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Nawaz at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 2013
1979 (age 38–39)|
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
|Residence||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
B.Hum. (Carleton University)|
M.A. in English (University of Manitoba)
|Notable work||Mother Superior|
2006 Robert Kroetsch Award|
2008 Journey Prize
Saleema Nawaz (born 1979) is a Canadian author whose works of short fiction have been published in literary journals such as Prairie Fire, PRISM International, Grain, The Dalhousie Review, and The New Quarterly. Nawaz was born in Ottawa, Ontario and later moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in order to study English at the University of Manitoba, where she received her M.A. with a creative writing thesis. Her first complete collection of short fiction, entitled Mother Superior, was published by Freehand Books in 2008. Nawaz completed her first novel, Bone and Bread, published by Anansi Press in 2013, while residing in Montreal, Quebec.
Early life in Ottawa
Saleema Nawaz was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. An only child, Nawaz was raised solely by her Caucasian Nova Scotian mother in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Centretown, in the absence of her Indian father. Nawaz claims to have begun showing interest in writing fiction as early as the first grade. During her high school years she attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute, a highly regarded public school near her Centretown home. Upon graduation from high school Nawaz attended Carleton University in Ottawa, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Humanities.
Winnipeg, Banff, and Montreal
After receiving a Bachelor of Humanities at Carleton, Nawaz moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba to pursue her M.A. at the University of Manitoba. The M.A. program at the University of Manitoba interested Nawaz because it offered a Creative Thesis option. Since obtaining her degree, Nawaz has attended a writing studio program at the Banff Centre for the Arts and currently resides in Montreal, Quebec where she does administrative work for McGill University.
Nawaz' novella "The White Dress" (which would later appear in her collection, Mother Superior) won her the Robert Kroetsch Award for Best Creative Thesis in 2006. This award is given to the writer of the best creative thesis each year out of all University of Manitoba M.A. graduates. In the following years, Nawaz published several individual short stories in various literary publications across Canada (see "List of published works" below).
In 2008, Nawaz published a collection of seven stories and two novellas entitled Mother Superior. The collection includes five previously published short stories as well as two previously unpublished short stories and two previously unpublished novellas. Mother Superior has generally been met with positive reviews, even receiving a nomination for the prestigious McAuslan First Book Prize from the Quebec Writers' Federation. The stories in Mother Superior follow a diverse cast of female protagonists struggling with issues such as racism, abuse, death, anorexia, pregnancy and motherhood. Mother Superior is published by Freehand Books.
Bone and Bread
Nawaz's first novel was called Bone and Bread. Its narrative follows two sisters from her previously published short story "Bloodlines" (found in The New Quarterly and as a part of Mother Superior) twenty years after their original story.
List of published works
Individual short stories
- "Mother Superior" in PRISM International
- "Look, But Don't Touch" in Grain
- "My Three Girls" in Prairie Fire
- "Bloodlines" in The New Quarterly
- "Scar Tissue" in The Dalhousie Review
- Mother Superior published by Freehand Books, 2008
- Bone and Bread published by House of Anansi, 2013
Awards and honours
- Winner of the Robert Kroetsch Award for Best Creative Thesis at the University of Manitoba for her novella "The White Dress", 2006.
- Winner of the Writers' Trust of Canada's McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her short story "My Three Girls", 2008.
- Placed second in the Malahat Review Novella Contest for her novella "The White Dress".
- Nominated for the Quebec Writers' Federation's McAuslan First Book Prize for her collection entitled Mother Superior, 2008.
- Winner of the Quebec Writers' Federation's Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, 2013.
- Nawaz, Saleema (2008). Mother Superior. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Freehand Books. p. 288. ISBN 978-1-55111-927-4.
- "Saleema Nawaz". Thinairwinnipeg.ca. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- Nawaz, Saleema (2008). Mother Superior. Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Freehand Books. ISBN 978-1-55111-927-4.
- Sanyal, Aparna. "The Human Protest". Archived from the original on May 11, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
- "Saleema Nawaz: Tapping the melancholic muse". Publications.mcgill.ca. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
- [dead link]
-  Archived February 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Nawaz, Gollner take top QWF honours". Montreal Gazette. November 20, 2013. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved April 9, 2018.