As a fiction writer, in Canada, how do you think that you can contribute to the current international refugee crisis?

I’m a believer that literature can help to heal the world. A powerful novel is a gateway to opening a readers’ horizons. It’s vital to understand and empathize with the human stories. That’s my goal as a novelist.

We’re all familiar with the headlines: Violence has forced over 60 million people from their homes. According to the UN, the number of refugees and displaced people has reached the highest point since World War II. Here in Canada, I’m so proud of the fact that we’re in the process of resettling more than 30,000 Syrian refugees. (We are doing much more on behalf of refugees than the U.S.) But numbers are numbing and war reporting tends to capture images of the often nameless dead and injured, and the devastation of buildings.

In Many Waters takes readers deep inside the journey of one refugee, a young girl who is the only survivor on a flimsy, overcrowded fishing boat, who is rescued from drowning in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. My novel is in some ways a reflection of what is happening in the world, in close-up. I hope to open readers’ hearts and minds, to both transport them to a place they’ve never been and to help them see what is happening right now in a new, immediate light.

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