Ahmad Danny Ramadan

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Ahmad Danny Ramadan
أحمد داني رمضان
Author and activist Ahmad Danny Ramadan at the Vancouver Pride Parade 2016 Proclamation event.
Author and activist Ahmad Danny Ramadan at the Vancouver Pride Parade 2016 Proclamation event.
BornMay 31, 1984
Damascus, Syria
OccupationAuthor, Activist

Ahmed Danny Ramadan (born 1984) is a Syrian-Canadian novelist, public speaker, columnist, and a gay refugee activist.[1] He was born in Damascus, Syria, and immigrated to Lebanon as a refugee in 2012, before immigrating to Vancouver, British Columbia in September 2014.[2]

Ramadan was picked as the grand marshal of the Vancouver Pride Festival 2016, for his work supporting LGBTQ-identifying refugees and newcomers.[3][4] He was awarded the Social Activist StandOut Award by the Vancouver Pride Society,[5] and was picked as one of the 25 Top Immigrants to Canada in 2017 by Canadian Immigrant[6] as well as Recipient of the 2018 Bonham Centre Award from the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.[7]

He speaks publicly about issues related to gay Syrian refugees[8] and he wrote a bi-weekly column for Daily Xtra between 2012 and 2016.[9]

Writing[edit]

Ramadan has translated the work of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi to English, released in 2015 by Greystone Books under the title 1000 Lashes: Because I Say What I Think.

Ramadan published two collections of short stories in Arabic while he lived in Egypt. His first collection, Death and Other Fools, was released by Dar Laila in 2004. His second collection, Aria, was released by Dar Malameh in 2008.

The Clothesline Swing is Ramadan's debut novel in English. Inspired by One Thousand and One Nights, the novel tells the epic story of two lovers anchored to the memory of a dying Syria. One is a Hakawati, a storyteller, keeping life in forward motion by relaying remembered fables to his dying partner. Each night he weaves stories of his childhood in Damascus, of the cruelty he has endured for his sexuality, of leaving home, of war, of his fated meeting with his lover. Meanwhile, Death himself, in his dark cloak, shares the house with the two men, eavesdropping on their secrets as he awaits their final undoing.

In its review, titled "The Sweetest Taboo", Winnipeg Free Press stated that the author "has crafted a novel that compels readers to share — vicariously, with his characters — the beauty and history of Syria, the horrors of civil war and the joy, release and pain of forbidden love." adding that the novel is "an enjoyable, if challenging, cultural and historical excursion.".[10]

Publishers Weekly called the work "remarkable" stating that "Ramadan's delicate use of imagery links these narratives, allowing them to reverberate with meaning and emotion.".[11]

"This debut novel from the Vancouver-based Syrian writer reads as many things," writes Kamal Al-Solaylee for Canadian magazine Quill and Quire, "a coming-out memoir, a history lesson, a critique of authoritarianism, a narrative about sharing narratives – but above all, it's a requiem for a dying country and people." [12] The Globe and Mail called the novel "sombre, fantastical, violent and tender," adding that Ramadan's "English-language debut is a gay son's conflicted love letter to Syria."[13]

The Georgia Straight called the narration of Ramadan "fragmented, poetic, and rich with magic realism," adding that the novel "is a lesson in both artistic mastery and human resilience. And, unexpectedly: joy." [14]

The Clothesline Swing won the Independent Publisher Book Awards' Golden Medal in the LGBT category,[15] as well as the Canadian Authors Association's Fred Kerner Award for Best Overall Fiction Book in 2017,[16] was picked among The Globe and Mail's 100 Best Books 2017,[17] and was number 7 of the Toronto Star Top 10 Books of 2017.[18] It was long listed on the CBC's Canada Reads 2018 contest,[19] shortlisted to the Forest of Reading's Evergreen Award 2018,[20] shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award Gay Fiction category in 2018, and longlisted for Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.[21]

References[edit]

Media related to Danny Ramadan at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ "Danny Ramadan brings struggles of LGBT refugees to light". Cbc.ca. May 15, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  2. ^ "Gay Syrian refugees start new lives in Vancouver". CBC News. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  3. ^ Johnson, Chris (October 21, 2016). "Gay Syrian refugee leads Vancouver Pride parade". Washington Blade. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  4. ^ "Cafe Politics: Vancouver Pride Grand Marshall hosts 'Evening in Damascus' LGBTQ refugee fundraiser". Metro. July 22, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  5. ^ "Meet the people who will lead Vancouver's 2017 Pride parade". Xtra. 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  6. ^ "RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2017 announced! | Canadian Immigrant". canadianimmigrant.ca. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  7. ^ "Bonham Centre Awards Gala 2018".
  8. ^ "Syrian gay immigrant raises awareness of LGBT refugees in Vancouver". The Georgia Straight. May 12, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Ahmed Danny Ramadan (October 18, 2013). "Contributor Profile". Daily Xtra. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "The sweetest taboo". www.winnipegfreepress.com. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  11. ^ "Fiction Book Review: The Clothesline Swing - Publishers Weekly".
  12. ^ "The Clothesline Swing - Quill and Quire".
  13. ^ Colbert, Jade (May 12, 2017). "Review: Eamon McGrath's Berlin-Warszawa Express, Ahmad Danny Ramadan's The Clothesline Swing and Ami Sands Brodoff's In Many Waters". The Globe and Mail.
  14. ^ "Ahmad Danny Ramadan honours resilience in The Clothesline Swing". Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. 2017-06-07. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  15. ^ Awards, IPPY. "2018 Medalists Categories 1-42". www.ippyawards.com. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  16. ^ "2018 Fred Kerner Book Award Winner and Shortlist". Canadian Authors Association. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  17. ^ "The Globe 100:These are the best books of 2017". The Globe and Mail. 2017-12-14. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  18. ^ "The Star's top 10 books of 2017". The Toronto Star. 2017-12-22. Retrieved 2017-12-22.
  19. ^ "The Canada Reads 2018 longlist is here! | CBC Books". CBC. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  20. ^ Inc., Advanced Solutions International,. "Forest of Reading". www.accessola.org. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  21. ^ "2018 Sunburst Award Longlist! | The Sunburst Award Society". www.sunburstaward.org. Retrieved 2018-06-19.