north of 9/11North of 9/11

a novel

by David Bernans

256 pages

8.5" x 5.5" - paperback

isbn 0-9733499-6-4

isbn13 978-0-9733499-6-2





As the planes hit the World Trade Center on September 11, defenses instinctively went up—and not just in the United States. Canadians were gripped by irrational fear tainted with anti-arab racist undertones.

North of 9/11's fictional plot meets in many places with real (and often surreal) historical events that underlie the psychology of social panic and hysteria that is integral to the war on terror. Newspapers report beatings, targeted vandalism, and bigoted rants aimed at dark-skinned men with beards, women wearing hijabs, and students named Mohammed.

Sarah Murphy, a political activist and first year Women’s Studies Major at Concordia University in Montréal, is determined to do something to stem the rising tide of war mania emanating from the United States, and racist hysteria affecting her friends Hassan, Hakim, and Sayed. An opportunity presents itself when Sarah overhears a conversation between Jack Murphy, a senior public relations consultant who happens to be her father, and the executive of a Montréal-based aerospace manufacturer involved in military production for the US Pentagon.

Sarah and her friends plan a non-violent direct action to draw attention to Canada’s participation in US war efforts. In the post-9/11 backlash, anti-war activists, Arabs and Muslims have all become suspected enemy combatants in the war on terror. Activists are questioned by the RCMP, phones are tapped, movements are shadowed. The RCMP closes in on the presumed sleeper cell while bombs fall on Afghanistan. The sudden end of their occupation has astounding repercussions on each of the story's characters.

david bernansDavid Bernans received his PhD in Political Science from York University in 1998. The Gazette has referred to Bernans as a “political gadfly” for his high profile efforts at holding Prime Minister Paul Martin to account for the cuts to health, education and social spending he made as Finance Minister. A documentary film was made about Bernans’ shadowing of Paul Martin called Waiting for Martin. He has published numerous articles in Le Devoir,, The Parkland Post, Alternatives, the Gazette, and elsewhere. Bernans grew up in London, Ontario and now divides his time between St-Pacôme and Montréal, where he works as a researcher, archivist, and translator while studying for a graduate diploma in Concordia’s Études françaises Department. On December 27, 2001, he and his partner, Anne-Frédérique Provencher, became the proud parents of son, Sasha.

press releases: may 8, 06; may 18, 06; june 20, 06; aug 29, 06; sept 04, 06;

In The Media



reviews - press releases

read chapter 2 (.pdf 992 kb)

listen to radio interview at Radio4all on Redeye - Co-op Radio, Vancouver. Watch north of 9/11 video at sept. 11 guerilla reading at Concordia University.

Many came to Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore on Sept. 11 to listen to North of 9/11 author, David Bernans, discuss Concordia's 9/11 Cover-up where he exposed the university's Secret Risk Assessment Committee in reading of Curious George Meets the Concordia University Risk Assessment Committee.


University Risk Management Committee Revokes Approval for September 11 (5th anniversary) Reading of North of 9/11.

Read more about Concordia's censorship

Concordia University has officially blocked as a security risk a scheduled Fall reading by novelist David Bernans, author of North of 9/11. In so doing, the University, already an embarrassment of academic servility, has dramatized both the power of art and its own fear of that power. Another proud victory of art over authority. Bravo Bernans!
David F. Noble, professor, York University

"Sept. 11, 2006 - RETROSPECTIVE: Troubling Directions North of 9/11" with David Bernans

  • Bernans' GUERRILLA READING @ Concordia Community Solidarity Co-op Bookstore took place and can be seen in video north of 9/11 by Santiago Bertolino.
Both events included readings from the novel North of 9/11, musical performances and critical discussions of student activism in a post-9/11 Montréal. View north of 9/11 video by Santiago Bertolino.

cumulus press

The May 17 book launch @ Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University was a smash hit. Jaggi Singh ( audio) & Yves Engler, two activists banned from Concordia, spoke from the sidewalk in front of the Institute. Two security guards made their presence known outide the well-attended event. Lillian Robinson ( video 1+2), Principal of the SdeB Institute, also said a few words about the book. Watch David read and play guitar (north of 9/11 video) at launch courtesy of Spectraversa.

North of 9/11 is about: US draft-dodging, the bombing of Afghanistan, dark-skinned men with beards, social panic and hysteria, politics at Concordia University in Montréal, conservatism versus radicalism, military production for the US Pentagon, the Pinochet coup in Chile, anti-war activists, post-9/11 anti-arab backlash, censorship, failed risk assessments, and a whole lot more ...


"North of 9/11 is a book about war, racisim, and hysteria -- and the people who fight against them... By bringing characters, people and movements to life, David Bernans has given readers an opportunity to understand why so many choose a life of struggle over a life of ease." — Macdonald Stainsby, The Dominion June 5, 2006

North of 9/11 is political science at its best. Centred at Concordia University in Montréal during the tumultuous months following 9/11, this historical novel lays bare Canada’s complicity in the American-led war on terror and related state-sponsored repression of dissent. With its focus on a small group of pro-Palestinian activists and their Zionist antagonists, the novel brings to life the realities and subtleties of politics in our times. Bernans’ poignant description of the relationship between a conservative father and his radical daughter is reminiscent of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral.
David Noble, historian & author of Beyond the Promised Land

If the film United 93 offends some Americans with its depiction of a 9/11 hijacking, David Bernans’s novel, North of 9/11, will have many fuming over his biting portrayal of racism and vengeance in the wake of the tragic September 11 attacks. The story takes place in the very real context of Montréal between September 11 and October 9, 2001, when the bombing of Afghanistan begins. Protagonists are Palestinian solidarity activists at Concordia University (known as “Gaza U”), who publicly question the approaching military engagement in Afghanistan.
Z Magazine

The Gazette was correct when it labeled David Bernans a "political gadfly" and this political novel, set in Montréal the weeks immediately following 9/11, demonstrates just that. Filled with tons of factual information, it exposes the post 9/11 racist war hysteria and reactionary attempts by the state to silence all voices of dissent. The raw human emotions from both sides of the political spectrum in response to 9/11 are laid bare and set in proper context. Resist the temptation to flip to the end of the book for the surprise ending. B'nai Brith, The Gazette, Concordia University, Montréal's aerospace industry and the chorus of right wing commentators dominating the mainstream media will hate this book, but those who are looking for a politically engaging and highly readable
novel will love it.
Yahya Abdul Rahman - Editor, Montreal Muslim News

An engaging book which will surely challenge your preconceived ideas about people and their motives in this post-9/11 world.Sabine Friesinger, Siafu Magazine

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