Why Amanda Brugel chose We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib for Canada Reads 2020
The Toronto writer's first book spans continents — from Pakistan to Canada — as Habib describes her long journey through religious persecution, racism and embracing her identity as a queer Muslim woman.
Why Canada Reads?
"My agent is very aware that I'm a great book lover, but most importantly I love championing work by Canadian artists. I think we consume a lot of stuff from America and any time I can use my voice and my platform to propel and applaud other artists who happen to be Canadian, I'm happy to do so."
I knew nothing about the queer Muslim experience and I wanted to get to know this community.- Amanda Brugel
"We need more immigrant stories. I knew nothing about the queer Muslim experience and I wanted to get to know this community.
Even though Samra had been through a ton of trauma and had been through a lot of different experiences that I hadn't necessarily been through, the one thing that hit me was we all experience the same things. They maybe don't look the same, but we feel them with the same intensity and we mourn with the same intensity.
"If we start looking at each other's stories, they may seem different on the surface, but we are intrinsically, inherently bonded together by being Canadians, by being good."
Amanda Brugel's comments were taken from a live Canada Reads event with all the panellists and authors, hosted by Here & Now's Gill Deacon.
- Alayna Fender defending Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
- Akil Augustine defending Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
- Amanda Brugel defending We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
- Kaniehtiio Horn defending Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
- George Canyon defending From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle