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2016 Borderlines Writers Circle

mohamed_writer-2Mohamed Abdi is a Somali-Canadian writer, documentary film maker, and essayist in advocacy journalism, with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. He self-published a nonfiction book, The Agony of Somalia’s Civil War, in 2004, and an eBook of short stories titled Mother Somalia: Stories of Hope in 2012. He has contributed many articles written in English to both on-line websites and print newspapers, though English is his second language. Mohamed enjoys reading both fiction and nonfiction books to understand differing perspectives and to gain inspiration. He likes workouts and short walks to stay energetic, and is married with children.

Mohamed is working with Tololwa Mollel on a work of historical fiction.


image1Aksam Alyousef was born and raised in Syria. Since graduating from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Syria in 1994, his primary passion is writing for theatre. In 2001, he traveled to Qatar to work as a theatre teacher and in 2005 he began working as a script writer for children’s programs and serials for Al-Jazeera Children Channel. While in television, Aksam continued to write several plays and began work on writing a feature film. Upon arriving in Canada on January 27, 2016, he began a new play. Aksam participates in many cultural activities in Edmonton and takes English classes through MacEwan University.

Aksam is working with Katherine Koller on a new play.



In addition to maintaining her own blog, Tazeen Hasan regularly contributes hard news, investigative pieces, and editorials on topics ranging from science and technology to geopolitics and entertainment for a variety of online and print news outlets. For several years, she contributed travel and history pieces to Asharq-al-Awsat group of newspapers in the Middle East, and Jang and Nawa-e-Waqt groups in Pakistan. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Western Europe, parts of South Asia, Africa, and North America with a focus on exploring history and culture. She is fluent in both written and spoken English and Urdu, with a working knowledge of Arabic, Punjabi, and Hindi. Currently, she is studying Journalism at Harvard University Extension School.

Tazeen is working with Anna Marie Sewell on the creation of journalistic pieces.


werkman-mugBorn in Hamburg, Germany, Kate Rittner-Werkman immigrated to Canada as a young child living in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver before finally settling on the prairies in Edmonton. She picked up English along the way. As a child, she was full of stories in both languages and is still fluent in German. Today, Kate has a background in journalism and arts administration. She has written for a variety of newspapers and cultural organizations. Kate is working on her first book, based on searching and finding her biological father in Germany. The essence and point of departure for this work is the hundreds of photographs and three hours of silent film that her father produced during his service as a young front-line soldier in the German Army during the Second World War. A long-kept secret, these materials came under Kate’s guardianship when he passed away.

Kate is working with Shirley Serviss on her book of memoir/creative nonfiction.


asma_3Asma Sayed is a writer, translator, and academic originally from India. She has published essays, fiction, creative nonfiction, and translations in various anthologies. She writes regularly about issues of social justice in film and media. Her essays have been published in India, Kenya, Canada, and the U.S. Asma holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Alberta, and has published scholarly articles in many journals and anthologies. Her recent editorial works include Screening Motherhood in Contemporary World Cinema (2016), M. G. Vassanji: Essays on His Work (2014), Writing Diaspora: Transnational Memories, Identities and Cultures (2014). Her co-edited collection of short fiction, World on a Maple Leaf: A Treasure of Canadian Multicultural Folktales, was published in 2011. She has lived in Edmonton since 1998, and is an instructor of English and Comparative Literature at MacEwan University.

Asma is working with Myrna Kostash on a memoir.


img_0015Nermeen Youssef is an Egyptian poet. Having spent her early childhood years in Germany and Russia, she finally returned to Egypt in the early nineties. Nermeen moved to Edmonton in August 2009 to pursue doctoral studies in pharmacology at the University of Alberta. She considers herself fortunate to have lived in two such strikingly contrasting cities as Cairo and Edmonton. Free verse poetry is one of the channels she uses to document and deconstruct her experience as an expatriate. One of her poems, “The Snow Leopard,” was recently published in an anthology inspired by Alberta’s notorious winter (40 Below Volume 2: Alberta’s Winter Anthology, 2015).

Nermeen is working with Kathy Fisher on a collection of poems.

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