Q&A

CBC Montreal's writer-in-residence wants to take readers on a journey

Expect to read pieces that spotlight the heart and soul of Montreal from its adoptive daughter, Emira Tufo, who recently became the 2019 CBC/Quebec Writers' Federation writer-in-residence.

Born in Sarajevo, Emira Tufo said writing about her new hometown has been a way to 'put down roots'

Emira Tufo said she will be contributing pieces that take readers further on the journey she started on her blog, Montreal Murmurs. (Submitted by Emira Tufo)

Expect to read pieces that spotlight the heart and soul of Montreal from its adoptive daughter, Emira Tufo, who recently became the 2019 CBC/Quebec Writers' Federation writer-in-residence.

Born in Sarajevo, Tufo has been living in Montreal for 10 years. She earned her law degree from McGill University and is now a legal counsel at one of Montreal's universities.

She also co-writes a blog called Montreal Murmurs, which, according to the website, "chronicles the serious, the curious, the funny and the furious aspects of life in Canada's most mischievous city."

As the fourth writer-in-residence, she stopped by CBC Montreal's Homerun to talk about her writing, and her relationship with the city. 

The following has been edited for length and clarity.

What made you move to Montreal?

I had never been to Montreal, but kept running into Canadians abroad who sang its praises. That, and a Lonely Planet guide. 

I did have a dream, which I nurtured for a very long time, of immigrating. What happened in the Balkans is terrible. Unfortunately, I don't feel very hopeful of where Bosnia is heading after the war. I wanted to leave. I wanted to go somewhere that wasn't burdened by hate. Where the values were more in line with my own.

What do you like about it?

Montreal is very unusual. It's a little weird. A bit scruffy, a bit rough. Not your typical beauty. 

Once you get to know it, how its heart beats, how it thinks and breathes, you fall in love with it. I've never seen anything like it anywhere before.

Where did the urge to write come from?

Writing about Montreal has been a way of putting down roots.

It's really about the heart and soul of the city.

If I can write about the city in a personal way, it means the city belongs to me, and I belong to the city. So it was part of that personal mission.

Tufo will be writing stories about Montreal for CBC as the fourth CBC/QWF's writer-in-residence. (CBC)

What can readers expect from you?

I will continue to take readers on the journey that I started on the blog, writing about what I find beautiful and interesting about Montreal. 

To me, Sarajevo and Montreal are two cities that are necessary — one anchors me and one sets me free.