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    Wordfest presents Elhamin Abdelmahmoud

Wordfest presents Elamin Abdelmahmoud with Omar El Akkad

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$15 + GST & FEES (In-Person Ticket)
Memorial Park Library, 2nd Floor 1221 2 St SW, Calgary AB
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Wordfest is thrilled to present writer, podcast host, and pop-culture pundit Elamin Abdelmahmoud and his eagerly awaited first book, Son of Elsewhere: A Memoir in Pieces.

The 75-minute live conversation will start at 7:00 PM MT and will be hosted by Scotiabank Giller Prize winning novelist and journalist Omar El Akkad. It will be followed by a book signing. You'll also receive our Digital Doggie Bag, a post-show recap with bonus extras sparked by the conversation.

We are grateful to Penguin Random House Canada for making it possible for us to connect you with both of these galvanizing authors.

Our Collective Safety & Comfort 

To provide a community-first return to live programming for patrons, authors, Wordfest staff, volunteers and the venue staff, we will be taking the following precautions.

  • Masks are strongly encouraged. We recommend wearing your mask at all times while at the venue when not eating or drinking, including when seated in the theatre and in the post-show signing line.
  • Bar Service will be available pre- and post-show to enjoy socially distanced in the lobby or while seated in the theatre.
  • We will also offer “London Book Service” as an alternative to the post-event book signing. (Patrons can pre-purchase books through Owl’s Nest Books in advance or at the door and authors will sign these copies prior to the event, allowing pre-purchased copies to be picked up before and after the show from a table separate from the book signing line.)

About Elamin Abdelmahmoud

Elamin Abdelmahmoud is a culture writer for BuzzFeed News and host of CBC’s pop culture show Pop Chat. He was a founding co-host of the CBC Politics podcast Party Lines, and he is a contributor to The National’s At Issue panel. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Globe and Mail, and others. When he gets a chance, he writes bad tweets which you can read @elamin88. You can also follow him on Instagram @elamin.

About Son of Elsewhere

Elamin Abdelmahmoud’s Son of Elsewhere achieves what all nonfiction work should: a unique type of universality. His writing feels like a magic trick: every page is charming, funny, and yet painful, a collection that presses on your most tender feelings like a bruise yet to heal. Son of Elsewhere is a salve.” –Scaachi Koul, author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

Professional wrestling super fandom, Ontario's endlessly unfurling 401 highway, late nights at the convenience store listening to heavy metal – for writer and podcast host Elamin Abdelmahmoud, these are the building blocks of a life. Son of Elsewhere charts that life in wise, funny, and moving reflections on the many threads that weave together into an identity.
Arriving in Canada at age 12 from Sudan, Elamin's teenage years were spent trying on new ways of being in the world, new ways of relating to his almost universally white peers. His isa story of yearning to belong in a time and place where expectation and assumptions around race, faith, language, and origin make such belonging extremely difficult, but it's also a story of the surprising and unexpected ways in which connection and acceptance can be found.
In this extraordinary debut collection, the process of growing – of trying, failing, and trying again to fit in – is cast against the backdrop of the memory of life in a different time, and different place – a Khartoum being bombed by the United States, a nation seeking to define and understand itself against global powers of infinite reach.
Taken together, these essays explore how we pick and choose from our experience and environment to help us in the ongoing project of defining who we are – how, for instance, the example of Mo Salah, the profound grief practices of Islam, the nerdy charm of The O.C.'s Seth Cohen, and the long shadow of colonialism can cohere into a new and powerful whole.
With the perfect balance of relatable humor and intellectual ferocity, Son of Elsewhere confronts what we know about ourselves, and most important, what we’re still learning.

About Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad is an author and a journalist. His writing has appeared in The GuardianLe MondeGuernicaGQ, and many other newspapers and magazines. His most recent novel, What Strange Paradise, won the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize, was a finalist for the Pacific Northwest Book Award and the Aspen Words Literary Prize, as well as chosen as best book of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Globe And Mail. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into 13 languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and has been nominated for more than 10 other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York TimesThe Washington PostGQ, NPR, and Esquire, and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 Novels That Shaped Our World. 

Visit him at omarelakkad.com or follow him on Twitter @omarelakkad and Instagram @oelakkad.

About What Strange Paradise

It is one thing to put a human face on a migrant crisis and another to do so in so compelling a way that a reader simply cannot put your book down.”
Gish Jen, author of The Resisters

From the widely acclaimed, best-selling author of American War, a new novel – beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving – that looks at the global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one has made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials but of Vanna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though she and the boy are complete strangers, though they don't speak a common language, she determines to do whatever it takes to save him.

In alternating chapters, we learn the story of the boy's life and how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the girl and boy as they make their way toward a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world, it is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one.

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