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Not Another Afghan Immigrant Story

Logo for the WIWF, a pair of glasses with 2021 in the lenses

Every September since 1997, the Winnipeg International Writers Festival presents THIN AIR, a celebration of books and ideas. Their curated line-up is a perfect fit for curious readers who are ready to discover strong voices and great storytelling in practically every genre. This year, they're presenting a hybrid festival featuring 60 writers, live events, and a dynamic website.

To watch video content Rahela Nayebzadah has prepared for them, visit the festival website.


#FreeAfghanistan, #BlackLivesMatter, #EveryChildMatters, and #StopAsianHate are only some of the hashtags that have been taking over social media in the past year or so. And, only recently has there been an interest in BIPOC voices. What took so long? Don’t get me wrong—BIPOC voices are still underrepresented in literature and popular media. But, at least now, as a mother, I don’t have to worry about my children reading books written only by white authors.

When I wrote Monster Child, it was important that I not only appeal to the Afghan immigrant community, but to immigrants in gen …

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On the Insidious Absence of Stories, and Bridging Ethnic Solitudes: Guest Post by Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak's debut novel, Necessary Lies, won the in Canada First Novel Award in 2000. The Winter Palace, a novel of Catherine the Great will be published in January of 2012 in Canada, U.S., U.K., Holland, and Poland. She lives in Toronto where she is at work on her next novel about Catherine the Great.

I’m Canadian and I’m Polish. I have two internal voices in two languages that have become indelible parts of myself. I’m a North American and a European, for both cultural traditions have shaped me and both demand that I listen to their arguments. To complicate it further, I was born in Eastern or New Europe, as the lands from behind the former Iron Curtain are often called, in what Timothy Snyder, the Princeton historian of 20th century atrocities, calls the bloodlands.

I am also a writer.

Two decades ago I started writing about Polish immigrants to Canada who, like me, arrived here in the aftermath of the Solidarity crisis in search of a home. I wrote in English, not only because I was a graduate student of English at McGill, but also because English allowed me to tell these Polish stories to readers who did not share my ethnic background.

The characters of these early stories are forced to re-examine their heritage. Having left their hom …

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