Canada’S Largest Free Book Club Announces Summer Speaker Series Featuring Literary Stars Omar El Akkad, R.F. Kuang

(MENAFN- GlobeNewsWire - Nasdaq) Amnesty International Canada's book Club is a community that reads, learns and acts together toward a better world

Ottawa, ON, June 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two award-winning fiction authors will shine new light on some of the most pressing human rights issues of our time as part of the Amnesty International Canada book club 's summer conversation series.

On World Refugee Day (June 20), Oregon-based, Egyptian-Canadian author and journalist Omar El Akkad takes us beyond the headlines of the global refugee crisis with a live Q&A about his Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning 2021 novel What Strange Paradise .

“I first became aware of Amnesty's Book Club six years ago, when I was asked to help select a title for the club, and have been a big fan ever since,” says El Akkad.“Stories are one of our few sites of equal meeting, a place to nurture compassion, to better understand one another. I'm grateful to play a small part in Amnesty's efforts to bring people together, to share our stories.”

One month later, R.F. Kuang will delve into the inspiration behind – and her future aspirations for – her 2023 New York Times bestseller Yellowface , a searing satire about racism, cultural appropriation and making it big in the publishing industry. The date and time of the conversation will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

The host of Amnesty's Book Club conversations is Toronto-based artist, activist and poet Keosha Love . In her written work, Love closely explores the diverse narratives and identities of Black and racialized people to champion their stories and use Black joy as rebellion.

What Strange Paradise and Yellowface are two of the six titles on the reading list this year for Amnesty International Canada's Book Club. The Book Club spotlights novels that explore ideas and experiences connected to human rights. With 13,000 registered members and more than 300 library and bookstore partners, it's the largest free book club in Canada.

This year's selections for the Amnesty International Canada Book Club are:

  • January/February – The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr
  • March/April – Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
  • May/June – What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad
  • July/August – The Story of Us by Catherine Hernandez
  • September/October – Bad Cree by Jessica Johns
  • November/December – The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara

Amnesty International Canada publishes a Discussion Guide for each novel, which participants use to spark thoughtful conversations in local book clubs large and small. Each Discussion Guide also recommends practical things people can do now – for example, write a letter or sign an urgent online petition related to human rights issues explored in the novel – to effect change. The goal, of course, is empowering readers to turn inspiration into action.

“The purpose of the Amnesty Book Club is to build a Canada-wide community that reads, learns and acts together toward a better world,” says Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada's English-speaking section .“By engaging with the Book Club network, authors like Omar El Akkad and R.F. Kuang broaden our reach, help readers connect more deeply with the stories on the page, and move us all to take action. We are humbled by their participation.”

To receive updates on author events as soon as they're available, join the group's mailing list at .


  • What: Amnesty International Canada presents: An Evening with Omar El Akkad
  • When: June 20, 2024 (World Refugee Day), 7 to 8:30 p.m. ET (4 to 5:30 p.m. PT)
  • Where: Virtual presentation on Zoom (ASL interpretation and closed captioning will be provided)
  • To register: Go here to register for the event. You will be sent a confirmation email with a link to the webinar.

Amnesty International is a global movement of over 10 million people in more than 170 countries working together to protect and promote human rights. Our mission is to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave human rights abuses and demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.

CONTACT: Cory Ruf, Media Officer Amnesty International Canadian Section (English-Speaking) ...


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