Podcast | Matti Friedman & Rita Leistner


Author Matti Friedman joins photographer Rita Leistner at the Two Penny Cafe at Artscape Youngplace to discuss their interdisciplinary & socially engaged approaches to conflict journalism. Moderated by the Koffler's producer of public & literary programs, Mary Anderson.

Photos by Mary Anderson.

MATTI FRIEDMAN | Matti's 2016 book Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story of a Forgotten War was chosen as a New York Times’ Notable Book & as one of Amazon’s 10 best books of the year. Pumpkinflowers was selected as one of the year’s best by Booklist, Mother Jones, Foreign Affairs, the National Post & the Globe and Mail. It was shortlisted for the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize, the Writer’s Trust Prize (Canada) & the Yitzkak Sadeh Prize for military writing (Israel). Pumpkinflowers was also a winner of the 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature. This year’s jury stated the following: "Matti Friedman’s powerful writing raises this work of history and journalism to the level of art." Read an excerpt from Pumpkinflowers.

RITA LEISTNER | Rita studied photography at the International Center of Photography in New York & has a Master of Arts degree in comparative literature in French & English from the University of Toronto (1990), where from 2010-2016 she taught the history of photojournalism & documentary photography. She is an author & co-author of several books & her photographs have been exhibited & published internationally. She has won three Canadian National Magazine Awards Gold Medals & was a 2017 finalist for the prestigious Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography at Harvard. In 2017, the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa acquired fifteen years of Rita Leistner’s work from Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine & Afghanistan—among the largest additions to the collection by any photographer & the largest by a female photographer. Most recently, she has been “embedded” with tree planters in the remote & rugged Canadian wilderness in the planting camps of Coast Range Contracting, owned by her friend Garth Hadley, who Leistner planted trees with in Ontario, Alberta & British Columbia over 25 years ago. View Rita's 2017 exhibition, The Tree Planters