Welcome to the first installment of Between Us, a conversation series by, for, and between immigrant/first-gen Canadian writers. We’re featuring writers who move back and forth across the hyphen, straddling old country and new, negotiating ideas of home-place, belonging, and identity. Writers who create within and beyond the categories of “Canadian literature” and “Canadian immigrant literature.”
Waiting for Stalin to Die by Irene Guilford is a touching and thoughtful novel about post-war immigrants from Lithuania living and settling in Toronto from 1949 to 1953. Irene Guilford is a Canadian author whose work has been shortlisted for both the CBC Literary Competition and the Event Creative Non-Fiction Contest. She is also the author of The Embrace, another novel concerning the Lithuanian experience of exile and immigration. Waiting for Stalin to Die is Guilford’s second fiction novel.
Interview by Hilary Leung. In her debut novel, Saints and Misfits, S.K Ali offers a poignant coming of age narrative that explores, with nuance and tenderness, the identity of Janna Yusuf as she navigates a world that is divided...
Jen Sookfong Lee’s new book, Gentlemen of the Shade: My Own Private Idaho, is part film analysis and part cultural commentary, with glimpses of memoir. The book focuses primarily on My Own Private Idaho, Gus Van Sant’s 1991 film about two drifters—but there are asides that delve into 90s pop culture in general, with mentions of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana’s Nevermind album. My 90s memories returned to me through my reading of this short, precise analysis of 90s art and culture—a period when “our connection to beauty [was] universal, as [was] our search for identity.”
Get to Know is an interview series dedicated to introducing you to our favourite writers and contributors by way of a range of questions that touch on quotidian details, public spaces, risk-taking, and advice for emerging artists.
This week it’s our pleasure to introduce you to our summer cover photographer Yumna Al-Arashi, a Muslim American who was raised in Washington, DC, and holds a degree in International Politics with a focus on the Middle East. Al-Arashi’s work often focuses on the self-expression and strength of women—from North African matriarchs with face tattoos to nude women in a Beirut bathhouse. This October, her work will be projected onto the International Center of Photography Museum’s windows as part of “Projected,” a series that focuses on photographers “exploring empowerment, catalyzing social change, and giving voice to the unheard.” Scroll down for morning routine inspiration and some stellar music recommendations from this visionary artist.
Interview by Jennifer Amos. Photo by Zahra Siddiqui. Makeup by Charm.
Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer woman of colour, radical mother, activist, theatre practitioner, and writer. She is also the Artistic Director of b current performing arts. Her plays include The Femme Playlist, a one-woman show; Singkil; Eating with Lola (first developed by fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre); Kilt Pins; and Future Folk, which was collectively written by the Sulong Theatre Collective. She is the author of the children’s book M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book and her plays Kilt Pins and Singkil were published by Playwrights Canada Press.
Last October, my friend David Alexander (Modern Warfare, Anstruther Press, 2016) and I went to an Anstruther Press and Baseline Press chapbook launch to see a few poets we knew. When I heard Aidan Chafe read from his debut chapbook, Sharpest Tooth (Anstruther Press, 2016), I immediately wanted to buy his collection. I was drawn by Chafe’s strong imagery and measured, almost laconic consideration of the destructive ferocity and violence of the natural and human worlds.
When I saw that Chafe had released a second chapbook, Right Hand Hymns (Frog Hollow Press, 2017), I was eager to read his new work. The theme of violence continues in this collection, but instead of exploring this theme in poems about hunting, woods, and wolves, Right Hand Hymns evokes a similar wildness and chaos in poems about family, religion, and mental health.
Prompt #13: Endings As writers, we think a lot about endings. In stories, there are good endings and bad endings, true endings, and endings that feel forced or contrived. But in real life, endings are not always straight forward:...