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VCU Cabell First Novelist Award Night



W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall
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. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad StreetWest Main Street, and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations are needed, or to register offline, please call Gregory Kimbrell, membership and events coordinator, at (804) 828-0593 prior to Nov. 6.


Registration is now closed.


This event is sponsored by the VCU Department of English, the James Branch Cabell Library Associates, the Friends of VCU Libraries, the VCU Honors College, Barnes & Noble @ VCU Bookstore and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences.

About the Award

To read more about the award, see the VCU Cabell First Novelist Website.

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.

Image: Boris Fishman/A Replacement Life book cover


VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

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