Tag Archives: immigrants

An interview with author and poet Ian Williams

Pix Ian Williams

Ian Williams at a coffee shop on Main, Vancouver in May 2019 (Photo: Alison Bate)

In his debut novel Reproduction, Vancouver-based poet and author Ian Williams tells the story of Felicia, a teenager and immigrant from an unnamed island.

“I not from anywhere,’ she tells Edgar, an older white guy from a wealthy German family. They meet in hospital where their mothers are seriously ill and their lives become intertwined over the generations.

Williams explores non-traditional family arrangements, racism and male entitlement in Reproduction, published by Random House Canada.

I met up with Williams in a cafe on Main Street, Vancouver recently and my Q. and A. interview is now online at Cascadia Magazine.

Bitmakaly helps immigrant women

My Sudanese friend Lubna Abdelrahman is a very enterprising lady.

In the last 18 months, she has set up an organisation to help immigrant women and their families and is also busy writing articles for and promoting the new Alqalam Arabic newspaper in the Vancouver area.

Lubna Abdelrahman speaking at Edmonds School, Burnaby, BC (Pix by Richard Greenwood)

Pix Kathy Corrigan

Kathy Corrigan, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake (Pix by Richard Greenwood)

Her new outfit, Bitmakaly Women’s Association, hosted a community fair at Edmonds Community School on Feb.25.

One of the guest speakers, Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA Kathy Corrigan, told the audience that even though Canadians believed in equality, Canadian women still only made two-thirds the money that men did.

As a result, it was even more important to encourage immigrant women and their families and help them settle into their new country effectively, she added.

Lubna described new workshops she is setting up to help women with a Middle Eastern, Sudanese or Somalian background set up new businesses and learn more about financial institutions in Canada.

“I know it’s very hard. Most new businesses don’t know how to sell their products. You are not alone. We will try to help you,” she said.

Lubna worked for the Ministry of Health for UNICEF in Sudan before moving to Burnaby, B.C. with her husband more than 10 years ago.

Since then, she has worked as an outreach worker, community health worker, program coordinator, translator and hosted numerous workshops. She is also kept busy raising two young daughters.

Bitmakaly Women’s Association (also known as Bitmakaly Women’s Empowerment Organization) can also be contacted on 778-919-1208 or via their Facebook site.