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Green and White Threads: Nigerian-Canadian Writers

From sea to sea, Canadian communities offer immigrants welcoming inclusive spaces. While I started writing as a preteen, I became a published author after our family moved to Canada 17 years ago. As I look forward to the September publication of my seventh book, A Good Name, I remain thankful for the many opportunities this land bestows on newcomers. 

Writers of Nigerian descent are world-renowned for the breadth and vibrancy of their art. I am proud of this heritage. Therefore, I am honoured to shine a spotlight on the following writers whose works add invaluable green and white threads to the grand tapestry of Canadian literature. 

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Butter Honey Pig Bread, by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Ekwuyasi’s debut novel is a story about choices and their consequences, of motherhood, of the malleable line between the spirit and the mind, of finding new homes and mending old ones, of voracious appetites, of queer love, of friendship, faith, and above all, family.

Longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, this novel is a reader’s treat. I’ve always been a fa …

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The Richness and Challenge of a Hyphenated Existence

I’ve been a migrant for as long as I can remember.

All my life, I have grappled with the notions of borders, boundaries and belonging. I left my country of birth Bangladesh at the age of one and moved to Saudi Arabia, where I spent twelve years of my life. Thereafter, my family and I immigrated to Canada. As a Bangladeshi Canadian Muslim woman, the search for home is an integral part of my existence. For this reason, I’ve not only been interested in writing stories about the immigrant experience, but also reading them.

Books that portray the richness and challenges of a hyphenated existence, that explore the questions of identity and belonging have always fascinated me and comforted me. Through them, I have felt less alone.

Here are seven books by Canadian authors that I have personally enjoyed and have been moved by.

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Book Cover Jasmine

Jasmine, by Bharati Mukherjee

I remember reading Jasmine in high school for a book project. I had picked it up at the library and was instantly engrossed by the story and Mukherjee’s elegant prose. Jasmine is the story of an India …

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The Chat with Nilofar Shidmehr

Nilofar Shidmehr

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Nilofar Shidmehr’s short fiction collection, Divided Loyalties (Astoria/House of Anansi) is a rich and compelling collection of stories focusing on the lives of women in Iran and the diaspora.

In a blurb for the book, Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran, says, “Iran is a complicated country with thousands of years of history. In Divided Loyalties, with a deft hand, Nilofar Shidmehr takes us through the suffering of its people over the last four decades. An important book that sheds light on how a people can survive their darkest years.”

Nilofar Shidmehr is a poet, essayist, and scholar, and the author of six books in English and Farsi, including Between Lives and Shirin and Salt Man, a BC Book Prize finalist. She writes and delivers lectures on women’s rights, migration and diaspora, and social and political issues in Iran. A specialist in literature and cinema of modern Iran, she teaches in the Continuing Studies program at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where she lives with her husband.

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The Chat with Nilofar Shidmehr

Tr …

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