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Deni Béchard, Author of Empty Hands, Open Arms

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Wed., Nov. 13, 2013 | 7 – 8:30 pm
$5 for the general public; free for Burke members

About Empty Hands, Open Arms:

When acclaimed author Deni Béchard first learned of the last living bonobos—matriarchal great apes that are, alongside the chimpanzee, our closest relatives in the animal kingdom—he was astonished. How could the world possibly accept the extinction of this majestic species, along with the rainforest they call home?

As he looked more closely, Béchard discovered that in fact one relatively small NGO, the Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI), has done more to save bonobos and their natural habitat than a number of far larger organizations. Based on the author’s extensive travels in the Congo and Rwanda, and hundreds of hours of interviews with conservationists all over the world, this book explores how BCI has been so successful, offering in the process a powerful, truly postcolonial model of conservation.

About Deni Bechard:

DENI BÉCHARD’S first novel, Vandal Love, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. He has been a fellow at MacDowell, Jentel, the Edward Albee Foundation, Ledig House, the Anderson Center, and Vermont Studio Center, among others. His articles, stories, and translations have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers, among them the National Post, Maisonneuve, Le Devoir, the Harvard Review, and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. He has done freelance reporting from Northern Iraq as well as from Afghanistan, and he has lived in over thirty countries. When not traveling, he divides his time between Cambridge and Montréal.