2012 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust  Prize for Nonfiction Finalist


Kamal Al-Solaylee
Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes

Harper Collins Publishers Ltd

Kamal Al-Solaylee

Jury Citation

Despite its light-hearted tone, this beguiling memoir tells an intensely emotional story of one family’s eroded dreams – a narrative that also brings to life six decades of turbulence in the Middle East. Born in Yemen, the youngest of eleven siblings, the author develops a taste for Western freedom during a few years spent in Cairo. But as violence in the Arab world grows, the family must move again, and the author faces a bitter choice: to stay with his family, and watch their lives diminish under a repressive regime, or to leave them behind for a new life in the West. His account of that journey is unembellished and heartbreaking.

About the Book

Kamal Al-Solaylee tells the dramatic story of the journey he and his family endured after colonial powers were overthrown in Yemen. Under the new nationalist socialist government, his father’s properties were taken over by the state and the family had little choice but to search elsewhere in the Middle East for a more peaceful life. Through touching memories, Al-Solaylee paints a picture of a colourful time in his family’s history, before the surrounding Muslim extremism begins to take effect. Through the eyes of a man who felt he could only find true happiness in the West, the history of the region is presented as a devolution of local peace and freedoms.

About the Author

Kamal Al-Solaylee has a Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham and is an associate professor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. Previously, he was the national theatre critic for The Globe and Mail. He lives in Toronto.

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Author | Book



Woodcock Fund




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