Arts

Author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z set to make appearance in Ottawa

Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

It must be nice to live your life surrounded by zombies — at least, for Max Brooks, it is.

The author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z will make an appearance in Ottawa to talk about his dealings with the undead and a variety of other topics on March 5.

Organizers from the U of O’s Science Students’ Association (SSA) are hoping to host the guest speaking event at the Mayfair Theatre, according to the group’s vp social Alexandre Giroux. The historical theatre at Bank Street and Sunnyside Avenue is known for its proclivity for horror — led by its programming director Lee Demarbre, himself a cult filmmaker — and its background and atmosphere would be well-suited to the event, he said.

The son of filmmaker Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft, Max Brooks was born in New York City and went on to attend several post-secondary schools throughout the United States. After dropping out of the history program at Pitzer College in California and spending a semester at the University of the Virgin Islands, he graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1994.

Brooks was a writer at Saturday Night Live from 2001 until 2003, when he published his first book, The Zombie Survival Guide. His second book, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, was published in 2006 and adapted to film in 2013. The movie starred Brad Pitt and was directed by Marc Forster.

In an article published in the New York Times last June, Brooks said there’s no such thing as zombies, obviously. But fictional worlds like the ones he’s created may, in a strange way, make it easier for people to cope.

“Since 2001, people have been scared,” he told reporter Taffy Brodesser-Akner. “There’s been some really scary stuff that’s been happening — 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, anthrax letters, D.C. sniper, global warming, global financial meltdown, bird flu, swine flu, SARS. I think people really feel like the system’s breaking down.”

He continued, “If all that happens because of a zombie plague, then you can say, ‘Oh, well, that would never happen, because there’s no zombies.’”

Last year, the SSA brought childhood icon Bill Nye (the Science Guy) to the Ottawa Convention Centre, where more than  4,500 people attended the sold-out event.

The SSA will announce full details about this year’s event, along with ticket information, on Jan. 29.