By Brigid McNutt
Jalal Barzanji and Harold Johnson shared the podium Friday morning at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words. With one author having just returned home and the who left home in search of another, the pair kept the audience captivated with their heart-felt readings and stories.
Featuring his latest novel The Man in Blue Pyjamas at the festival, Barzanji is a poet and writer covering topics such as peace, democracy and freedom. Born in Kurdistan, he was faced with imprisonment and torture for his literary achievements under Suddam Hussein’s regime.
Barzanji and his family came to Canada in 1998, and he now resides in Edmonton. At the end of the presentation he answered audience questions about writing poems in jail and smuggling in scraps of paper to write on. He spoke of living in different countries, and keeping his old home with him while he made a new one — finding new inspiration for his writing in his new surroundings.
For more on this story read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.