Discover, read, and discuss local lit

Looking for some stimulating conversation about literature, from the comfort of your home? Want to discover and read Quebec books? Join the club! We’re pleased to announce the Local Reads Book Club, a collaboration between the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec, the Quebec Writers’ Federation, and Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore. Alongside Drawn & Quarterly’s many other exciting book clubs, there’s now one focused on books written and published in Quebec. Every month, the club will meet to discuss a Quebec book, with an eye to stories that challenge the mainstream. The club is hosted by writer and organizer Malek Yalaoui, and will take place over Zoom.

Meeting #2: Yasmeen Haddad Loves Joanasi Maqaittik

The next club will meet on August 18th at 7 PM EDT. The book being discussed is Yasmeen Haddad Loves Joanasi Maqaittik by Carolyn Marie Souaid, published by Baraka Books.

About the book:

A 23-year-old woman enters a whole new world of attraction in a community struggling with generations of loss of land and culture. Yasmeen’s tradition-bound mother wants her to stay in Montreal, get married, and have babies. But the young Syrian-Canadian wants more. Her appetite for adventure leads her to a teaching job in the northern Quebec village of Saqijuvik. Eager to adopt her new home and its Inuit inhabitants, Yasmeen embraces every experience that comes her way: camping on the tundra, hunting for ptarmigan, sewing with the local ladies. She plunges into her northern adventure, no holds barred. But it’s 1983 and instead of the ideal, pristine Arctic Yasmeen imagined, she uncovers a contradictory world of igloos and pool halls, Sedna and Jesus, raw caribou and alcohol. In the middle of everything is Joanasi, a beautiful but volatile man who leads her into territory that is almost as unsettling as the land itself.
About the author:
Carolyn Marie Souaid is the author of seven poetry collections, most recently This World We Invented (Brick Books, 2015). She has performed at festivals and literary events in Europe, Canada and the U.S. and her work has been translated into French, Arabic, Spanish and Slovenian. Blood is Blood, a videopoem written and produced with Endre Farkas, won a top prize at the 2012 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin. She has been shortlisted for the A.M. Klein Prize and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and is the recipient of numerous arts grants, including a residency at the Banff Centre in 2013.

How does this club work?

1. Get the book (if you don’t already have it).
2. Read the book.
3. Join the discussion on Zoom (from anywhere!). You don’t have to prepare any questions or comments–just come with an open mind and a readiness to listen and share. See below for tips on using Zoom.

Where’s the Zoom link and password?

Join the event on Facebook to see Zoom login info, or email admin [at] aelaq [dot] org if you’re not a Facebook user.

How does Zoom work?

If you’ve never Zoomed before, you may want to watch this 1-minute video showing how to log into a meeting:

How to join a Zoom meeting:

  • When you log in, you may be directed to a “waiting room.” Don’t worry–you’ll be admitted to the meeting at or around 7:00 p.m.
  • When you enter the meeting, your microphone will be muted. Please leave it muted unless you’re speaking to cut down on background noise. 

While in Zoom, you can select either “Gallery View,” which shows you many participants’ faces at once, all the same size, or “Speaker View,” which will show you a large image of the person speaking, and very small images of some of the other participants. You can toggle between these two views during the meeting to see which you prefer.

On a computer, you will usually find the switch at the top right of your screen. On a phone or tablet, you may need to touch various corners to find the switch. If you see the words “Gallery View,” that means you are currently IN Speaker View, and vice versa.

Hope to see you there!


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