The present anthology comprises 14 creative non-fiction essays on the topic of food by professional hyphen-canadian writers. The authors behind this anthology have studied their own hungers, to paraphrase American food writer M.F.K. Fisher. Their vivid re-telling of past culinary experiences bears little resemblance to the—now more than ever—sanitized version of the food court. It becomes a collective exercise of remembering and creating new memories as your eyes settle on the words Masgouf, asado, Injera, or ajiaco. Both food and speech are experienced in the mouth, as Peter Midgley’s piece on his family connection to Afrikaans cuisine and Adriana Oniţă’s testimony of learning to make maternal Romanian dishes attest. What makes these essays relevant is their Canadianness, and I am not referring to an immutable, sterile notion of national identity. Many Canadians speak and write in a second, and sometimes third language, as do some of the contributors. Compiling this anthology satiates our hunger to open up the field of CanLit.
Yasser Abdellatif is a writer and poet from Cairo, Egypt. He has lived and worked in Edmonton since 2010. He has published four fiction books, two poetry collections, and translated many literary works from French and English into Arabic. He writes mainly in Arabic although his works have been translated into English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. He has participated in literary events and festivals in France, Spain, Colombia, Germany, Netherlands, Malta, and United Arab Emirates. Abdellatif was a resident of the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa in 2009. His debut novel, Law of Inheritance (2002), won the Sawiris Prize in 2005 in the young writers’ category. His collection of short stories, Jonah in the Belly of the Whale, won the same prize in the category of prominent writers in 2011. Mila Bongco-Philipzig was born in Manila, Philippines and arrived in Edmonton in 1984 with a grant for graduate studies at the University of Alberta. After completing her master’s, she moved to Germany on a scholarship towards a PhD. In Munich, she met her husband and they have one son. Mila and her family have lived in various places around the globe, preferring to be on the road experiencing various cultures and perspectives rather than being tied down with a mortgage. This changed in 2007 when they decided to call Edmonton home in order to provide a more predictable environment for their son, and to enable him to form long-term friendships. Mila works at Stantec and is active in the community. In 2016, she published two bilingual children’s books (Pilipino and English), both reflecting her interests in family, travel, multiculturalism, and diversity. Leilei Chen Dr. Leilei Chen is a scholar, writer, and literary translator. She wrote Reorienting China: Travel Writing and Cross-cultural Understanding (University of Regina Press, 2016) and translated Steven Grosby's Nationalism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) into Chinese (Yilin Press, 2017). Her memoir/ travel writing, essays, and poetry translations appear in Home: Stories Connecting Us All (2017) and Looking Back, Moving Forward (Mawenzi House, Toronto, 2019), The Polyglot, Literary Review of Canada, Women of China, The Chinese Journal, and Latitude 53. She teaches at the University of Alberta. Luciana Erregue-Sacchi is a Canadian-Argentinian art historian, writer, and editor. Her poetry and creative non-fiction essays have appeared in the anthologies Looking Back, Moving Forward (Mawenzi House, 2018), Relatos Entrecruzados (Editorial Mapalé, 2020), and in blogs and literary magazines worldwide. Luciana guest edited The Polyglot magazine’s ekphrastic issue, “CanLit: Curating our Canons” (Spring 2018). In 2019, Luciana was the Edmonton Arts Council Artist in Residence, and was selected as part of the Literary Arts cohort at the Banff Centre. Luciana writes on her blog, SpectatorCurator, about her life as an art historian. This volume is her first endeavour as part of her activism, for diversity in Canadian publishing, Laberinto Press. Shimelis Gebremichael moved to Canada about four years ago. Shimelis is originally from Ethiopia where he practiced journalism in both print and electronic mediums. He is a Master of Arts in Communications and Technology (MACT) graduate at the University of Alberta. He also did his MA in Journalism and Communications and BA in Foreign Language and Literature (majoring in English) at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. Over the last four years, he has volunteered for CJSR, Centre for Family Literacy, and his church in Edmonton. He is passionate about making a difference in the community through his literary works (poems, prose, and other forms). He also aspires to continue his journalism career in both English and Amharic languages. Shimelis is married and blessed with two beautiful kids. Tazeen Hasan In addition to maintaining her own blog, Tazeen regularly contributes hard news, investigative pieces, and editorials on topics ranging from science and technology to geopolitics and entertainment for a variety of online and print news outlets. For several years, she contributed travel and history pieces to Asharq-al- Awsat group of newspapers in the Middle East, and Jang and Nawa-e-Waqt groups in Pakistan. