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M.G. Vassanji and John Keegan on Writers and Company

The Story

He never wore a uniform for any armed force, but John Keegan knows a lot about war, having made a career of writing about conflict stretching back to earliest recorded history. In conversation with Eleanor Wachtel of CBC Radio's Writers and Company, Keegan doesn't just dwell on past wars. Many more recent and ongoing conflicts, he says, are only happening because of the easy availability of cheap weapons.

In a second conversation in this episode, Wachtel talks with M.G. Vassanji, who has just won the inaugural Giller Prize for his novel The Book of Secrets. Born to Indian parents in Kenya, Vassanji came to the United States in 1978 to study physics, then moved to Canada to work at the Chalk River nuclear facility. During their talk, Vassanji ponders his novel's theme of the search for home.

Medium: Radio
Program: Writers & Company
Broadcast Date: Nov. 20, 1994
Guests: John Keegan, M.G. Vassanji
Host: Eleanor Wachtel
Duration: 31:20
This clip was edited for copyright reasons. Photo: CP PHOTO/Aaron Harris

Did You know?

• M.G. Vassanji won the first ever Giller Prize for The Book of Secrets in 1994.
• John Keegan expanded on his view about the pointlessness of the First World War in his 1999 book The First World War. According to Keegan, it was "a tragic and unnecessary conflict'' that ''ended the lives of 10 million human beings [and] tortured the emotional lives of millions more."


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