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Wednesday February 21, 2024

Online Event

7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET (online)

EMWF Book Club: The Double Life of Benson Yu

Join us for the second event in our Winter Book Club series featuring Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Kevin Chong in conversation with host Steven W. Beattie.

Funded by the Government of Ontario

This recording will be available until March 18

The Double Life of Benson Yu
By Kevin Chong
Published by Atria Books (Simon & Schuster Canada)

Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

“A nuanced, complex, and highly original novel.” —Charles Yu, National Book Award–winning author of Interior Chinatown

A fresh, unique work of metafiction that follows a graphic novelist who loses control of his own narrative when he attempts to write the story of his fraught upbringing in 1980s Chinatown.

In a Chinatown housing project lives twelve-year-old Benny, his ailing grandmother, and his strange neighbor Constantine, a man who believes he’s a reincarnated medieval samurai. When his grandmother is hospitalized, Benny manages to survive on his own until a social worker comes snooping. With no other family, he is reluctantly taken in by Constantine and soon, an unlikely bond forms between the two.

At least, that’s what Yu, the narrator of the story, wants to write.

The creator of a bestselling comic book, Yu is struggling with continuing the poignant tale of Benny and can’t help but interject from the present day, slowly revealing a darker backstory. Can Yu confront the demons he’s spent his adult life avoiding or risk his own life…and Benny’s?

“Instructive as it is inspiring, The Double Life of Benson Yu is a phenomenal example of a writer taking real risks in order to reveal and reckon with deep-rooted, tormenting truths as a means of moving forward. Kevin Chong has crafted a novel that will get your heart pumping, mind jumping, and, best of all, fingers turning”(Mateo Askaripour, New York Times bestselling author).


Kevin Chong is the award-winning author of several books of fiction and nonfiction. His work has appeared in The GuardianThe Rumpus, and more. He currently lives in Vancouver and is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus. The Double Life of Benson Yu was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

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