Friday, December 31, 2010

Get Exposed to Fiction in January 2011, yohooooo

 

January 14, 2011
AVA HOMA reading at Toronto Book Club

Ava will read from Echoes From the Other Land on Friday January 14, 2011 at Toronto Book Club, Friday January 14, 2011 at 7 pm , North York Civic Centre.There will be a question and answer period in Farsi. 


January 18, 2011
Fiction Workshop – Tuesday January 18, 25 and Feb 1 2011 6:30-8:30 pm

Do you want to prove the myth wrong that only a few exceptionally bright and gifted individuals are creative? Have you been thinking about writing a story that has preoccupied you for months and years? Do you have a novel or short story in progress, and would like feedback from an experienced writer and creative writing tutor? And, last but not the least, have you ever heard of a $50 workshop in down town Toronto?

Ava will start teaching the first session of her three weeks Fiction Writing Workshop at Queen Gallery,382 Queen Street East. More info: here

January 30, 2011
Come to the reading of Echoes From the Other Land by Ava Homa, the Kurdish-Iranian-Canadian Writer. Grab your snack, listen to Ava read a story based on Farzad Kamanger’s letters from prison. Enjoy Kurdish music and dance performance, get exposed to a unique cultural experience and mingle with other book lovers. The admission is FREE! Light refreshments will be served and books are available for purchase.

Mark your calendar:
January 14, 2011
Ava reading at North York Civic Centre for Toronto Book Clun, 7 pm

 January 18, 2011
6:30-8:30 Queen Gallery, Creative Writing Workshop
January 25 Waterloo University

January 27 Minden Hills Cultural Centre
January 30 Kurdish House 
More info to come. Be patient :)




Fiction Workshop

                                                        Queen Gallery Presents:

                                                                 Ava Homa

            Fiction Workshop – Tuesday January 18, 25 and Feb 1 2011 6:30-8:30 pm
When
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 6:30-8:00 pm
ava2.jpg
Where
Queen Gallery
382 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON
Details
Queen Gallery Presents, Fiction Workshop with Ava Homa.

DATES: Tuesday January 18, 25 and Feb 1 2011 6:30-8:30 pm.

Do you want to prove the myth wrong that only a few exceptionally bright and gifted individuals are creative? Have you been thinking about writing a story that has preoccupied you for months and years? Do you have a novel or short story in progress, and would like feedback from an experienced writer and creative writing tutor? And, last but not the least, have you ever heard of a $50 workshop in down town Toronto?

At the Queen Gallery in January 2011 get down to business – with Ava Homa, a fiction writer based on Toronto, who is uniquely qualified to preach what she practices. She has been giving creative writing lessons for almost six years, at high schools and universities and to writer’s schools.

THE WORKSHOP:
The emphasis in this workshop will be on writing narrative fiction, primarily novels and short stories, though creative writers working in non-fiction will also be welcome. Throughout the workshop, all participants will have a chance for intensive, one-on-one sessions with Ava Homa to discuss their work. In addition, there will be engrossing discussions between group members.
Writers who would like to be considered for the workshop are invited to send the following work, as soon as possible (latest, January 8, 2010). This is not mandatory but will let Ava help you better with your writing.
1. A précis or short description (a page or less) of the narrative you intend to work on during the workshop at Queen Gallery.
2. A sample of your writing, preferably from the narrative you intend to work on (5 to 10 pages). Please send to creativewriting@live[dot]ca.
Cost: 3-day workshop is $50 dollars.
DEADLINES:
Deadline for submitting completed applications, manuscripts, etc (see "Submissions" above) is January 8, 2011. Late entries only considered if there is still room, so apply early!
Further Information: http://www.AvaHoma.com/

RSVP HERE 

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Last chance to win a book

Only one week left to win a book. All you need to do is to enter the name of your favorite short story/writer and say why. Go now. Go to http://jennylferguson.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/giveaway-ava-homa/

giveaway: Ava Homa

Here it is:  the official announcement for a writer’s blog’s very first giveaway!  I’m happy to be able to have a copy of Ava Homa’s first collection of short stories, Echoes From the Other Land available as an international giveaway.

