Business and criminology instructor shares his new dystopian novel at KPU Reads

Thu, Jan 11, 2018

The U.S. government is lying to its populace. Fantasy or nonfiction?

Criminology and business instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and award-winning author, Dr. Ari Goelman, recently published yet another thought-provoking novel, this time set in a near future where the current skirmishes over fake news have turned into a full-on war.

The Innocence Treatment tells the story of Lauren, a teenager with a cognitive disorder that causes her to believe everything she is told, and that everyone is her friend. After corrective surgery, she is deeply changed.  She finds herself wrestling with paranoid delusions that may not be delusions.

“I'm thrilled to have The Innocence Treatment published now,” said Goelman. “It’s set in a United States where the government may or may not be lying to the populace, a world where nobody is sure what's true, set against a backdrop of climate change. So basically I'm grateful to have it come out before reality totally overtakes fiction.”

Goelman will be reading from the young adult novel on Jan. 22 at the next installment of KPU Reads, a Faculty of Arts initiative that brings students, faculty and the community together in discussion around one book.

KPU Reads kicks off with a meet and greet with the author, a short reading, light refreshments and a chance to win a copy of the novel. A second reading of the book will take place in late March.

Written as a series of journal entries and therapy transcripts, Goelman’s inspiration for the book was a radio story he heard about a young woman with a cognitive disability which required her to be accompanied everywhere to prevent anyone from taking advantage of her.

Along with writing fiction, Goelman teaches quantitative methods, including ways in which to differentiate between truth and lies when dealing with statistics and other ways of knowing about the world in KPU’s Faculty of Arts and School of Business. 

“With a protagonist just a year or two younger than many first year students, I hope our [KPU] students can connect with the main characters in the book,” said Goelman. “I'm also hopeful that my book will serve as a way to get faculty and students talking about things like the current political moment, climate change, and fundamentally, how do we as humans make sense of the world around us?”

Goelman is the award-winning author of novels for children and young adults. His debut novel, The Path of Names won the Chocolate Lily Award (2014) and was shortlisted for the YA Sunburst Award (2014), the B.C. Book Prize Award (2014) and the Diamond Willow Award (2014).

“KPU Reads is about bringing the community together,” said Faculty of Arts Dean Dr. Diane Purvey. “We’re proud to select a novel that is not only written by a recognized and celebrated author, but he is also one of our outstanding instructors. We’re very lucky to have Ari at KPU.” 

KPU READS The Innocence Treatment
WHEN: Jan. 22, 2018, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: KPU, Surrey Campus, Coast Capital Savings Library, 1st floor, SW corner
INFO: The event is free and open to the public. To register and learn more, visit

Story by Tatiana Tomljanovic