Bezmozgis (left) and Mark Rendall (right), January 19, 2009
June 2, 1973
David Bezmozgis (born 1973) is a Canadian writer and filmmaker.
Life and career
Born in Riga, Latvia, he came to Canada with his family when he was six. He graduated with a B.A. in English literature from McGill University. Bezmozgis received an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. In 1999, his first documentary, a 25-minute film called L.A. Mohel, won a major award for student filmmakers.
His story "Natasha," which originally appeared in Harper's, was included in the Best American Short Stories 2005 collection; his story "New Gravestone for an Old Grave," which originally appeared in Zoetrope, was included in the 2006 Best American Stories collection.
Bezmozgis is a 2010 New York Public Library Cullman Center Fellow, where he will be working on The Betrayers, a novel about a famous Russian Jewish dissident who, after the fall of the Soviet Union, meets the man who denounced him.
Bezmozgis's first novel The Free World was published in 2011. Set in Italy in 1978, Bezmozgis's novel chronicles the experience of Jewish refugees from the USSR. Critics in North America and in Europe have suggested that in this novel Berzmozgis presented through a fictional lens what another Jewish-Soviet immigrant Maxim D. Shrayer had described in his book "Waiting for America" (2007). It was subsequently nominated for the Giller Prize, the Governor General's Literary Award for English-language fiction and the Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
Bezmozgis is among The New Yorker magazine's 2010 top 20 fiction writers under the age of 40. The story "The Train of Their Departure," which the magazine featured in August 2010, is an excerpt from his first novel The Free World, released on April 4, 2011, to wide acclaim. The novel was subsequently shortlisted for the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize  and for the Governor General's Awards.
- Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction (2004)
- Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction, Koffler Centre of the Arts (2005)
- Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award (UK) (2004)
- Shortlisted for the Governor General's Awards for Literature (2004)
- Shortlisted for the Borders Original Voices Award (2004)
- Winner of the Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction (2004)
- Winner of the Commonwealth First Book Prize for Caribbean/Canada (2004)
- Winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best first collection of short fiction in the English language (2005)
- Finalist for the National Magazine Awards for fiction (2005)
- Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (2005)
- Winner of the City of Toronto Book Award (2005)
- Winner of the JQ Wingate Prize 2005 Fiction, Natasha and Other Stories
- Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize (2011), The Free World
- Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize (2014), The Betrayers
Work available online
- Tapka from The New Yorker
- The Russian Riviera from The New Yorker
- The Second Strongest Man from Zoetrope All-Story
- A New Gravestone for an Old Grave from Zoetrope All-Story
- The Train of Their Departure from The New Yorker
Work about Bezmozgis available online
As writer and director
|2008||Victoria Day||Writer and Director.||A Markham Street Film Production.|
- Official website
- Online interview from CBC Words at Large
- Interview from INTHEFRAY Magazine
- Interview with Georgetown University's Program for Jewish Civilization