The giveaway will be open for the next two weeks.  So that means it closes on January 7th, 2011.  I will announce the winner soon after that.
Be sure to check back here in the new year and contact me at jennyleefergusonatgmaildot.com if you’ve won so I can arrange shipping and all that jazz with you.  Oh and I will also congratulate you!
To enter, leave a comment below describing your favourite short story writer or your favourite short story.  Tell me who and tell me why.  Okay… go!
http://jennylferguson.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/giveaway-ava-homa/

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

War isn’t a battlefield for some soldiers. It’s a sex opportunity

Mallick: Remembering a ‘very good’ Iraqi girl

The following is republished from HERE
Abeer Qassim al-Janabi at about age 7. She was raped and murdered by U.S. solders when she was 14
Abeer Qassim al-Janabi at about age 7. She was raped and murdered by U.S. solders when she was 14
ASSOCIATED PRESS
By Heather Mallick Star Columnist
War isn’t a battlefield for some soldiers. It’s a sex opportunity. So it was for Steven Green, a permanently mean young man from Seabrook, Texas, who had the good fortune to be sent to Iraq. Things slip by in a war zone that would enrage a city in peacetime. A gentle, beauteous 14-year-old girl named Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi had the misfortune to pass through his field of vision.
Now she’s dead and he’s in jail, complaining.
I was obsessed with the news of her murder when Green was first arrested in 2006, not just because the crime was so haunting but because I could not find a photograph of Abeer. She was a quiet, ordinary girl from the village of Yusufiyah, near Baghdad. Without a photo, had she ever existed? There are plenty of photos of the five strapping soldiers who killed her. If I want a fresh version of the hillbillies from Deliverance, they’re online and smirking.
But this week, as Green appealed his five life sentences on the grounds of unfairness, I finally saw Abeer. She isn’t 14 in this AP photo. She’s all of seven. And if there’s a prettier, more delicate little love of a child, I have yet to discover her. Look at her shy smile. You should see that wall behind her now. Her blood didn’t burn properly when her killers set her house on fire. It sort of cooked onto the plaster.
The mother feared the soldiers at the nearby checkpoint because they leered at Abeer as she worked in the garden. “Very good, very good,” they said to the mother, pointing at the girl and giving a thumbs-up sign. During one search of her house, Green ran his index finger down the girl’s cheek. At this point, she was marked for death.
On March 12, 2006, the soldiers got drunk and headed out to rape her. While Green shot her parents and little sister in another room, two other soldiers raped her. Green then took his turn, shot her, set her lower body on fire, and fled. They would never have been caught had one soldier, Justin Watt, not been tormented by guilt and confessed. Watt still receives death threats for his treachery.
Green is your standard murderous pedophile except for one thing. He is absolutely clear that it is not his fault. It’s the army’s. “If I hadn’t ever been in Iraq, I wouldn’t be in the kind of trouble I’m in now,” he told a reporter as he campaigns for release.
No, he’d be in the same kind of trouble, but back in Texas. Pedophiles are like that. “He always seemed a little bit different,” Green’s former step-grandfather says. Which is interesting, because I see him as typical. Armies are filled with William Calleys and Steven Greens. They have their uses.
A straight line leads from the Oval Office to Abeer’s corpse with her legs spread and her dress pulled all the way up to her neck. When you wage war, this is what happens to young girls. Their thin frames are turned into meat and jelly, their brothers are orphaned, the army pays no compensation, the killers whine and the lawyers argue over whether Green should have been tried as a soldier or a civilian.
In 2002, Chris Hedges wrote War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a fine compact book that helped end his career at the New York Times while making an eloquent case that we — and Americans in particular — love war. We must, we wage it so often. It’s seductive. We subscribe to its fictions.
One of those fictions is that uniformed soldiers from the civilized West don’t pulverize young girls and blacken them with fire for the sheer fun of it. I stare at Abeer’s photograph with all the love I can muster, thinking of that fiction, and others.
hmallick@thestar.ca

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tirgan Short Story Contest

Tirgan Short Story Contest

By Maria Sabaye Moghaddam

Have you ever thought about number of words you use in your speaking or writing? If you write regularly or speak professionally, the chances are you have. Now, here is a challenge for you: if you had 2500 words to tell a story, what would you write?

Tirgan 2011 invites those with an interest in writing to participate in Tirgan Short Story Contest: you have 2500 words to tell your story in Persian.

Here is another challenge: you have until February 15th, 2011.

