CBC Literary Prizes

"A Life Less Ordinary" by Saba Taremi

Saba Taremi has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "A Life Less Ordinary".

2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Saba Taremi was born in Iran and moved to Canada when she was 18 years old. (Pro)

Saba Taremi has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "A Life Less Ordinary".

About Saba

​Saba Taremi immigrated to Canada from Iran with her family in 2005. They chose Edmonton as their new home. Even though English is not her mother tongue she has grown to love and admire it. Saba currently works full time at an accounting firm. In her spare time she enjoys reading and writing short stories and poems. She hopes to publish a book about her family's life one day and inspire other immigrants to write their stories.

Entry in five-ish words

My Grandmother's life in Tehran.

The story's source of inspiration

"Both my mom and my Grandmother were my inspirations. They both lived difficult yet fascinating lives. However, they never truly believed that their stories were worth sharing. They always considered their lives ordinary and uncomplicated. My family immigrated to Canada in 2005. I had just turned 18 years old. It has always been my mother's dream to be able to read and write English fluently. I witnessed her struggle immensely throughout the years to improve her verbal and written English. Since moving to Canada, I have talked to my Grandmother every week. She tells me that she finds it amazing that I can now speak English and she shares stories about her life with me, always managing to laugh at the end.  I will forever be in awe of how my Grandmother managed to raise nine children with little to no support. I thought it was the right time for me to share her story with others. The story I submitted is a tribute to her and my mother. Without their love and encouragement I wouldn't be where I am today."

First lines

"It is a brisk Autumn day in Tehran in 1951. I am sitting on the front porch of my uncle's house, watching enviously as his four children play a game of hopscotch in the front yard. I can still remember the crackling sound of the yellow and red grape leaves as they were stomped on. I am clutching onto my wooden doll and looking down at my belly as it is getting bigger day-by-day. Just a few days ago, I had found out that I was 'bardar,' a Persian term used to describe a pregnant woman which literally translates into, 'one who carries a weight.' This weight that I am carrying has made me feel slow and sluggish. Nonetheless I cannot stop eying my bright orange jump rope."

About the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have an opportunity to attend a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their story published on CBC Books and in Air Canada enRoute magazine. Four finalists will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their story published on CBC Books


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