Gift of Fire: What to Look for in a Mentor with Lamees Al Ethari, Anita Chong, Antonio Michael Downing, and Tasneem Jamal. Moderated by Leonarda Carranza.
The world of publishing can be taxing, exclusive, and intimidating. One model of engagement and support is a seeking mentorship. Our panel will advise us how to search for the right kind of mentor, and why the right mentor is key. Other issues for discussion include: power-sharing, knowledge-exchange, advocacy, transparency, and accountability. What is the true value of mentoring at different stages of one’s career? How do you know when the relationship is working, or failing, or if it’s simply time for both parties to move on?
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.
Anita Chong is a Senior Editor at McClelland & Stewart, where she edits literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir. Notable titles include Sharon Bala’s #1 national bestseller, The Boat People; Rebecca Rosenblum’s So Much Love; Amy Jones’s We’re All in This Together; JJ Lee’s The Measure of a Man; and Stacey May Fowles’s memoir, Baseball Life Advice. Forthcoming titles include new fiction by Richard Wagamese, Saleema Nawaz, Amy Jones, Michael Christie, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Tanis Rideout, and debut novelist Reena Patel. Anita also manages the Journey Prize for emerging Canadian writers and its associated anthology, The Journey Prize Stories. Photo by Tyson Erb.
Antonio Michael Downing grew up in southern Trinidad, Northern Ontario, Brooklyn, and Kitchener. He is a musician, writer, and activist based in Toronto. His 2010 debut novel, Molasses (Blaurock Press), was published to critical acclaim. In 2017 he was named by the RBC Taylor Prize as one of Canada’s top Emerging Authors for nonfiction. His memoir, Becoming John Orpheus (Penguin Random House, Fall 2019), explores his obsession for radical identity transformations and how a tragic fire forced him to invent his “baddest, boldest self: John Orpheus.” Photo by Dave Winn.
Tasneem Jamal’s debut novel Where the Air Is Sweet was published to critical acclaim in 2014. Her writing has appeared in Chatelaine, Saturday Night magazine, and the Literary Review of Canada. She worked as a news editor at The Globe and Mail and before that as a copy editor at Saturday Night magazine. Currently a consulting editor with The New Quarterly, she is at work on a book-length memoir. She lives in Kitchener with her husband and two daughters.
Leonarda Carranza is a Central American born writer who now calls Brampton home. She holds a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education where her research examined humiliation and shaming practices in the classroom. In her writing, she draws on experiences of migration, loss and unbelonging. Her writing has been published in Room, The New Quarterly, Briarpatch magazine and Best Canadian Essays 2017. Her essay “Tongues” is part of Room Magazine’s first women of colour edition. She is the winner of Briarpatch magazine’s seventh annual Writing in the Margins contest for her piece, “The McGill Experiments.”