Back Where I Came From: On Culture, Identity, and Home Edited by Taslim Jaffer and Omar Mouallem

Back Where I Came From: On Culture, Identity, and Home Edited by Taslim Jaffer and Omar Mouallem

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Essais Series No. 17
Publication Date: November 19, 2024
Anthology / Essays / Travel Essays
6 x 9 inches
260 pages
ISBN 9781771669177

Trade Paperback

In these literary travel essays, twenty-six writers from across North America share journeys back to their motherlands as visitors. Set against mountainous terrain, tropical beaches, bustling cities, and remote villages, these personal narratives weave socio-political commentary with writers’ reflections on who they are, where they belong, and what “home” means to them.

The result is a vulnerable, humorous, and insightful exploration of meanings and contradictions, beginning a conversation waiting to be had by the growing population of first- and second-generation Canadians and Americans who will find themselves within its pages. These essays navigate the intricacies of hyphenated identities with nuanced stories of heritage and a redefined sense of home. Back Where I Came From: On Culture, Identity, and Home is an open door to places within ourselves and around the globe.

With contributions by: Omar El Akkad, Nadine Araksi, Ofelia Brooks, Esmeralda Cabral, June Chua, Seema Dhawan, Krista Eide, Eufemia Fantetti, Ayesha Habib, Christina Hoag, Mariam Ibrahim, Taslim Jaffer, Vesna Jaksic-Lowe, Kathryn Lennon, Omar Mouallem, Dimitri Nasrallah, Lishai Peel, Omar Reyes, Mahta Riazi, Steve Sandor, Angelo Santos, Alison Tedford Seaweed, Makda Teshome, Nhung Tran-Davies, Alexandra C. Yeboah, Hannah Zalaa-Uul.


TASLIM JAFFER is a writer, editor, and writing instructor with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from University of King’s College. Her bylines include Maclean’sAsparagusWestCoast FamiliesCBC British Columbia, Peace Arch News, Unearth Women, and more. She is the winner of the 2022 Creative Nonfiction Contest from the Creative Nonfiction Collective Society and Humber Literary Review, and recipient of a 2021 Silver Canadian Online Publishing Award. Jaffer has been a keynote speaker on diversity and interfaith topics on a variety of stages and teaches creative nonfiction and expressive writing in community and rehabilitative settings. She is working on a debut collection of literary essays and lives in Surrey, B.C. with her husband and three children.

OMAR MOUALLEM is an author, filmmaker, and educator. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, WIRED, and The Wall Street Journal. His book Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas won the 2022 Wilfred Eggelston Nonfiction Award and was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021. His documentary The Lebanese Burger Mafia, which documents the unlikely link between fast-food and Lebanese immigrants, won the 2023 Audience Choice for Best Doc at Northwest International Documentary Festival. He also teaches creative nonfiction at the University of King’s College and is the “fake dean” of Pandemic University School of Writing, a virtual school he founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He lives in Edmonton.