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Kamal Al-Solaylee shortlisted for Writers’ Trust award

Memoir documents former Xtra writer's journey from Yemen to Canada

Kamal Al-Solaylee’s Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes has been shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for non-fiction. 

The five finalists were announced Sept 25 in Toronto. Each will receive $5,000, with the winner receiving a total of $60,000. 

Al-Solaylee, who began writing for Xtra in 1997, spoke recently about his book.

“I’m a supporting character in a book set in the Middle East and Canada,” he said. “It’s about my relationship with my family. It’s about coming out as a gay man in the Middle East, then pursuing the life I wanted for myself.” 

The other finalists are Modris Eksteins, for Solar Dance: Genuis,  Forgery and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age; Taras Grescoe, for Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile; JJ Lee, for The Measure of Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit; and Candace Savage, for A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape.

The three-member jury included former lieutenant governor of Ontario James Bartleman; writer Charlotte Gill, a former finalist; and writer Marni Jackson.