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Jamal Saeed is an activist, editor, visual artist, and author who spent years as a prisoner of conscience in Syria before fleeing to Canada with his family as refugees in 2016. His first collection of short stories, The Suns’ Crazy Girls, was published in Arabic in 1993. He co-authored Yara’s Spring in 2020, a young-adult fiction based on the Syrian civil war. My Road from Damascus: A Memoir is a poignant personal account of Saeed’s life to date. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.

Award History

2023 Finalist

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction
for My Road from Damascus: A Memoir

Jury Citation

Jamal Saeed’s My Road from Damascus uses a haunting poetic lyricism to probe the depths of brutality committed by a repressive regime. Moving back and forth between his present-day life in Canada and his life in Syria, from his first childhood crushes to the 12 years he spent as a political prisoner, Saeed offers us a story about the strength of humanity. At times bracing and darkly comic, this memoir examines the human psyche under extreme conditions of torture and finds poetry, hope, love, and freedom. Saeed’s gift for storytelling and his deeply moving prose allows the reader to follow him wherever he goes.