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The unforgettable, haunting story of a young woman’s perilous fight for freedom and justice for her brother.
Set primarily in Iran, this extraordinary debut novel takes readers into the everyday lives of the Kurds. Leila dreams of making films to bring the suppressed stories of her people onto the global stage, but obstacles keep piling up.
Leila’s younger brother Chia, influenced by their father’s past torture, imprisonment, and his deep-seated desire for justice, begins to engage with social and political affairs. But his activism grows increasingly risky and one day he disappears in Tehran. Seeking answers about her brother’s whereabouts, Leila fears the worst and begins a campaign to save him. But when she publishes Chia’s writings online, she finds herself in grave danger as well.
Daughters of Smoke and Fire is an evocative portrait of the lives and stakes faced by 40 million stateless Kurds and a powerful story that brilliantly illuminates the meaning of identity and the complex bonds of family, perfect for fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.
“There is no more urgent a task for humanity than more fully knowing one another. In our time we are witnessing the betrayal of the Kurds. A betrayal that would not have happened if the world knew them as intimately as we know our own. This desperate gift is what comes our way from Ava Homa, a brave and brilliant story teller, the first female Kurdish novelist writing in English who shows us, through one family’s story, the stakes faced by 40 million stateless Kurds. Read this book. Raise your voice. We can no longer afford the ‘us and them’ mentality if we are to survive.”
– Joy Kogawa on Daughters of Smoke and Fire
"Ava Homa is Canada’s exquisite answer to Raymond Carver. Homa announces new beginnings—less irony, more hope—and from a breathtakingly multicultural and international perspective. Readers will experience awe and beauty at the force of Homa’s art to convey female Iranian protagonists wholeheartedly grasping their lives. A taut and subtle plain-spokenness enlivens her writing, belying rich dramatic tensions that build just beneath the surface—which will surprise readers and then captivate them."
--Louis Cabri, author of Posh Lust
"Fine stories, subtle and evocative, disturbing in their impact."
M G Vassanji, author of Nostalgia
“Subtle and powerful, haunting the reader with the silence between the words.”
—Carole Giangrande, author of The Tender Birds
"Ranging across regions, ethnicities, genders, sexualities and political dispositions, Homa’s characters give us a prismatic portrait of Iran that resists both internal tyrannies and Western demonization. Her style is elegantly spare, gem-solid. This is a voice we all need to hear."
Susan Holbrook, author of Throaty Wipes
“Homa uses very tight, descriptive prose that takes us right into the moment of the story. She describes sights, smells, textures and sounds, as well as emotions, disagreements and passions that cut deeply to the heart of knowing her characters from the inside. She does this with an almost painful honesty, a striking truth and vulnerability that cannot be dismissed or ignored.”
—Black Coffee Poet
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Ava Homa is a writer, journalist, and activist. DAUGHTERS OF SMOKE AND FIRE (May 2020) is her debut novel published by the HarperCollins in Canada & ABRAMS in the US. Her collection of short stories ECHOES FROM THE OTHER LAND (Mawenzi, Toronto, 2010) was nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Conner Short Story Prize and secured a place among the ten winners of the 2011 CBC Reader’s Choice Contest, running concurrently with the Giller Prize. Homa is also the inaugural recipient of the PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-In-Exile Scholarship.
In different settings across North America and Europe, Homa has delivered speeches on writing as resistance, human rights, gender equality, Kurdish affairs, media literacy, and other topics. She has a Master's Degree in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor in Canada, another in English Language and Literature from Tehran, Iran, and a diploma in editing from Toronto. A Writer-in-Residence at the Historic Joy Kogawa House, BC (2013), George Brown College, Toronto (2012), R. D. Lawrence Cultural Centre, Minden Hills (2011), and the Open Book Toronto and Ontario (2011), Homa has taught Creative Writing workshops to writers from diverse age ranges and backgrounds, judged writing contests and has served the editorial board of the Write Magazine as well as the National Council of The Writers' Union of Canada.
Enter our giveaway for the chance to win an advanced copy of DAUGHTERS OF SMOKE AND FIRE
Read Ava's article in Lit Hub
Why Resistance is Foundational to Kurdish Literature? Ava Homa on What Statelessness, Trauma, and Political Exile Have Taught Her as a Writer
Ava will be speaking at the Kurdistan Onwards Conference on March 21 at Caltech University
Ava will be speaking at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival April 18-19, 2020
Ava's Talk at the United Nations
Books, Awards & Honours
The inaugural recipient of PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-In-Exile Scholarship
Nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Conner Short Story Award: The World’s Largest Short Story Prize
Second Vice Chair of the National Council of The Writers’ Union of Canada 2015-18
Jury for the 2016 Freedom to Read Award 2016
Writer-in-Residence at the Joy Kogawa Historic House, Vancouver, BC May–July 2013
PEN Lecturer-in-Residence at the George Brown College, Toronto, Sept 2012–March 2013
Writer-in-Residence at R.D. Lawrence, Minden Hill, Ontario Jan–Dec. 2012
"Graduation." Apt Magazine. July 2018.
“Nameless Stones.” Room Magazine. Summer 2018. Issue: 41.2. Toronto.
"Just Like Googoosh." Reorient. March 2013.
“A Rose for Raha,” (short story). Still (literary Art Book), Negative Press, London, September 2012.
“After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness?” (short story). OffSIDE: January 2012: Windsor.
“Silent Conversation” (short story). The Toronto Quarterly. Issue #8, November 2011: Toronto.
“A River of Milk and Honey” (short story). Windsor Review. Fall 2010: Windsor.
Theatre Review: "End Days" "Oliver!" "Lend me a Tenor" "Flight" "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder."
Literary Review of Canada: "A Long Way from Home" & "When Multiculturalism Fell Into the Sea"
Herizons: "Iranian Women &Hijab Law." "Beauty is Duty and Crime."
BookReview: Zadie Smith's "Swing Time."
"Do Not Say We Have Nothing" by Madeline Thien & more at Herizons.
Toronto Star: "Letter from Kurdish Exile" & "My Country, Iran"
Open Democracy: "Increasing Rhetoric on Women's Rights in Iran."
Rabble.ca: "The Women of Peshmerga"
Iran Human Rights Review: "From Self-Reign to Self-Immolation: Kurdish women's past and present."
PEN: "Echoes in Exile" ,"The Past is Another Country"
BBC Persian: "Women and Election" & "Women's movement in Iran."