Posts Tagged New Fiction

Secularism is at the center of ‘Skeena’

Fauzia Rafique

At the launch of Skeena in Surrey (Punjabi editions) and Vancouver (English edition) earlier this month, guest speakers said this:

‘You have written a first class novel about life for Muslim women in Pakistan, and later in a new land. You have given your readers an unprecedented view of life behind the veil as Skeena’s story unfolds. This beautifully crafted book made me sad, but it also made me smile. I am in awe of your talent. Skeena deserves to be a huge hit and if, or when, it does hit the best sellers list, I believe you could become a new literary star in Canada.’
Anthony Dalton
National President, Canadian Authors Association (CAA)

Ajmer Rode, an accomplished BC Author and the 2011 winner of Anad Foundation International Poetry Prize, said that ‘Secularism is at the center of this novel’. He said that though he considers Salman Rushdie to be a great writer, a writer of unequaled imagination and a highly forceful expression, but in terms of challenging/confronting religion, he likes the subtlety of expression in Skeena.

‘This book tells us of the specificity of Pakistan, of being a woman in Pakistan,… But it also speaks to the most general features of the Human Condition. It is thus deeply particular, and deeply humanist, like all real works of art. And I think this is that, one that will not only make its mark in Punjabi—in India and in Pakistan and in Canada—but in its English form, in these countries and farther afield.’
Anne Murphy
Chair of Punjabi Language, Literature, and Sikh Studies, University of British Columbia (UBC)

‘In this post 911 world we need more work like this to help us all understand from the inside of people’s mental frameworks—how are we all similar as human beings and how do we differ? With CNN, CanWest Global and the most of the rabid anti-Islamic media telling us lies about how Muslims live, this kind of book speaks to us urgently about understanding, solidarity and building a better world.’
Farah Shroff
UBC, Medical School

‘In reality this novel is a political and revolutionary novel in it’s essence’
Sadhu Binning
Poet/Author, Founder/Director of Punjabi Language Education Association (PLEA)

Skeena is the story of a Muslim Canadian woman spanning thirty years of her life where she explores her changing environments, religious and cultural influences, and intimate relationships. Told by Skeena herself, it is a rare glimpse into the mind and perspectives of a Muslim woman. With the utter simplicity of style and expression, and a plot immersed in gripping realities, Fauzia has created a novel that is hard to put down even when it explodes some deep-rooted myths.

Reviews and updates on Skeena

Fauzia Rafiq is a Vancouver-based South Asian Canadian writer of fiction and poetry. Her English and Punjabi writings have been published in Canada, Pakistan, and on the web. Print titles include the Punjabi publication of Skeena (Lahore 2007, Surrey 2011) and an anthology Aurat Durbar: The Court of Women: Writings by Women of South Asian Origin (Sumach Press, Toronto 1995). A selection of her English and Punjabi poetry, Passion-Fruit/Tahnget-Phal will be out 2011.

Order Skeena Online

Contact Libros Libertad
Call 1-604-838-8796


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Punjabi Novel ‘Skeena’ Launch in Surrey BC, April 9/2011

You are invited to the Surrey launch of the two Punjabi editions of ‘Skeena’.
It is a powerful story of a Muslim Canadian woman that begins from a Punjabi village in Pakistan, moves to the city of Lahore, to Toronto in Ontario, and ends in Surrey, British Columbia.
Saturday, April 9
2-4 PM
Newton Branch, Surrey Public Library
13795 70 Avenue, Surrey BC V3W 0E1
(604) 598-7400
Download PDF Poster

Poetry Readings by Manolis
From ‘Yannis Ritsos – Poems’, and ‘Vernal Equinox’
Readings from ‘Skeena’ by Fauzia Rafique
Guest Speakers on ‘Skeena’
Sadhu Binning
Bhupinder Dhaliwal
Surjeet Kalsey
Dr. Saif Khalid
Shahzad Nazir Khan
Ajmer Rode
Discussion and Refreshments
Event Host
Sana’a Janjua

Gurumukhi edition of this novel is published by Uddari Books (Surrey 2011), and the Shahmukhi or the Perso-Arabic script edition by Sanjh Publications (Lahore 2007). The English edition of ‘Skeena’ (Libros Libertad, Surrey 2011) will also be available.
English Edition of ‘Skeena’
Punjabi (Gurumukhi) Edition of ‘Skeena’
Punjabi (Shahmukhi) Edition of ‘Skeena’

Sadhu Binning
Update: View Sadhu’s review of Skeena on YouTube and In Shahmukhi
Sadhu, a bilingual author, has lived in the Vancouver area since migrating to Canada in 1967. He has published more than fifteen books of poetry, fiction, plays, translations and research. His works have been included in more than thirty-five anthologies both in Punjabi and English. He edited a literary Punjabi monthly ‘Watno Dur’, and now co-edits a quarterly, ‘Watan’.
He is a founding member of Vancouver Sath, a theatre collective, Ankur and various other literary and cultural organizations. He sat on the BC Arts Board from 1993 to 1995. He is a central figure in the Punjabi arts community and was named one of the top 100 South Asians making a difference in BC.
Twenty years ago, he founded Punjabi Language Education Association and has been actively promoting Punjabi language in educational
institutions in BC.