Every word counts just as every day counts. So, first visit the website to find out the rules. Then let your imagination run wild, grab a pen or a computer, and do your best to make a name for yourself in Persian literature.

Stories will be judged in two rounds; a selection of those that reach the semi-final stage will be published in a collection. The top three winners will receive cash prizes as well. 


Information from Maria's blog

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The best place to be is in love

My brain is playing this game with me: in a sequence images and stories of these women come to my head and do not leave me alone. I met a woman who is divorced twice. She talked about how she is severely stigmatized for that, how she is considered a sinner, at fault, and weird (in Canada).

I think about an old friend mine, a sensitive soul, spiritual and aware. You know how difficult it is for such people to live in this world, let alone get trapped in a country like Iran. This girl tried many ways to get out of the country and failed. Her fiance, with whom she was supposed to apply for immigration, disappeared a couple of days before their wedding. Now, she is a member of an armed group against the central government. That makes me so sad because I believe the only winner in this killing game is those who sell the weapons.

I think about this smart, strong student of mine from Saudi Arabia who is here on a scholarship, to study ESL and then master's. The scholarship is granted through the government of Saudi Arabia and since a "woman" is NOT allowed to leave the country alone, and a male companion is required to "control" here (or for whatever other reasons, her father is living with her). This man, a good Muslim for four and a half decades, has started abusing drugs and alcohol, gambling and visiting strip clubs, etc in Canada.The student is freaking out that she is losing her dad, her family (when they know about this) and her scholarship (if the government finds out).

I feel these pains and a lot of others. I hate TV, papers and other media: all bias, propaganda and stereotyping. It makes me sad when I come across the ignorance of people who are so close to me, people whom I love but are victims of media and propaganda! These all drives me crazy, distressed, anxious and yet....

Yet I know there is something that offers meaning, purpose and depth to an ugly, unfair life and that's LOVE. Whatever that word means and wherever it comes from, it is fulfilling, hopeful and powerful.

"گرت آسودگی باید برو عاشق شو ای عاقل"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Review of Echoes from the Other Land

Echoes From The Other Land: Stories from Iran


When most of us think of Iran, what comes to mind is the image of women covered in black chadors who move like shadows through a strict, puritanical society.  All of this is true, of course, but it’s also true that Iran is a modern, developed country, and in Ava Homa’s first collection of stories, Echoes From The Other Land, we’re faced with a jarring combination of realities that co-exist side by side in her homeland. In these seven stories, veiled women use cell phones, buy CDs, are good with computers, and, along with their husbands and boyfriends, party on into the night in stylish western dress, reminding me of the hidden world of our Nineteen-Twenties speakeasies during Prohibition. The friction between strict laws and customs and the realities of modern life makes the sparks fly in these stories.  In “Fountain,” the dissonance is surreal as a young woman, Anis, gets bullied and bossed around by Ali, her unemployed husband, who’s asserting his traditional authority over her while she’s  trying to write a computer program. Just as potent in these stories is a kind of resonance that’s set up between parallel situations — different types of oppression, for example — in which one form of imprisonment amplifies the other, allowing the entire story to hum along on a single clear note of perception. For example, in “A River of Milk and Honey,” the narrator, Sharmin, a girl set apart by a facial deformity, observes the equally restricted world of her mother, her aunt, and a beautiful young woman who’s chased by men and whose parents find her the wrong husband. This same resonant effect is equally powerful in the story “I am One of Them.” Two voices pound away at young Sana who’s locked herself in her room: her mother, angry that she’s broken up with her fiancé Zanyar, and her friend Susan on the phone who’s also upset with her. The back-and-forth of these voices is intense and claustrophobic.  In “Glass Slippers,” the story is told in the second person, as the narrator addresses herself. She and a friend, Sara, are hiding in a basement, trying to get a glimpse of her husband’s lover. What the wife discovers about her husband may be far more devastating than adultery, and the effect is amplified by the intimacy of the woman conversing with her turbulent inner self. And in the final story, “Just Like Googoosh,” we learn that headscarves — not usually worn around the house — may serve to hide something painful — in this case the loss of Fermisk’s hair, quite possibly because of chemotherapy.
What makes these stories work is the simplicity and directness of their telling. Homa suggests much and states little outright. Maybe this approach is, in fact, the true “echo from the other land” — Iran — in which much is unspoken and cannot be said, in which there’s no doubt a vocabulary of signs and signals and coded words with layers of meanings and suggestiveness. This elusive approach to storytelling is subtle and powerful, haunting the reader with the silence between the words. I’d only add that these characters are all quite youthful, and in future stories, it would be interesting to see what Ava Homa might do with a greater variety of characters at different stages of life.  That said, take your imagination to Iran with this story collection, and you’ll be rewarded with much insight and fine storytelling.
Ava Homa’s Echoes From The Other Land is published by Tsar Books in Toronto.

