I am thrilled to announce the first scholarship recipient for my upcoming online course, Writing Teaches Writing: Mohamad Kebbewar.

Born and raised in Aleppo, Mohamad Kebbewar was educated and spent half his life in Canada. Since the start of the Syrian War he has found solace in writing. He recently published a chapbook with JackPine Press entitled The Soap of Aleppo, available for purchase at jackpinepress.com. He is putting the final touches on his novel The Bones of Aleppo.

In his application, Mohamad wrote:

“Since the start of the Syrian war I have been writing as a way of healing, to process and let go of the war. In 2012, I left Aleppo to come to Canada because life was no longer possible there… I am part of two impossibly extreme and opposite places. It was difficult but safe to write about the war in Canada, but after years of absence from my birthplace I craved to visit. After the end of hostilities in Aleppo I returned there to witness the destruction and visit my parents. The old city which was my pride is in ruins. Every week I would take a walk in the old city and write about my first impression of what I saw.”

These impressions clearly fed the story he submitted which vividly portrayed everyday life in Syria and which I found moving and evocative. Leaving Home will be published in an upcoming issue of The New Quarterly.

Congratulations, Mohamad! I look forward to working with you.

Thank you to all who applied. I wish you all the very best with your writing and stay tuned for future courses and scholarships.