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Western Europe, parts of South Asia, Africa, and North America with a focus on exploring history and culture. She is fluent in both written and spoken English and Urdu, with a working knowledge of Arabic, Punjabi, and Hindi. In 2020, Tazeen completed her studies of Journalism at Harvard University Extension School. Wendy McGrath is a writer and artist who works in multiple genres. Her poetry/photography collaboration with Danny Miles, drummer for July Talk and Tongue Helmet, is trying to find a home. McGrath’s most recent spoken word project, BEFORE WE KNEW is her second CD with Sascha Liebrand. Her first project with Liebrand, BOX, is an adaptation of her eponymous long poem with the group Quarto & Sound. “MOVEMENT 1” from the CD was nominated for a 2018 City of Edmonton Music Award in the Jazz Recording of the Year category. McGrath continues her artistic practice in visual art—including printmaking and artist’s books. Marco Melfi is an Edmonton poet whose work has been published in The Prairie Journal, FreeFall, the Edmonton Poetry Festival’s Poetry Route and 40 Below: Volume 2 . His chapbook, In Between Trains, was published in 2014, and Marco was the recipient of the Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize. Peter Midgley is a poet and storyteller born in South Africa and based in Edmonton. He has performed in several countries around the world and has published three children's books, one of which, Thuli's Mattress, won the International Board on Books for Young People Award for Literacy Promotion and has been translated into twenty-seven languages. His latest poetry collection, Let Us Not Think of Them As Barbarians was released in 2019 (NeWest Press). Adriana Oniţă is a Romanian-Canadian poet, founder of The Polyglot, a multilingual magazine of poetry and art. She writes poetry in English, Spanish, Romanian, French, and Italian. Her passion for languages has led her to pursue a PhD in second language education. She is the author of the ekphrastic chapbook Conjugated Light (Glass Buffalo, 2019). She is a recipient of a Killam Scholarship and is a PhD candidate in Educational Policy with the University of Alberta. Ana Ruiz Aguirre is a Cuban-Canadian cultural researcher and development strategist. Born in Santiago de Cuba and currently based in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, AB), her work focuses on the development of cultural equity through research, writing, and curating. Maitham Salman was born in Iraq and came to Canada in 1998 as a political refugee. He has published a novel, Husks as Big as My Country, and a collection of short stories, The Dirhams of Caliphate, in Arabic, as well as many articles and short stories in Arabic and Canadian newspapers and magazines. Asma Sayed is Canada Research Chair in South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She is a multilingual writer, translator, and academic originally from India. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta, and writes regularly on issues of social justice in literature, film, and media. Her publications include five books and numerous essays, fiction, creative non-fiction, and translations in periodicals, anthologies, and academic journals. In 2016-17, she was one of the authors selected for Edmonton's Borderlines Writers Circle hosted by the Writers' Guild of Alberta. Anna Marie Sewell specializes in collaborative multi-genre projects. MacEwan University's 2019 Writer-in-Residence, her creative process draws on heritage (Mi'gmaq/Anishinaabe/Polish), music, and multiple languages. Edmonton's fourth Poet Laureate, she's published two poetry books. Her first novel, Humane, arrives in 2020 from Stonehouse Press. Her bread recipe was published in 2019, in the University of Alberta cookbookOur Stories, Our Food. Her online home is prairiepomes.com.
"An enjoyable, important read, Beyond the Food Court shows a path to finding common ground in our polarizing times." —Ximena González, Alberta Views "Canadian-Argentinian writer, editor, and art historian Luciana Erregue had observed a lack of titles in local bookshops written by authors whose first language is not English. She also didn’t see many cultures represented in translated works, and wanted to do her part to change that oversight. Beyond the Food Court: An Anthology of Literary Cuisines, is a collection of 14 creative non-fiction essays about food written by various diasporic authors living in Canada." --Sue Carter, Quill and Quire "Luciana Erregue-Sacchi, the editor of Beyond the Food Court, describes this collection of creative non-fiction essays about food as a feast. She is spot-on: each essay is an exquisitely crafted dish; the ingredients of family, culture, nostalgia, and history all in perfect balance. This book will make you hungry. It will also make you think. --Rachel Hernandes, The Miramichi Reader