Despite its title, the Deep Song Reading event is not just for Northwestern’s more philosophical and pensive students, nor is it likely that students will participate in any sort of musical sing-along. However, the Deep Song Reading does offer students and community members a unique opportunity to dive into literary worlds alongside the authors that created them.
One such opportunity willbe at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Town Square Coffeehouse. The free event is hosted jointly by NW’s English department and Dordt College’s Andreas Center. Canadian novelist and international bestseller Randy Boyagoda will share with the audience an excerpt from his upcoming novel, “Original Prin,” followed by a question and answer session.
Boyagoda’s earlier works include two novels, “Governor of Northern Province” and “Beggar’s Feast,” as well as the 2015 biography “Richard John Neuhaus: Life in the Public Square.” These works have collectively earned Boyagoda significant recognition, from being the ScotiaBank Giller Prize finalist for “Governor of Northern Province” to earning The New York Times Editor’s Choice and 2012 IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize nomination for “Beggar’s Feast.”
Discussing Boyadoga’s literary style, NW English professor and organizer of the series Samuel Martin shared that behind these acclaims lies Boyagoda’s intriguing and multifaceted perspective.
“Randy is a unique breed of writer who is also an academic,” Martin said.
As an open Roman Catholic, novelist and professor, Boyagoda is “situated between the secular academy and the religious world.”
At the Deep Song Reading event, a portion of this unique perspective will shine through in Boyagoda’s “Original Prin,” which follows the intertwining stories of a Catholic professor in the Middle East and a Muslim man from Boston.
The choice of Boyagoda as this year’s Deep Song Reading guest fits in well with the purpose of the series to expose students to writers with a variety of styles and experience levels which shape their work. Senior English teaching major Mallory Bjork attended one of the events last year and had nothing but praise for the biannual event.
“Deep Song is a time for people from campus and the community to experience literary art from familiar faces and to also be introduced to new artists,” Bjork said. “I loved attending Deep Song, and I definitely recommend it to other students.”
The series was started with English majors like Bjork in mind, but Martin stresses that all are welcome to the event: “Receive a compelling invitation to a literary world that is different than your own and take advantage of it. Don’t just let it pass by.”
For students who are especially invested in a certain type of literary work or author, Martin encourages them to share their ideas with him so he can look into the possibility of bringing a suggested author to campus.