Historic Joy Kogawa House hosts Kurdish writer-in-exile
Thursday, May 9, 2013, marked the second anniversary of the hanging of Farzad Kamanagar, a 32-year-old Kurdish teacher and poet who was executed by the government of Iran for his human rights activities.
Kurdish Iranian author Ava Homa, a PEN Canada Writer-in-Exile and the 2013 writer-in-residence at Vancouver’s Historic Joy Kogawa House, memorialized Kamangar with publication on that date of a short story based on this young teacher’s letters from prison. That story “Lullaby” is available at Novel Rights, an e-publication house promoting human rights literature – writing based in the belief that literature has enormous power to drive social change. Ava Homa’s short story is excerpted here
Ava Homa exiled from Kurdistan-Iran in 2007 leaving her family and friends behind her. She is among the few Kurdish female authors who write about the Kurdish community and history. Her three-month residency, funded by the Canada Council Residency Program and the British Columbia Arts Council, began on May 1, 2013, and focuses on writing, research, and community programs.
While in residence, Ms. Homa will supervise creative writing workshops, consult with emerging writers, and use the time to complete a novel about immigration, displacement, and culture shock – themes relevant to the fiction of Joy Kogawa and to the mandate of the Historic Joy Kogawa House Society.
Born and educated in Iran, Ava Homa holds an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Tehran and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor. In 2010 TSAR Publications published her debut collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land, which was nominated for 2011 Frank O’Conner International Short Story Prize and was chosen as one of ten People’s Choice finalists in the 2011 Readers’ Choice Award running concurrently with Giller Prize.
Homa’s short fiction and translations have appeared in several English and Farsi journals and newspapers, including the Literary Review of Canada, Rabble, Windsor Review,
and the Toronto Star
. Homa has been a member of PEN Canada’s Writers-in-Exile network since 2011 and was the 2012 PEN Lecturer-in-Residence at George Brown College.
To consult with Ava Homa as a writer, to interview Ms. Homa about her work and about living and working at Historic Joy Kogawa House, to volunteer to assist with these community programs, and for further information, please email
Ann-Marie Metten, Executive Director, Historic Joy Kogawa House.