Displacement Narratives with Kyle Edwards, Beth Gebreyohannes, Zainab Mahdi, and Maša Torbica. Moderated by Lamees Al Ethari
From immigrant and refugee narratives to suppressed voices from Indigenous communities, the concept of displacement has incited discussions on migrations, lost homelands, and new ideas of belonging and identity. Meet writers who are finding a language to express their experiences, and who are leading the way, showing how to engage in conversation.
Kyle Edwards is a freelance writer in Toronto and a former policy researcher at the Chiefs of Ontario. He completed his bachelor of journalism at Ryerson University in June 2017. He enjoys writing about Indigenous politics and culture, and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. Kyle is Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation, but is a member of Ebb and Flow First Nation in Manitoba. His work has appeared in Maclean’s (where he is now an Editorial Apprentice), This, CBC Indigenous and the Toronto Star. One day he wants to become a good nonfiction writer.
Beth Gebreyohannes escaped with her family from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after the military government the Derg, came to power in 1979. She was 14 years old. They travelled on foot across the cruel Danakil Desert for 17 days before arriving in Djibouti with just the clothes on their backs. She lived in Djibouti as a refugee for 14 months before coming to Canada in November 1981. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto majoring in Psychology and Sociology. Beth lives in Toronto with her husband and two children, where she is a front-line public worker in the city government, serving its most underprivileged residents.
Zainab Mahdi is a poet, writer and videographer of Somali-Canadian origin. A K-W local, she is currently an undergraduate Health Studies student at the University of Waterloo. Zainab first developed an interest in poetry after discovering spoken word, and has since competed and featured at numerous venues locally and across the GTA. Her writing typically explores themes of identity, intersectionality and the experiences of being a daughter of the diaspora. Zainab was the recipient of the University of Waterloo’s 2017 Albert Shaw Poetry Prize and is currently a columnist for The Community Edition.
Maša Torbica was born in Zagreb shortly before the breakup of Yugoslavia. Displaced by the subsequent civil war, her family immigrated to Canada. Maša writes in English and Serbian. Her recent work in English has appeared in Versal (Netherlands), Qu (USA), and Understorey (Canada). Her second book of poetry in Serbian, titled Atlas, will be published next year. Maša holds a BA and an MA from the University of Guelph. She is currently a PhD candidate and graduate instructor at the University of Waterloo, specializing in Canadian literature and rhetoric. Her dissertation examines decolonization initiatives in contemporary Canadian society.
Lamees Al Ethari is an Iraqi-Canadian writer and artist. She holds a PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Waterloo, where she has been teaching academic and creative writing since 2015. Her poetry has been published in The Malpais Review and the anthology Al Mutanabbi Street Starts Here and printed as broadsides. She has a forthcoming work in poetry, From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris (Fall 2018), and another in prose titled Waiting for the Rain: A Memoir (Spring 2019). She is currently working on her monograph, Resistance and Memory in Iraqi Women’s Life Narratives.