Live From the Gillers 2012: Rick Mercer introduces Will Ferguson’s 419

In introducing Will Ferguson and his shortlisted book 419, Canadian comedian and satirist Rick Mercer recounts the internet scam at the core of the novel and the book’s central question, “Would you die for your child?”

In his author video Ferguson shares advice he got from his father to “Figure out what you love to do and try to get someone to pay you for it.” He says he’s pretty content, because he’s figured that out.

419 explores the global reach and consequences of an internet scam of the same name. When one man gets swindled and pays with his life, his daughter travels to Nigeria and tries to infiltrate the seedy underworld of Lagos to find her father’s killer.

The jury’s citation commended 419 as, “something entirely new: the Global Novel. It is a novel emotionally and physically at home in the poverty of Lagos and in the day-to-day of North America.”

ZOOMER APPEAL: Along with the its nuanced depiction of a family suffering an unexpected loss, 419 prompts discussion of whether older people are more susceptible to internet scams.