Saturday October 29: 1:30 pm - 2:50 pm

1:30 P.M. Writing From Life

with Emily Urquhart, Martha Batiz, and Lara El Mekkawi. 

BSIA Room #123


Can you hide the truth in fiction, or can you be truer to yourself in nonfiction?


Join Lara El Mekkawi in conversation with Martha Batiz and Emily Urquhart as they explore how they took life experiences and turned them into literature – in fiction and nonfiction respectively. They will discuss how to determine whether fiction or creative nonfiction is the best way to tell your story, what materials to leave in, and what to exclude.

  • EMILY URQUHART is a journalist with a doctorate in folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her award-winning longform nonfiction has appeared in Guernica, Longreads and The Walrus among other publications. She is the author of Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of our Hidden Genes, a Kobo First Book Prize nominee, as well as the memoir The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, My Father and Me, which was listed as a top book of 2020 by CBC, NOW Magazine and Quill & Quire. She is a nonfiction editor for The New Quarterly and lives in Kitchener, Ontario. Her essay collection, Ordinary Wonder Tales, will be published in fall 2022.

  • MARTHA BÁTIZ is an award-winning writer, translator, and professor of Spanish language in literature. She is the author of four books, including the story collection Plaza Requiem, winner of an International Latino Book Award, and the novella The Wolf’s Mouth, winner of the Casa de Teatro Prize. Born and raised in Mexico City, she lives in Toronto.

  • LARA EL MEKKAWI is currently a PhD candidate in English at the University of Waterloo. She is the recipient of the Lea Vogel-Nimmo English Graduate Professionalization Award (2022); the Provost Doctoral Entrance Award for Women (2019-20); and the Jinan Majzoub Excellence Award in English Literature (2017). Lara’s main areas of interest include cosmopolitanism, trauma studies, postcolonialism, critical race theory, and world literature. Lara studies the complicated connotations behind being a part of the world: her dissertation explores the traumas of forced migration and issues of belonging in Black and Palestinian Diaspora Contemporary Transnational Fiction respectively.

    Lara completed a BA (English) at Notre Dame University- Louaize, and an MA (English Literature) at the American University of Beirut. She participated in The Institute for World Literature (IWL) 2021 session. She is also currently pursuing the Fundamentals of University Teaching program. Lara also freelances as a book editor. She has edited Nour Abou Fayad’s debut novel The Complete Opposite of Everything (2019), Nadia Tabbara’s debut book Harness Your Creativity (2018) and co-edited a poetry collection titled And We Chose Everything (2018).