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Ryerson prof nominated for Governor General award

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By Annie Arnone

Ryerson journalism professor Kamal Al-Solaylee has been nominated for the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Awards for his book, Brown: What Being Brown in Today’s World Means (To Everyone).

Initially, Al-Solaylee thought he was invited to a Facebook event, after he checked his phone and saw he had a Facebook notification. Instead, his friends had tagged him in a post, saying he had won the award. “I was in bed actually, I checked my iPhone half asleep…[the posts] said Congratulations.”

Brown deals with topics ranging from migration, exploited labour, Islamaphobia and multiple problems with multiculturalism within his culture.

The book addresses, in Al-Solaylee’s words what it is like “to be brown on the cusp of whiteness and on the edge of blackness”—looking at the social and political implications of what it is to be brown in the world today.

The Ryerson prof is not new to the nomination game, however. The last book he wrote was nominated five times, winning him one award.

“I feel particularly gratified. It was a very difficult book to do, it had nine different countries that I traveled to and it was a logistical nightmare,” he said.

Al-Solaylee is among 33 finalists in the English literature category and five in the non fiction category.
With Files from Jacob Dubé

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