The School of Creative Writing is pleased to welcome poet, novelist and essayist Noor Naga to UBC in July for the Geoffrey and Margaret Andrew Fellowship in Creative and Performing Arts. Naga will engage with Creative Writing students, while working on a collection of essays about home, citizenship and (be)longing in the Arabian Gulf.
“We are thrilled to welcome Noor Naga to UBC Creative Writing for this fellowship period. Both her writing and her teaching practice are exciting and innovative, and we look forward to her engagement with our community,” says Director Alix Ohlin.
Naga is an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto, and now lives in Cairo. She is the winner of the 2017 Bronwen Wallace Award, the 2019 RBC/PEN Canada Award, and the 2019 Disquiet Fiction Prize. Her work has been published in Granta, POETRY, The Walrus, The Common, The Offing and more. Her verse-novel Washes, Prays won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award as well as the Arab American Book Award, and was published by McClelland & Stewart in 2020. Her debut novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English won the 2019 Graywolf Press Africa Prize and was published in April 2022 from Graywolf Press.
In addition to her writing, Naga has taught creative writing since 2014 in classrooms from Toronto to Cairo. This includes designing and facilitating creative writing workshops for a range of ages and writing familiarity. Naga’s experiences in the classroom laid the foundation for her pedagogical research exploring how marginalized or minority groups might be disadvantaged by hegemonic assumptions ingrained in the traditional workshop structure.
“Literary Arts Institutions don’t just service the students in their classrooms—they change the dialogic landscape around them. During the short duration of the Geoffrey & Margaret Andrew Fellowship, I hope to expand those conversations around UBC, and I believe my commitment to writing and teaching will make me a nuanced and generous, critical voice in these classrooms,” says Naga.
The Geoffrey & Margaret Andrew Fellowship rotates between units in the Faculty of Arts. The fellowship allows creatives from developing countries; or those who are Indigenous, Aboriginal or First Nations from Canada or other countries, an opportunity to broaden their artistic experience while fostering greater international understanding through cultural exchange in Canada. The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory hosted Autumn Star Chacon as their fellow in November 2021.