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Bergen to chat virtually with Free Press book club

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files</p><p>David Bergen’s latest book sees the Winnipeg author return to short fiction.</p>


David Bergen’s latest book sees the Winnipeg author return to short fiction.

The Winnipeg Free Press Book Club, in partnership with McNally Robinson Booksellers, is pleased to announce that August’s featured book is Here the Dark, a collection of short stories and a novella by Giller Prize-winning Winnipeg author David Bergen.

Bergen has earned his reputation as a powerhouse in Canadian literature in large part thanks to his novels. In 2018 Bergen was presented with the Writers’ Trust of Canada Matt Cohen Award in honour of a distinguished lifetime contribution to Canadian literature which has included novels such as 2002’s The Case of Lena S., 2005’s Giller Prize-winning The Time In Between, 2008’s The Retreat and his most recent novel, 2016’s Stranger.

But Bergen’s first foray into fiction was with his short-story collection Sitting Opposite My Brother, a genre he has triumphantly returned to with the stunning new stories in Here the Dark, published in March 2020 by Biblioasis. "In a way I guess it’s like coming full circle," he told the Free Press at the time of Here the Dark’s release. "For me, learning how to write a short story was a good way of testing the waters. Can I write a 20-page story? Will someone actually read it? Will someone accept it for publication? It was a way of finding my way into writing itself."

The stories in Here the Dark date back to the late 1990s, with many characters grappling with matters of faith and doubt, some underlying hopelessness and, in more than one instance, violence. The most recent piece in Here the Dark is the titular novella, which tells the story of Lily, a teenage girl who comes of age in a religious rural community, struggling with her doubt in the faith, her marriage and her stifling community relative to the outside world.

"In some ways it parallels how I moved through life and growing up in a fairly religious home, and finding books, and university and education and realizing there’s a whole world out there to explore, and to ask questions," said Bergen.

David Bergen will read from and discuss Here the Dark with Free Press books editor Ben Sigurdson on Monday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. via livestream. Copies of Here the Dark are available at McNally Robinson Booksellers. For more information, see


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