Books·Canada Reads 2020

Samra Habib

Samra Habib is a photographer and journalist based in Toronto.

Author of We Have Always Been Here, defended by Amanda Brugel

Samra Habib is a journalist and photographer based in Toronto. (Yuula Benivolski)

Amanda Brugel is defending We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib on Canada Reads 2020.

The debates will take place March 16-19, 2020 and will be hosted by Ali Hassan. They will be broadcast on CBC Radio OneCBC TVCBC Gem and on CBC Books

About Samra Habib

Samra Habib is a journalist and photographer based in Toronto whose work has been featured in publications like the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post and Vanity Fair. Her first book, We Have Always Been Hereis a memoir about her childhood in Pakistan, arriving in Canada as a refugee and coming out as a proud queer Muslim woman. Habib is also the creator of the photo documentary project Just Me and Allah, in which she travelled the world to document the diverse stories of LGBTQIA Muslims.

CBC Books named Habib a writer to watch in 2019.

Why Samra Habib wrote We Have Always Been Here

"I saw a lot of benefit in being honest about my experience. I think there's a lack of queer Muslim narratives and one of the reasons could be that many fear persecution. It's not safe to be an openly queer Muslim person in a lot of different parts of the world, but I don't have to fear. I think I am relatively safe and I thought, 'OK, I can do this without risking a lot.'

It was while writing the book that I realized that, even when it came to embracing the fact that I'm queer, I was hiding for a long time.- Samra Habib

"It was while writing the book that I realized that, even when it came to embracing the fact that I'm queer, I was hiding for a long time. I was staying in these relationships with straight men or not sharing who I was with people who I was close to. I was still hiding, even though I didn't need to hide anymore. What I'm left with now is the question: What are some of the other things in my life I'm still hiding?"

Read more in Samra Habib's interview with CBC Books.

Interviews with Samra Habib

Samra Habib talks to Shelagh Rogers about her memoir, We Have Always Been Here 12:13
Toronto photographer Samra Habib's Tumblr series Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project explores the beauty, and the complications, of being being both LGBT and Muslim. 13:14
"Just Me and Allah: A Queer Muslim Photo Project" is the brainchild of Toronto photographer Samra Habib. She joins Shad to talk about how the Tumbler series explores the beauty, and the complications, of being being both LGBT and Muslim. 11:06

The Canada Reads 2020 contenders

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