The power of stories: a conversation on refugees and literature

Thursday, June 17 at 7:00pm

Recent books by and about refugees have touched readers across Canada and won top literary accolades. As a country with a rich history of providing asylum to people from various parts of the globe, these stories illuminate our understanding of who we are, and increase our empathy for the lives and histories of our neighbours. 

To mark World Refugee Day, join us for a conversation with three writers who have helped shape our public conversations with the power of their stories:

Kim Thuy was born in 1968 in Vietnam, but fled with her family with the boat people at the age of ten, eventually settling in Quebec. Her first novel, Ru, won Canada Reads in 2015. She is a Member of the Order of Canada and a chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec. 

Samra Habib was born in Pakistan, but fled with her family to Canada at the age of ten after facing religious persecution. She is a writer, photographer, and activist, whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Advocate. Her first book, We Have Always Been Here, won Canada Reads in 2020. 

Kamal Al-Solaylee is a professor of journalism and literary non-fiction at Ryerson University in Toronto. His nationally bestselling memoir Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes won the 2013 Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for the CBC’s Canada Reads, as well as the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. His second book, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction as well as the Trillium Book Award. He is also a two-time finalist for the National Magazine Awards. 

This event is presented in partnership with Multi-Agency Partnership BC, and will kick-off their World Refugee Day Celebrations 2021 series of events.

The event will be opened by the Proclamation of World Refugee Day by the Mayor of Vancouver.