Ryerson professor Kamal Al-Solaylee winner of the 2013 Toronto Book Award PHOTO: JACKIE HONG

Ryerson professor wins 2013 Toronto Book Award

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By The Eyeopener News Team

Ryerson University journalism professor Kamal Al-Solaylee is the winner of the 2013 Toronto Book Award for his novel, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes.

The award was announced at a ceremony Wednesday at the Toronto Reference Library.

“[Intolerable] is a memoir that explores many big themes in such a personal way: the importance of family, the search for identity, how culture shapes us and stays with us throughout our lives, and the importance of freedom and opportunity to realizing your life,” said City Librarian Jane Pyper, in a news release.

In the memoir, Al-Solaylee explores his personal journey of leaving a restrictive, less tolerant culture to seek a more accepting community in England and Canada.

“The author gives us a unique insight into the diversity that makes up our great city. All of these shortlisted authors have given us wonderful books that evoke Toronto, and they can be very proud of their work,” said Ward 36 city councillor Gary Crawford.

Intolerable was selected from a shortlist of over 70 entries.

Al-Solaylee, who is also the undergraduate program director at the Ryerson School of Journalism, was previously a theatre critic at the Globe and Mail and a staffer at Report on Business magazine.

Al-Solaylee has also written features and reviews for numerous publications, including the Toronto Star, National Post, The Walrus and Toronto Life. Al-Solaylee holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

Other shortlisted books this year include: Full Frontal T.O. by Patrick Cummins, Shawn Micallef’s Viewing Tom Thomson, poet Kevin Irie’s A Minority Report, Giant by Aga Maksimowska and Everybody Has Everything by Katrina Onstad.

This year is the 39th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards. Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the Toronto Book Awards honours authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are representative of Toronto’s culture. Each shortlisted author received $1,000 and the winner received an additional $10,000 in prize money.

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