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ECW Press Fall 2022 Trade

  • Sales Rights

    For sale with exclusive rights in: WORLD
  • Supply Detail

    Distributor: Jaguar Book Group Availability: Not yet available Expected Ship Date: Sep 13, 2022 On Sale Date: Oct 04, 2022 Carton Quantity: 1 $28.95 CAD
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    Distributor: BTPS Availability: Not yet available Expected Ship Date: Sep 13, 2022 On Sale Date: Oct 04, 2022 Carton Quantity: 1 $22.95 USD
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  • Catalogues

My Road from Damascus
A Memoir
By (author): Jamal Saeed Translated by: Catherine Cobham
Jamal Saeed ,

Translated by :

Catherine Cobham


ECW Press - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Flaps


General Trade
Oct 04, 2022
$28.95 CAD


9in x 6 x 1.01 in

Page Count:

440 pages


36 36 photographs, black and white , 3 3 illustrations, black and white
ECW Press
Memoirs|Ethnic studies
  • Short Description
Humorous, witty, horrific, and poetic, Jamal Saeed’s story is Syria’s story: surviving 12 years in brutal military prisons, an enchanted childhood, his loves, Syria’s deadly upheavals, and his family’s escape.

“A lyrical, extremely rich narrative of loss, memory, and trauma.” — STARRED review, Kirkus Reviews

An extraordinary account of survival in Syria’s most notorious military prisons that is written with “brutal clarity — and yet, there is a poetic quality to the telling.” — Frances Itani, award-winning author of Deafening and Remembering the Bones

Jamal Saeed arrived as a refugee in Canada in 2016. In his native Syria, as a young man, his writing pushed both social and political norms. For this reason, as well as his opposition to the regimes of the al-Assads, he was imprisoned on three occasions for a total of 12 years. In each instance, he was held without formal charge and without judicial process.

My Road from Damascus not only tells the story of Saeed’s severe years in Syria’s most notorious military prisons but also his life during the country’s dramatic changes. Saeed chronicles modern Syria from the 1950s right up to his escape to Canada in 2016, recounting its descent from a country of potential to a pawn of cynical and corrupt powers. He paints a picture of village life, his youthful love affairs, his rebellion as a young Marxist, and his evolution into a free thinker, living in hiding as a teenager for 30 months while being hunted by the secret police. He recalls his brutal prison years, his final release, and his family’s harrowing escape to Canada.

While many prison memoirs focus on the cruelty of incarceration, My Road from Damascus offers a tapestry of Saeed’s whole life. It looks squarely at brutality but also at beauty and poetry, hope and love.

Sales and Market Bullets

  • A HAUNTING STORY: From an enchanted childhood in Syria to cruel years in brutal military prisons to his family’s escape — Jamal Saeed’s unputdownable story is both horrifying and beautifully told.

  • AN ONGOING CRISIS: Saeed’s story is Syria’s story. The battle for control and the ongoing refugee crisis are still making headlines.

  • A PROPULSIVE NARRATIVE, PERFECT FOR BOOK CLUB DISCUSSIONS:At times heartbreaking, uplifting, and even funny, Saeed is a keen observer and paints a colorful picture of village life, his family, and the superstitions of many of their neighbors, then provides insight into his political awakening and what it was like to live in hiding from the secret police for over two years.

  • READING DISCUSSION GUIDE: Will be made available on ECW’s website.

  • STRONG INTEREST IN STORIES THAT PERSONALIZE THE POLITICAL: Books like My Promised Land by Ari Shavit, Prisoner by Jason Rezaian, and Solitary by Albert Woodfox have shown that plenty of readers are exploring political issues through personal stories. My Road from Damascus will help readers to understand the power structures and corruption in Syria through Saeed’s story.

  • AWARD WINNING AUTHOR: Jamal Saeed’s YA book, Yara’s Spring, received high praise and many award wins and nominations, including: Kirkus Best Books List 2020 (Winner), Best Bets List, Top Ten, Ontario Library Association 2021 (Winner), Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2021(Winner), Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices 2021 2021 (Winner), Red Cedar Book Award 2021 (Nominated), Red Maple Award, OLA 2021 (Nominated), Next Generation INDIE Book Award 2021 (Shortlist), Indiana Young Hoosier Book Awards 2022 (Nominated).


  • Readers who are tuned into international news and politics

  • People interested in memoirs, especially memoirs that give insight into real events (rather than a personal celebrity memoir, for example)

  • Listeners of CBC’s Sunday Magazine, NPR, etc.

Jamal Saeed spent 12 years as a prisoner of conscience in Syria before being invited to Canada in 2016. He continues to raise awareness about Syria’s ongoing civil war and humanitarian crisis through his work as an activist, editor, visual artist, and author. He lives in Kingston, ON.

“A lyrical, extremely rich narrative of loss, memory, and trauma.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Jamal writes with brutal clarity — and yet, there is a poetic quality to the telling. He manages to hold in balance the idyllic memories of growing up in a land he loves, alongside his experiences inside Syrian prisons, where he peels back the dark walls and allows us to witness and pay heed to the unthinkable.” — Frances Itani

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