This podcast contains explicit content. Called "an astute and compassionate observer, a meticulous historian and a gifted stylist" by Adam Langer in the New York Times, David Bezmozgis emigrated from Riga, Latvia to Toronto in 1980. His debut collection Natasha, about a family who fled the Riga of Brezhnev for Toronto, the city of their dreams, was named a 2004 New York Times Notable Book and won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for First Book. In 2010, Bezmozgis was included in The New Yorker's 20 Under 40 issue, celebrating promising fiction writers. His stories have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Walrus. The Free World, his first novel, is an intimate account of three generations of the Krasnanskys, a Jewish family emigrating from Riga to Rome and eventually points further West.
Illustrator and cartoonist Leela Corman has contributed her expressionistic work to such books as The Cuddle Sutra, Sex for Busy People, The Long and Short of it, You Grow Girl, Knit-Aid and others. Her painterly spot graphics have also appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Rescue Magazine and BUST Magazine. She is the author and illustrator of the 2002 graphic novel, Subway Series, which delved into the awkward splendor of teen sex in New York. In 2003, she published a comic book, Queen’s Day, a collection of the loosely drawn stories of three girls in ephemeral landscapes. Corman studied painting, printmaking, and illustration at Massachusetts College of Art. Her years-in-the-making graphic novel, Unterzakhn (Yiddish for 'underthings'), zeroes in on two wide-eyed twin sisters at the turn of the 20th century, telling the tumultuous story of immigrant life on New York’s Lower East Side.