Vancouver and Victoria

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I had a terrific time in BC this past week.  My colleague, Silvana Bazet, and I taught for three days at the Justice Institute in New Westminster for three days to very smart and committed participants who work in local social services.

Later, I read at a Queer Writers of Colour event at Little Sister’s that was organized by the Centre, Trikone, and Salaam. I followed 5 really kick-ass writers and the vibe there was really warm and welcoming.

The next day, I visited with my old friend Mark, got a quick and dirty tour of Vancouver with friends Kristyn and Apollo, and then headed over to Salaam Vancouver’s Eid Dinner at Pondok, where the food was yummy and the company great. I was especially excited to meet another queer Bohra woman (for the first time) there. The photo above is of some of the members at the restaurant.

Next was a ferry ride over to Victoria to meet friends Chloe and Helen and a visit at the University of Victoria, where I read to a Social Work class and later at a Women’s Studies event. I met some lovely people there and really enjoyed their hospitality. And the bunnies…the bunnies….

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the BC readings and who asked me lots of questions, filled the seats (in the case of Little Sister’s, the aisles, the corners, and the floor) and picked up a copy of Stealing Nasreen.

Off to BC this week…

farzanasilworking2.jpgI’m excited to be heading to British Columbia this week. It’s been years since I’ve been there. I’ll be co-facilitating 2 workshops with fellow psychotherapist, Silvana Bazet (above is a photo of us hard at work, preparing for the workshops on her back patio) at the Justice Institute. I’m going to see some old friends and meet people with whom I only have a facebook or e-mail relationship.

 I’ll also be doing a few book readings:

Thurs., Oct. 18th, 7-9pm, Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St., Vancouver 

Sat., Oct. 20th, 6-9pm, Salaam Vancouver’s Eid Dinner, Pondok Restaurant.

For info: Imtiaz @ 604-715-4816 

Mon. Oct. 22nd, 2:30-3:30pm UVic Women’s Studies Program, Clearihue A207, 3800 Finnerty, Victoria    

 Hope to see some of you there!

Post election blues and launch of Soucouyant

It’s always hard facing the day after an election night (at least from my perspective). MMP was turned down by Ontarians and there was some indication from media reports that many people didn’t really understand the plan. The NDP lost in my riding to an incumbant with one of the worst legislature attendance records going. The one shining light was that the Progressive Conservative leader, John Tory, lost in his riding!

I went to a fabulous book launch last night, however. David Chariandy read from his Giller-long-listed debut novel, Soucouyant, and I can’t wait to dig into it! It’s a story about a son’s relationship to his mother, who has dementia. Check it out.

Next week, I head to BC and will be doing readings in Vancouver and Victoria. Have a look at “where I’m reading next” for details.

Ontario referendum and launch of Soucouyant

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The Ontario election is coming up this Wednesday. We’re also having our first provincial referendum since 1924 (which was on the question of prohibition). This referendum addresses the question of electoral reform, something many progressive people from various political stripes have been lobbying for for some time. The recommended new system is called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) and blends the current system with one that ensures proportional representation.

I’ve been working on the Vote for MMP campaign the last couple of weeks, delivering flyers, talking about the issues with friends and sending e-mails. This campaign is poorly funded, grassroots and volunteer driven. Although I’m worrried that many people still don’t understand the issues and some are even clueless about the fact that we are having a referendum, I am devoting my time with the hope that maybe we can create change, if not now, sometime soon.  

If you are an Ontarian interested in electoral reform, find out more and talk to your friends and family. We still have a few days to influence voters.

I’m glad that I will have some fine distraction on October 10th, while we wait for the results. David Chariandy will be launching his novel, Soucouyant, that night at Type , 7-9pm in Toronto. By the way, David’s book made it to the Giller long-list.