The Snowman

“In the darkness the engines sputtered and the boat shuddered and then there was only the lapping of the waves. The refugees on board, crammed to the brim, knew that many had died on that stretch of the ocean between the Colombian coast and the Darién Gap. The smugglers inspected the engines, made phone calls, shrugged. They shared no language with their cargo. In the silence the refugees began to pray, the Muslims, the Christians, the Nepalese, lifting their voices in a jumble of aspirations, when from under the surface of the waters a beast with an enormous back – some kind of whale or snake? – brushed against the side of the boat. The refugees let out one countryless scream.”

Stephen Marche – Tortoise – August 2019


Banana Road

“As I grew up, my country was struggling under government corruption and crime, and I said goodbye to it in 2013, when I left to study journalism in New Brunswick. But reading about Honduras this year from a distance, I had questions — questions that news stories didn’t seem to address: Why is there so much misery in a country so beautiful? Is there any reason to hope? I went back to Honduras to try to find out, to talk to ordinary people touched by the migration and to experts who’ve tried to understand it. ‘They don’t do a damn thing for us,’ Trump told supporters recently about Honduras and other Central American countries. Does he know, I wonder, what Americans have done in Honduras?”

María José Burgos – CBC News – December 2018

‘I just want to go back’

Stewart Bell – Global News – October 2018

The truth of Canada’s failure in Afghanistan

Chris Alexander – Literary Review of Canada – October 2018

‘It’s now or never’

Terry Glavin – Maclean’s – September 2018

They Call It Syria Town

“For Rozam and Qasem, the problem isn’t Saint John but exile itself. Their thoughts turn frequently to Dara’a, the hometown they were forced to leave behind, and where they want to return, even as the Syrian civil war grinds on. Much of Qasem’s family are still there, and he and Rozam worry for them constantly. But the family isn’t alone in Saint John. More than 100 Syrians live within a few blocks in this small neighbourhood in the city’s north end, and that night over dinner, the family’s conversation was punctuated by the popcorn sound of fireworks in the streets outside—others marking the first day of Ramadan.”

Kate Wallace – The Deep – September 2017

The Man Who Saved 200 Syrian Refugees

Mark Mann – Toronto Life – December 2016

The Untold Story of the Canadian Kardashians

“Jyoti and Kiran Matharoo have never cared what people think of them. Their parents, who emigrated from India and settled in North York, always instilled a strong sense of self in their daughters. By the time the sisters were attending Emery Collegiate Institute in the late 1990s, they were wearing halter tops, coloured contacts and high heels. Their classmates rolled their eyes, but the sisters didn’t care: they liked to dress up. Jyoti was always the romantic one, drawn to literature and history. Kiran, two years younger, was rational and level-headed, a chess aficionado who excelled in math and science. These were minor differences: to everyone around them, the Matharoo sisters were a package deal.”

Alexandra Kimball – Toronto Life – September 2017

Why Do Some Refugees Matter More to Canadians?

Kamal Al-Solaylee – The Walrus – March 2018

Selling China by the Sleeve Dance

“A few years ago, during the final days of a road trip with friends between Memphis and Toronto, I made a quick stop in a town in rural Kentucky. Bardstown is a tiny spot that’s picturesque enough, though the enormous placard announcing it had been voted ‘most beautiful small town in America’ felt perhaps overly boastful. There, in a store selling bourbon-scented soap to tourists, someone had laid out a neat pile of pale blue pamphlets. Even in a town with an Asian population that needs to be rounded up generously to reach one percent, the image was instantly familiar: A Chinese woman floating through the air, dress billowing out behind her, with the caption: ‘Shen Yun. 5,000 Years of Civilization. Live on Stage!’”

Nicholas Hune-Brown – Hazlitt – October 2017