WGA and LitFest Present: Borderlines – Transcultural Artistic Encounters

Date: Sunday, October 15
Time: 11:00 – 12:30
Place: Metro Cinema (8712 109 St)

Six writers, each with different backgrounds and writing in a variety of genres, offer their perspectives and insights on the coming together of differences—differing languages, values, practices—and the surprising commonalities that can emerge through sharing stories. By way of multimedia presentations, the authors will take the audience on a journey through the complexities of transcultural encounters, demonstrating how the literary arts play a significant role in building a healthy, diverse society. Followed by a question and answer period. Presented by members of the Borderlines Writers Circle.






 Aksam 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.

Tazeen Hasan is a freelance journalist and non fiction writer who is published widely in South Asia, Middle East and North America. She writes investigative pieces and OpEds 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 and writing regularly for Express news Pakistan. She is also associated with Maple TV Canada as an anchor and script writer.

Born 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.


Nermeen 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 published in an anthology inspired by Alberta’s notorious winter (40 Below Volume 2: Alberta’s Winter Anthology, 2015).


Asma 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.



Mohamed 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 online 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.


Meet the 2017 Borderlines Writers Circle here!

This event is offered in partnership with:


  1. WGA Podcast: THE BEAUTY OF LANGUAGE | Writers' Guild of Alberta - October 2, 2017

    […] Hear more from the contributors of this podcast during LitFest on Sunday, October 15, 11 am at Metro Cinema for Borderlines – Transcultural Artistic Encounters. […]