Bhupinder Dhaliwal
Update: Bhupinder Jee was unable to attend.
Bhupinder is a Panjab-born actor, director and writer. He came to Canada in …
More to come…
He now lives in Surrey BC where he runs his real estate and mortgage business.

Sana’a Janjua
Sana’a hails from a Punjabi family and is damn proud of it. She is a cultural activist, a keen reader and a spirited individual.
She is studying to become a nurse these days. Her interest also lies in post-colonial, and subaltern studies. Her favorite writers are Fanon, Dorris Lessing, and Assia Djebar.
She is un-apologetically firm about minority rights in Pakistan and elsewhere.
She still wants to be an actor one day!

Surjeet Kalsey
Update: Surjeet’s review is published in Gurumukhi by Indo Canadian Times. View some of it on YouTube, and View Part 2
Read review in Punjabi Shahmukhi Perso-Arabic script
Surjeet Kalsey is an accomplished Punjabi Canadian author of poetry, short fiction and drama. In her writings, Surjeet explores the lives of Punjabi Canadian women and communities from aware ‘immigrant’ perspectives. She presented Punjabi literature to the mainstream audience for the first time in Canada during the seventies.
Surjeet began her career as a journalist news anchor for Punjabi Pradeshik Samachar on All India Radio in the Seventies in Chandigarh, and wrote poetry and short stories before coming to Canada in 1974 where she continued her passion for translation, journalism and broadcasting.
She translated 55 Punjabi poets into English, and published an anthology named – ‘Glimpses of Twentieth Century Punjabi Poetry An Anthology in English Translation’ (1994, Ajanta Press, Second edition by Tarlochan Publications, Chandigarh 2010).
As an Accreditied Court Interpreter and Certified Translator, she has completed several book length projects and her literary translations were considered by English audience as “accurate, faithful, and true to the original” (M. Bullock), and attempted to fill the gap between Punjabi poets and mainstream poets.
Surjeet has three poetry books in English ‘Foot Prints of Silence’, ‘Speaking To The Winds’ and ‘In This Solitude’ to her credit. ( She has published six books of poetry with ‘Naam Tiharey’ (Amritsar 2006) being the latest. In addition, she has published four collections of short fiction in Punjabi and English; has written and directed and staged seven plays; produced several articles and dissertations on history, literature and the status of women in Canada.
Surjeet is the Editor of the Gurumukhi edition of ‘Skeena’.

Dr. Saif Khalid
Update: View Dr. Saif on YouTube with an introduction by Sana Janjua
Dr. Khaled was born in the Pakistan city of Lyalpur in a middle class progressive family, and went on to study in Gujranwala, Bulgaria and Islamabad. He did his M.Sc. in Agricultural Sciences, and his PhD in Plant Pathology from Bulgaria in 1983.
From 1984 to 2002, he worked as a Researcher for Pakistan Agricultural Research Council in Islamabad, Pakistan. Since 2003, he has been working for the greenhouse and agricultural industry in Fraser Valley.
Dr. Saif Khaled has co-edited and co-authored a book with Award-wining author Ahmad Salim. The book is a biography of a Pakistani revolutionary, titled ‘Comrade Lal Khan’ (Urdu, Sanjh Publications, 2007).
Dr. Khalid loves to read books, watch films and participate in socio-political and cultural activities.
He is a leading member and organizer of Fraser Valley Peace Council (FVPC) and Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC).

Shahzad Nazir Khan

Manolis was born in the small village Kolibari west of Chania on the Greek island of Crete in 1947. At a young age, his family moved to Athens where he was educated. After serving in the armed forces for a couple of years, he emigrated to Vancouver in 1973.
After working as an iron worker, train labourer, taxi driver, and stock broker in Canada, he now lives in White Rock where he spends his time writing, gardening, and traveling.
He has written three novels, over ten collections of poetry, and has published short fiction and non fiction in Greek and in English.
Toward the end of 2006 he founded Libros Libertad, an unorthodox and independent publishing company in Surrey BC with the goal of publishing literary books.
Manolis will present readings from his new collection of poetry ‘Vernal Equinox’ (Ekstasis Editions, 2011), and from his translated work of ‘Yannis Ritsos – Poems’ (Libros Libertad, 2010)

Fauzia Rafique
Update: View reading on YouTube
Fauzia is a South Asian Canadian writer of fiction and poetry. Her English and Punjabi writings have been published in Canada, Pakistan, and on the Web. Print titles include novel ‘Skeena’ (Punjabi, Lahore 2007) and anthology ‘Aurat Durbar’ (English, Toronto 1995).
She maintains sites and blogs on Punjabi literature and art, ‘honour-killings’, blasphemy laws, and the environment.
A selection of her English and Punjabi poetry ‘Passion-Fruit/Tahnget-Phal’ is due to come out in 2011.
Fauzia will read from the Punjabi edition of her novel ‘Skeena’.

Ajmer Rode
Update: View Ajmer on YouTube
Ajmer Rode is a Punjabi Canadian author living in Vancouver BC. A poet, playwright, translator and a cultural activist he writes both in English and Punjabi. Rode is one of the poets whose work has been added to Poetryinternationalweb with eight of his poems in English along with Punjabi translations. One of the poems ‘Kalli’ reflecting on the bonding between human and animal life in Punjab, received special attention from editors. The poem was also displayed with a painting Homecoming in a Surrey Arts Gallery exhibition (Jarnail Singh – Discovering the soul of Punjab) in 2004.
More to come…

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