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the elements of story


Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns


OCT 6 - NOV 13
The Elements of Story delves into the work and ideas of internationally celebrated authors and cultural thinkers.

This Fall, participants will embark on a six-week exploration into Khaled Hosseini’s captivating bestselling novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Hosted by the winner of the 2020 Canada Reads competition, Samra Habib (We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir), this one-of-a-kind series of interactive discussions and lectures will allow readers to deepen their experience and understanding of the novel and its author through a look into Afghanistan’s complex intersection of politics, religion, and gender.

This online program includes access to:

  • A live In Conversation with Khaled Hosseini event - Fri Nov 13, 7pm
  • In Their Element: three 90-minute lectures by leading scholars, thinkers, and artists exploring related topics.
    • Mozhdah Jamalzadah: acclaimed Afghan singer and talk show host, dubbed “the Oprah of Afghanistan” - Tue Oct 6, 7pm
    • Dr. Kamal Al-Solaylee: celebrated author and journalist - Tue Oct 20, 7pm
    • Nahlah Ayed: Award-winning journalist and host - Tues Nov 3, 7pm
  • The Elements of Story Book Club: three facilitated 90-minute group discussions - Thurs Oct 15, 29, and Nov 12, 7pm - Registrations close Friday, Oct 9.
In addition, participants will have exclusive access to an original series of micro-film poems by Afghan and Canadian filmmakers commissioned especially for this unique event, produced by Golden Hour Productions.

Canadian Stage and Toronto International Festival of Authors invite you to a six-week exploration into Khaled Hosseini’s captivating A Thousand Splendid Suns



Khaled Hosseini
Samra Habib
Mozhdah Jamalzadah
Kamal Al-Solaylee
Nahlah Ayed
Khaled Hosseini photo
Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. The son of a diplomat in the Afghan Foreign Ministry and a teacher, in1976, the Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris. In 1980, the family were unable to return to their homeland due to a communist coup and the invasion of the Soviet Army, and were granted political asylum in the United States. Recognized as one of the bestselling authors in the world, Hosseini’s books, The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed, have been published in over seventy countries and sold more than 40 million copies. In 2006 Khaled was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Inspired by a trip he made to Afghanistan with the UNHCR, he later established The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two children.
Samra Habib photo
Samra Habib
Samra Habib is a Pakistani-Canadian writer, photographer and activist. She’s the author of the national bestselling book, We Have Always Been Here, a Queer Muslim memoir—winner of the 2020 Lambda Literary Award and Canada Reads. As a journalist, she’s covered topics ranging from Islamophobia and the rights of refugees to fashion trends. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Advocate, and her photo project, "Just Me and Allah," has been featured in Nylon, i-D, Vanity Fair Italia, Vice, and The Washington Post.

Instagram: @samra.habib
Twitter: @therealsamsam
Kamal Al-Solaylee photo
Kamal Al-Solaylee
Kamal Al-Solaylee is the author of the national bestseller Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, which won the 2013 Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for the CBC’s Canada Reads and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. His second book, Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards for Nonfiction, the Trillium Book Award and won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. He was previously a theatre critic at the Globe and Mail and has written reviews and features on arts and politics for all major Canadian publications. He holds a PhD in English and is a professor of journalism at Ryerson University.

Twitter: @KamalAlSolaylee
Nahlah Ayed photo
Nahlah Ayed
The host of CBC Radio’s Ideas, Nahlah Ayed is an award-winning veteran foreign news reporter who spent nearly a decade in the Middle East covering the region's many conflicts and later in London where she covered major stories from Russia's annexation of Crimea, Europe's refugee crisis, and the Brexit vote and its fallout. A graduate of Carleton University's Master of Journalism program, she also holds a Master's degree in interdisciplinary studies (Philosophy, English and Science) and a Bachelor of Science in genetics from the University of Manitoba. In 2012, her memoir, A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey From Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring, was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award. Nahlah was born and raised (mostly) in Winnipeg, Canada.
Mozhdah Jamalzadah photo
Mozhdah Jamalzadah
Mozhdah Jamalzadah is a Kabul-born, Vancouver-based singer-songwriter, media personality and women’s rights activist. She’s been called the Oprah of Afghanistan for having had a talk show debating taboo subjects like child marriage, violence against women and divorce in post-Taliban Afghanistan; and the first Afghan to perform at the Obama Whitehouse. She has guested on the Oprah Winfrey Show and won several “Best Artist of the Year” awards in more than one country. Her biography, The Voice of Rebellion, written by Roberta Staley, just released October 2019, and she made her acting debut in the movie Red Snow, written and directed by award winning Canadian director Marie Clements.

Book Club Facilitators

Fathima Cader photo
Fathima Cader
Fathima Cader's writing has appeared in Guernica, The New Inquiry, Hazlitt, and elsewhere. Her forthcoming creative non-fiction book examines the migration of war and terror through the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Sri Lanka. She also works as a public interest litigator, representing workers, unions, and students.
Farzana Doctor photo
Farzana Doctor
Farzana Doctor is a writer, activist, and psychotherapist. Her ancestry is Indian, and she was born in Zambia while her family was based there for five years, before immigrating to Canada in 1971. Her first novel, Stealing Nasreen, was published by Inanna in 2007. Her second novel, Six Metres of Pavement, won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the 2012 Toronto Book Award. In 2017 it was voted the One Book One Brampton 2017 winner. Her third novel, All Inclusive, was a Kobo 2015 and National Post Best Book of the Year. While all her books are distinct from one another, some common themes include loss, relationships, community, healing, racism, LGBT rights, diasporic identity and feminism. She seamlessly blends strong stories with social justice issues. Farzana's latest novel, Seven, was published in August 2020, along with a poetry collection, You Still Look the Same. She is currently working on a YA novel. Farzana was recently named one of CBC Books' "100 Writers in Canada You Need To Know Now".
Thea Lim photo
Thea Lim
Thea Lim is the author of An Ocean of Minutes, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and has been translated into three languages and optioned for television. Her writing has been published in Granta, The Paris Review, Best Canadian Stories, Guernica, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and others. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston and previously served as nonfiction editor at Gulf Coast. She grew up in Singapore and now lives with her family in Toronto, where she is a professor of creative writing.
Moez Surani photo
Moez Surani
Moez Surani's writing has been published internationally, including in Harper's Magazine, Best American Experimental Writing 2016, Best Canadian Poetry (2013 & 2014), and The Globe and Mail. He has received a Chalmers Arts Fellowship and he has been an artist-in-residence in Finland, Italy, Latvia, Myanmar, Switzerland, Taiwan, the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada and at the MacDowell Colony in the United States. His visual and performance works have been shown in Toronto at Theatre Passe Muraille, Nuit Blanche, Videofag, Red Head Gallery and YYZ Artists' Outlet (forthcoming), and internationally at the Cross Gallery in Taipei, the New Zero Arts Space in Yangon, Palazzolo Acreide’s city hall in Italy and he is a member of the artist-run centre Gallery 44 in Toronto. He is the author of four poetry collections: Reticent Bodies (Wolsak & Wynn, 2009), Floating Life (Wolsak & Wynn, 2012), Operations (Book*hug, 2016) and Are the Rivers in Your Poems Real (Book*hug, 2019). Most recently, he has been working on Heresies, a collaboration with Canadian artist Nina Leo, and a group of international perfumers, to produce a line of custom scents that operate as lyric poems and express diverse and suppressed subjectivities.