“Illegal” in Arizona: a mother’s story

During the research for Walls: Travels Along the Barricades I had the opportunity to meet several migrants and would-be migrants along Arizona’s border with Mexico. One of the most affecting stories I heard came from a mother named Patricia who I met in Tucson. In advance of the Trump presidency, and all it may mean […]

September 13

Palestinian Reading List #3: “Is 53 seconds long enough to gather my soul?”

I met the young and wonderful Rana Mourtaja during my trip to Gaza last year. She writes short stories mostly, but composed this essay during the 2014’s summer war on Gaza. During the war, Israeli military planes dropped small and often non-explosive devices onto rooftops to warn residents that the building was about to be […]

July 08

Palestinian Reading List #2: The Drone Eats With Me

This week marks the second anniversary of beginning of the 2014 war on Gaza. In his incredible memoir of that war, titled The Drone Eats With Me: Diaries From a City Under Fire, author Atef Abu Saif writes about how the media reduced the victims into mere statistics. As a writer tasked with writing about […]

July 04

Wrestling Erica

I had the great pleasure of spending some time getting to know Olympic wrestler Erica Wiebe – both on and off the mat. I suspect everyone in Canada will be hearing a lot more about Erica in the weeks to come. I wish all my stories were as enjoyable to work on as this one. […]

June 13

Palestinian reading list #1: “Interpretations”

Mourid Barghouti (photo credit Peter Everard Smith)   I am going to start posting regular selections from some of the Palestinian literature I am reading for my current book project. The first is a poem by Mourid Barghouti, and translated by Radwa Ashour, entitled “Interpretations.”  Barghouti is a fine poet, but perhaps is best known […]

April 29

Palestine Dispatch: On the land

  I realized early on during the research for this book that I was spending a disproportionate time sitting in urban cafes talking to Palestinian poets as they hand-rolled and chain-smoked cigarettes. Since the conflict here is, arguably, first and foremost one about land, I worried I wasn’t seeing very much of it. I love […]

April 22

Palestine Dispatch: The writers of Haifa

I spent a few days this week in Haifa. I was interested in learning what it means to be a Palestinian writer in what most Palestinians call “48” – shorthand for the territory Palestine lost in 1948 to what became the state of Israel. I spoke to a few “48” writers during my visit last […]