Missed me on TVO’s program The Agenda with Steve Paiken on February 26? You can watch the entire program online (embedded after the jump). The segment, a panel discussion on honour killings, featured Deeyah Khan (inset), whose film about the honour killing in 2006 of Banaz Mahmod in England won the 2013 Emmy Award for best International Documentary. The panel also featured activist and educator Aruna Papp, a South Asian immigrant to Canada who wrote a book about her struggle against the oppressive honour and shame code to which her family subscribed, and Hafsa Lodi a freelance journalist based in London, England and Dubai, who is a former Ryerson University (Toronto) student who wrote a column about media coverage of honour killings in Canada, particularly the Shafia case.
So maybe it’s an exaggeration to say that I learned to love the killers in my life. I certainly learned how to tolerate them, to interrogate them and to expose them, in some cases. It’s part of the story you’ll hear if you pop by the John Dutton Theatre at the main branch of the Calgary Public Library (616 Macleod Trail S.E., Calgary) this Saturday (February 1) where I’ll be speaking about life as a writer of true crime stories – which includes many tales of murder. My talk, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., is one of six on Saturday that is part of the Writer’s Weekend. All of the sessions are free, though you should register at the library’s website. If you attend, I’ll explain the remarkable backstory of that charming fellow (inset), one of the many strange characters I’ve met during a crime-writing career of 20+ years.
I was thrilled today to learn that Without Honour, my book about the 2009 Shafia honour killings, has been longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction (formerly the Charles Taylor Prize). This prestigious award is given annually to a book that “combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception.” It’s an honour to earn a place on a roster of gifted writers – and award events often feature great parties – though I’ll have to get on the shortlist for that. The shortlist will be announced January 15 and the winner revealed March 10. It’s humbling to see that I’m in the company of formidable literary figures, including past Taylor nominees such as personal idol Stevie Cameron, the legendary investigative journalist who was on the Taylor shortlist in 2011 for On the Farm, her definitive account of the Pickton serial murder case.