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AUTHOR TALK: L'accident de chasse – A True Story of Crime and Poetry

David Carlson and Landis Blair in conversation with Charlie Rizzo and Julie Sibony

  • Tuesday, April 5 at 11:00 a.m.

  • Free for members and students*

  • $10 non-members

  • On Zoom • In English

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*High school, college, or university students must bring IDs to event, or register with their .edu email addresses online, to receive free admission

Newly translated into French and winner of the prestigious Fauve D’Or at the 2021 Festival d’Agoulême!

What do an infamous Chicago criminal, an award-winning graphic novel, and reading Goethe in braille have in common? Come and find out when we welcome Matt Rizzo’s son Charlie; graphic novelists Landis Blair & David Carlson, winners of the prestigious Fauve D’Or at the 2021 Festival d’Angoulême; and Julie Sibony, translator of the best selling French version of this unbelievable true story!

David L. Carlson has been a filmmaker, musician, car salesman, experience designer and is the co-founder of Opera-Matic, a non-profit street opera company in Chicago. The Hunting Accident is his first book.

Landis Blair is the author and illustrator of The Envious Siblings: and Other Morbid Nursery Rhymes, as well as the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller From Here to Eternity and the graphic novel The Hunting Accident, which won the 2021 Fauve d’Or and the 2020 Quai des Bulles. He has published illustrations in numerous print and online periodicals including The New Yorker, the New York Times, Chicago magazine, VQR, and Medium. He lives in Chicago.

Charlie Rizzo, son of Matt Rizzo, shares his father’s true story of how he was redeemed by the perpetrator of the Crime of the Century.

Julie Sibony is a literary translator who splits her time between Paris and Arles, France. With more than sixty titles under her belt, she has translated books of many genres, including thrillers, literary fiction, and memoirs. The Hunting Accident is her first translation of a graphic novel.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

After his mother died, young Charlie Rizzo moved in with Matt, his blind, insurance-selling father in Chicago. When Charlie discovered as a teenager that his father wasn’t blinded in a hunting accident, as he’d always thought, Matt decided to come clean and reveal the real story, which involved the Chicago mafia and armed robbery. Matt told Charlie that he eventually went to prison in 1931, where, under the guidance of infamous murderer Nathan Leopold Jr. (who, with Richard Loeb in 1924, kidnapped and killed a teenage boy), he developed a love of literature. This true account of gangster Matt Rizzo includes some of his prison artifacts, as well as snippets of his writing. The comic pays homage to Dante’s Inferno and other works, showing how those allegories are still relevant. Blair’s illustrations are stark and extremely detailed, and the book design is a masterpiece, complete with a ribbon marker and the title duplicated in braille on the cover. VERDICT While some teens may skim over the more “literary” portions, others will delight in this graphic homage to Dante. Perfect for inclusion on AP or college reading lists.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL


A Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2017

“In The Hunting Accident, light comes from darkness, crime leads to redemption, and killers save lives. It’ll probably be a movie or Netflix show in a couple years, but for now, it’s a damn great comic book.” ― GQ

“The subtitle barely captures the scope of this ambitious debut graphic novel, a mix of biography, history, social commentary, literary analysis, and more…Blair’s exceptional pen-and-ink work, which mixes the tangible world with the psychological, brings all the strands together seamlessly and powerfully.” ― Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A true story epic in scope and arrestingly told.” ― Booklist, starred review

“A Chicagoan’s quest to learn the truth about his father—whose life is the subject of a new graphic novel—delves deep into the city’s criminal past, crosses paths with one of the 20th century’s most notorious murderers, and leads to unexpected redemption.” ― Chicago Magazine

“Avec « L’Accident de chasse », le duo américain David L. Carlson et Landis Blair exhume le destin véritable d’un poète oublié des prisons de Chicago.

Ce sublime album en noir et blanc conjugue les univers de Dante, d’Al Capone et de François Truffaut. Déjà Prix Ouest France/Quai des Bulles 2020 ainsi que Fauve d’or de la dernière édition du Festival d’Angoulême, ce premier roman graphique publié par Sonatine se révèle une extraordinaire manière de raconter le monde d’hier et d’aujourd’hui.” ― Elle Magazine

‘Ce roman graphique américain met en scène l’histoire vraie de Matt Rizzo, un ancien délinquant aveugle qui découvre le pouvoir de la littérature par l’intermédiaire de son célèbre compagnon de cellule. Ambitieux, érudit, passionnant.” ― Nouvel Obs

From the Author

We were sitting at breakfast in a little diner when my friend Charlie started telling me about his father, Matt Rizzo. My eggs grew cold on the plate as I listened to him tell his father’s tale of blindness, prison, the Crime of the Century and somehow, the great poets of Western Civilization. In Chicago, Leopold and Loeb are still the legendary thrill-killers that committed their heinous crime in 1924. And the Chicago mob continues to make headlines today. I wanted to know more.

Charlie and I spent about 6 months going over the details of Matt’s life. I read Matt’s writings and Leopold’s autobiography. I listened to audio recordings of Matt that Charlie had kept. I spent many hours at the Chicago History Museum and the archives at the Northwestern University Library in Evanston, IL. The Leopold Loeb story is one of the most documented murders in history.

The further I got into the material, the harder it became to think about how to tell this story. There were so many fascinating ways to dig in to the material. In the end, certain scenes and dialogs had to be imagined, based on the best available information. And while those parts of the story are a product of the imagination, I would argue as the poet John Keats did for the “truth of imagination”.

Ever since the Enlightenment, the western world has increasingly relied on ratiocination as the best (and perhaps only) way to navigate the world we live in. Arts and music are the first things cut in education budgets. Efficiency is King. And yet the imagination is as authentic as any fact we can describe. This story is an effort to revive the magic and wonder of the human experience, if only for a few hundred pages.

― David Carlson

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