Written by Carole Giangrande, the author of the beautiful novella A Gardener of on the Moon

Source: http://carolesbooktalk.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/echoes-from-the-other-land-stories-from-iran/

Wanna Win a Free Book?

Hello Book Lovers,

I have an exciting and relatively easy way for you to win a copy of Echoes from the Other Land.  All you need to do is......

HERE

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Interview by Jenny Ferguson

interview: ava homa

I’m happy to be able to bring you an interview with Canadian writer Ava Homa.  Ava and I have been friends for a few years, so after the publication of her first collection of short stories, Echoes From the Other Land, I was excited to ask her to talk about her book, writing and reading on a writer’s blog.
 

Q:  What inspired you to write Echoes From the Other Land?
A:  I’m inspired by the pain in mine and my people’s lives, the oppressive rules under which Iranian people, especially women, magically survive and the humanity that surprisingly stays intact.  I wanted to give these struggles, courage and resistance a voice, an authentic image as opposed the image the mainstream currently has of Iranian women.
Q:  Speaking about Iranian women, your short stories are all focused on female characters.  Which character in Echoes From the Other Land would you most want to be? And of course, why?
A:  It would have to be Anis from “Fountain.”  She is introverted but strong, smart, complicated, rebellious, accomplished and incredibly patient.
Q:  Yeah, who wouldn’t want to have those kind of characteristics.  Let’s shift gears here and talk about MA/MFA programs.  I know you’re a graduate from the University of Windsor’s MA in English and Creative Writing (as am I).  What’s your honest opinion about MFA programs or MA programs in Creative Writing?  Do you think you have to graduate from one of these programs to be a writer today?  What are the benefits/drawbacks based on your experiences?
A:  You definitely don’t have to be a graduate from a Creative Writing program to be a writer, which is why I did not pursue my PhD. However, you have to write and read a great deal. MA programs make you do that and that’s the best side of it, in my opinion.  Also, in a MA program you are exposed to a diverse type of writing, either by professor’s recommendation or what your peers write.  Their feedback gives you a sense of how some potential readers will perceive your writing.  The negative side of MA programs is that sometimes these things don’t happen.  For example, feedback from peers sometimes become the opposite of constructive.  Writing is subjective after all.
Q:  Okay, so you had to read a lot in your MA program (me too!).  That leads me to my next questions:  what are your three favourite books and why?

To read the rest of the interview please click HERE

Friday, December 10, 2010

To Aspiring Writers: I Know What You Need

I understand what you are looking for because I was there at one point. I studied English (two master's degrees). That made me not only read a lot but also critique and analyze the techniques and styles of writing. I attended fiction writing workshops for three years before I produced my first "publishable" piece. After that, I taught creative writing for six years which helped me improve my writing dramatically. I am still learning as I keep reading and writing. I understand your concerns, you need to know where you are standing, how good your writing is, what are your strength and week points and how to improve your skills.

                               

The best way to achieve such insight is to attend some good workshops. Search the net to find one. I will have one in January. It is open to people who are already writing and will be a dynamic workshop where I will share my years of experience with the aspiring writers (which is what I love). It is by far the most reasonable workshop in Toronto, $50 only for three sessions (2 hours each), that is less than 10 dollars per hour for a rewarding experience!

Here's more info. I hope this helps:
http://ava-homa.blogspot.com/2010/12/great-news-fiction-writing-workshop-in.html

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Admission is free, the talent priceless..

