From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.

Who

Typically, this column serves as an introduction to the works of novelists, educators, and scholars, certain countries, or certain literary themes.  This week, I continue with Part 2 of a previous week’s personal reads from Canada Reads 2002, and cover some reads (and re-reads) of several selections, including Esi Edugyan, Catherine Hernandez, and Omar El Akkad.

Award-winning author Esi Edugyan is a “graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Victoria.”  Edugyan was the 2015-16 Writer-in-Residence at Athabasca University.  The author is has published several novels and literary essays, and is best-known for her 2011 award-winning novel, Half-Blood Blues.

Catherine Hernandez “is an award-winning author and critically acclaimed screenwriter.”  Her novel Scarborough was made into a feature film, which was seen at the Toronto International Film Festival.  Some of the author’s notable works also include Crosshairs.

Award-winning author and journalist Omar El Akkad “was born in Egypt, grew up in Qatar, moved to Canada as a teenager and now lives in the United States.”  His fiction and non-fiction work has appeared in a variety of publications; and his debut novel American War won various awards and was nominated for numerous ones as well.

What

Some reads from Canada Read 2022 include Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez, and What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad.

Where

Many of these works are set throughout Canada, Barbados, Syria, and Greece.

When

These works often take place during the 20 and 21-centuries.

Why

These works may be of interest to readers who would like to know more about family, resilience, immigration, lives of refugees, and migration.

How

AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to these current reads are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may consider ENGL 302: Introduction to Canadian Literature, a senior-level, six-credit course, which “presents an overview of Canadian literature from its beginnings to the present.”  (Note that this course requires ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays as prerequisites.)

Students may also consider ENGL 351: Comparative Canadian Literature I, a senior-level, three-credit course, which “is an introduction to the study of ethnic minority writing in Canada in the context of the country’s two majority traditions—the English and the French.”  (Note that this course also requires ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212: Poetry and Plays as prerequisites.)  Happy reading!

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