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The Chat with Ahmad Danny Ramadan

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We begin The Chat in 2018 with a conversation with Ahmad Danny Ramadan, author of the stirring debut novel The Clothesline Swing (Nightwood Editions). A journey through the aftermath of the Arab Spring, The Clothesline Swing is “an enthralling tale of courage that weaves through the mountains of Syria, the valleys of Lebanon, the encircling seas of Turkey, the heat of Egypt and finally, the hope of a new home in Canada.”

Writing in Quill & Quire, Kamal Al-Solaylee says, “This debut novel from the Vancouver-based Syrian writer reads as many things—a coming-out memoir, a history lesson, a critique of authoritarianism, a narrative about sharing narratives—but above all, it’s a requiem for a dying country and people.”


Ahmad Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-born author, storyteller, and LGBTQ-refugees activist who calls Canada home. His debut novel is The Clothesline Swing. He also translated Rafi Badawi's 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think, and published two collections of short stories in Arabic. His work in activism has supported the arr …

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Stepping Stones: A Transnational Literary Journey

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey, by Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Ali Badr, is one of the most remarkable picture books you will ever encounter, not just in the goodness of the book itself, but in the incredible transnational story of its creation. To make the story even more amazing, the author and publisher are donating a portion of the book's revenue to organizations supporting refugee-based causes, which is part of the reason that I went out and ordered three more copies of Stepping Stones as soon as I read it.

It's nice to be reminded that books can change the world. 

In this post, Margriet Ruurs tells the story of how Stepping Stones came to be.

*****

Image from Stepping Stones

As a children’s book writer I am always on the look-out for unusual, attractive art—even though authors usually have nothing to do with the illustrations of their books. But when I spotted an amazing picture on Facebook by an artist from Syria, I knew that I really wanted this art in a book of mine.

The picture I’d spotted showed a mother tenderly holding her baby. Behind her, a father str …

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