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English Language Jurors

We are pleased to announce that the first annual Freedom Flotilla Coalition Literary Competition has now closed. We thank all of the people who contributed their stories and poetry and our jurors.  Here are the biographies of our three English language jurors.


MONIA MAZIGH is a Canadian author and academic best known for her efforts to free her husband Maher Arar from a Syrian prison. Her memoir Hope and Despair: My Struggle to Free My Husband, Maher Arar (McClelland and Stewart 2008, translated by Patricia Claxton and Fred Reed) documents her ordeal after her husband was arrested and how she campaigned to clear his name.

With her latest book, Hope Has Two Daughters (Anansi 2017), translated by Fred Reed), Mazigh weaves a bracing and vividly-told story set against the backdrops of the Tunisian Bread Riots in 1984 and the Jasmine Revolution in 2010. A glimpse inside revolution from the perspectives of two women, a mother and daughter who take active roles during pivotal moments in history. Mazigh’s other works include Mirrors and Mirages (Anansi, 2014), a finalist for the Trillium Book Award in the original French, and Random Thoughts About Feminism, a story that appears in Resilience and Triumph: Immigrant Women Tell Their Stories (Second Story Press, 2015).

Born and raised in Tunisia, Mazigh immigrated to Canada in 1991. She holds a PhD in finance from McGill University and taught at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC. She is the former National Coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. Mazigh lives in Ottawa with her husband and two children. She is a regular blogger in English and French on her website https://moniamazigh.wordpress.com. Photo credit: Monia Mazigh


Sumayya Lee was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She has worked as an Islamic Studies teacher, Montessori Directress and Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Her debut, The Story of Maha (Kwela, 2007) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Africa and Longlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award. It is currently on the undergraduate Curriculum at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Her second novel, Maha, Ever After was published by Kwela in 2009. She has been a judge for the Young Muslim Writers Awards for the past five years and a mentor on the Writivism programme. She has also judged the annual Writivism Short Story Prize and currently serves as the Writivism Mentoring and Residencies coordinator.