SPoT is honored to introduce Ava Homa, Derek Winkler, Fraser Sutherland, Jasmine D'Costa and Sachiko Murakam at the Small Press of Toronto (SPoT) Reading Series. This Sunday December 12th, 8pm at The Gladstone Hotel Art Bar.
Admission is free, the talent priceless...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warm Up Your Cold Days This Weekend: December 11 and 12, 2010

This weekend in Toronto: Three events that you will be thrilled to attend:


SPoT Book Fair is happening this Saturday, December 11 at the Great Hall (1087 Queen St. W.). Beginning at 11 a.m. you will have access to presses, authors and artists from around the G.T.A. and beyond! Echoes from the Other Land will be available for purchase if you're looking for a great Christmas gift.
ADDRESS: 1087 Queen Street West, Toronto M6J 1H3
(Directions: Queen Street West & Dovercourt Road. Some street parking. Public Transit: TTC
Queen Streetcar.)

The Greater Toronto Kurdish House will be broadcasting the documentary "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" by Kevin McKiernan. The movie has earned Best Documentary Honor at numerous film festivals. Kevin will be there to answer questions. Ava Homa will be hosting the program. ;) Only $15 for this fabulous program. 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm Armenian Youth Center Theater: 50 Hallcrown Place, Toronto, On



Sunday December 12
SPoT Winter reading will happen on Sunday, December 12 at the Art Bar in the Gladstone Hotel. Readers will include Ava Homa, Derek Winkler, Fraser Sutherland, Jasmine D'Costa, and Sachiko Murakami. The readings will begin at 8:00 pm.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Great News: Fiction Writing Workshop in Toronto January 2011

                                                        Queen Gallery Presents:

                                                                 Ava Homa

            Fiction Workshop – Tuesday January 18, 25 and Feb 1 2011 6:30-8:30 pm

When
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 6:30-8:00 pm
ava2.jpg
Where
Queen Gallery
382 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON
Details
Queen Gallery Presents, Fiction Workshop with Ava Homa.

DATES: Tuesday January 18, 25 and Feb 1 2011 6:30-8:30 pm.

Do you want to prove the myth wrong that only a few exceptionally bright and gifted individuals are creative? Have you been thinking about writing a story that has preoccupied you for months and years? Do you have a novel or short story in progress, and would like feedback from an experienced writer and creative writing tutor? And, last but not the least, have you ever heard of a $50 workshop in down town Toronto?

At the Queen Gallery in January 2011 get down to business – with Ava Homa, a fiction writer based on Toronto, who is uniquely qualified to preach what she practices. She has been giving creative writing lessons for almost six years, at high schools and universities and to writer’s schools.

THE WORKSHOP:
The emphasis in this workshop will be on writing narrative fiction, primarily novels and short stories, though creative writers working in non-fiction will also be welcome. Throughout the workshop, all participants will have a chance for intensive, one-on-one sessions with Ava Homa to discuss their work. In addition, there will be engrossing discussions between group members.
Writers who would like to be considered for the workshop are invited to send the following work, as soon as possible (latest, January 8, 2010). This is not mandatory but will let Ava help you better with your writing.
1. A précis or short description (a page or less) of the narrative you intend to work on during the workshop at Queen Gallery.
2. A sample of your writing, preferably from the narrative you intend to work on (5 to 10 pages). Please send to creativewriting@live[dot]ca.
Cost: 3-day workshop is $50 dollars.
DEADLINES:
Deadline for submitting completed applications, manuscripts, etc (see "Submissions" above) is January 8, 2011. Late entries only considered if there is still room, so apply early!
Further Information: http://www.AvaHoma.com/

RSVP HERE 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gladstone Hotel reading photoes, courtesy of Jeremiah Hill








Click HERE for Jeremiah Hill

My Favorite Quotes

"If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water." Hemingway



"The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails." James Joyce

"The written word is the most powerful tool we have to protect ourselves, both from the tyrants of the day and from our own traditions. Whether it is the storyteller of legend Scheherazade, staving off beheading by spinning a thousand and one tales, feminist poets of the last century who challenged the culture's perception of women through verse, or lawyers like me, who defend the powerless in courts, Iranian women have for centuries relied on works to transform reality." - Shirin Ebadi

"I have to speak, whatever that means. Having nothing to say, no words but the words of others, I have to speak. No one compels me to, there is no one, it's an accident, a fact. Nothing can ever exempt me from it, there is nothing, nothing to discover, nothing to recover, nothing that can lessen what remains to say." Samuel Beckett