Monday, March 5, 2012

God Loves Pavement: Two Brown Authors Hit the Road

Farzana Doctor and Vivek Shraya first bonded while on a five hour drive to a joint book reading. They had such a great time that they decided to keep driving, into the US, only to do more readings and to pick up snacks along the way.

Khush DC, Muslims for Progressive Values and OutWrite present "God Loves Pavement: Two Brown Authors Hit the Road" to the DC Center on Thursday March 29th at 7:00 PM. The DC Center is located at 1318 U Street NW.

Imam Daayiee will open the event, with a reading from the new Muslims for Progressive Values anthology.

FARZANA DOCTOR is a Toronto-based author and the recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Grant for an emerging gay Canadian author (2011). Her first novel, Stealing Nasreen, received critical acclaim and earned a devoted readership upon its release in 2007. She is currently touring Six Metres of Pavement, which Publishers Weekly has praised as "..a paean to second chances."

She also provides private practice psychotherapy services, delivers workshops on writing, queer and trans issues, and other diversity-related topics. She is a co-curator of the Brockton Writers Series.

SIX METRES OF PAVEMENT is a novel about Ismail Boxwala, a man who made the worst mistake of his life one summer morning twenty years ago. After his daughter's tragic death, he struggles to continue living. A divorce, years of heavy drinking, and sex with strangers only leave him more alone.

Ismail's story begins to change after he reluctantly befriends two women: Fatima, a queer activist kicked out of her parents' home; and Celia, his grieving Portuguese-Canadian neighbour who lives six metres away. A slow-simmering romance develops between Ismail and Celia. Meanwhile, dangers lead Fatima to his doorstep. Each makes complicated demands of him, ones he is uncertain he can meet.

VIVEK SHRAYA is a Toronto-based artist and arts educator. Winner of the We Are Listening International Singer/Songwriter Award, Vivek has released multiple albums including his sixth record, 1:1, to be released this fall.

GOD LOVES HAIR, his first collection of short stories, was a 2011 Lambda Literary Award finalist, won the Applied Arts Award for Illustration in 2010, and is being used as a textbook at several post-secondary institutions. Vivek delivers workshops and lectures on writing, art, gender, sexuality and homophobia.

Vivek has performed internationally, sharing the stage with Tegan and Sara, Dragonette, and Melissa Ferrick, and appearing at NXNE, CMW, and Word on the Street. His music has also been featured on the TV show Degrassi.

Seeking Single White Male, his first short film, is being screened at festivals throughout 2011. A second short, Ache in My Name, is available to watch online.

GOD LOVES HAIR is a collection of 20 short stories following a tender, intellectual, and curious child as he navigates complex realms of sexuality, gender, racial politics, religion, and belonging.

Told with the poignant insight and honesty that only the voice of a young mind can convey, the stories are accompanied by the award-winning illustrations of Toronto artist Juliana Neufeld.


IMAM DAAYIEE is a scholar, a former public interest lawyer and a specialist in Shari'ah Sciences/Quranic Interpretation. He frequently lectures internationally on progressive Muslim concepts, intra-faith and interfaith networking and the development of inclusive revisions of Islamic theological thought and interpretations of shari'ah and fiqh (Islamic law). He has long been involved in actively promoting understanding and awareness of issues of racial, gender and sexual equality both within and beyond Muslim communities.

Daayiee is the Director of LGBT Outreach for Muslims for Progressive Values, Organizer of MPV-DC, and Imam and Education Director at Masjid el-Tawhid An-Nur Al-Isslaah (Mosque for Enlightenment and Reformation). His new book Questions and Answers for Queer Muslims will hit the marketplace in fall of 2012.