THE BOOK

 Landed: Transformative Stories of Canadian Immigrant Women is an anthology of stories from women worldwide who have made Canada home. Both a love letter to the places they have left behind, and an exploration of the bittersweet parts of immigration, this book inspires, builds bridges, and celebrates diverse voices. Far from fiction, the 37 stories in this book represent the many others waiting to be told within the vast landscapes of our country. 

In the introduction, Gayathri provides a backdrop of our current times, given the rising mistrust of anyone who looks like a “foreigner.” Yet, unless we are of Indigenous origin, we are all immigrants. In the concluding chapter, Elena weaves together our common themes of love, loss, belonging, and contribution to Canada’s prosperity and multiculturalism. Whether your family moved recently or centuries ago, it is still possible to relate to one another through the power of storytelling. 

We thank all our participants who courageously brushed shoulders with vulnerability in telling their tales. We are also grateful to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani AOE, B.Sc., LLD (hon) for writing a preface message for the book, and Salima Stanley-Bhanji, CEO Humainologie, for writing the Foreword.

THE LAUNCH

We officially launched on Sep 17, 2022, and welcomed 250 guests at our in-person book signing and celebration eventWithin 3 days of being published on Amazon, it became a bestseller in multiple categories, including Women Writers, Canadian Regional Biographies, and Immigrants & Emigrants Biographies.

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THE PROJECT TEAM

This project was made possible by a grant from Calgary Arts Development awarded to Gayathri Shukla, author and project lead. It was supported by project manager and co-author, Elena Esina, editor Lindy Pfiel, along with editing support by Mounira Chehade.

Learn more about our project here.

THE COVER

The cover art for our book is designed by one of our own authors, Cynthia Cabrera, a watercolor painter whose art infuses traditional realism with a surreal dreamlike quality.

The space between reality and dream is in fact the ‘in-between’ that many immigrants journey through, often landing with nothing but a suitcase with memories and mementos of the places left behind, but also filled with hopes and dreams for the road ahead. Our stories explore that space…between past and future…goodbyes and welcomes…tradition and transformation…and much, much more.

Thank you Cynthia for sharing your art with us!

THE PROCESS

Gayathri led all writers through a series of workshops using the evidence-based storytelling method of guided autobiography. The workshops were designed around the immigration theme and included guided prompts to evoke memories; creativity exercises to encourage self-reflection; and peer-peer feedback for story development. 

To celebrate the collective spirit of our project, each participant also shared a phrase capturing the essence of their story. All phrases were compiled into this word collage, as inspired by a poem called ‘Where I am From’ by George Ella Lyon. 

37 AUTHORS FROM 30 COUNTRIES
MEET THE AUTHORS
Ado Nkemka

Ado Nkemka

Ado Nkemka (she/her) is a musician and journalist based in Calgary, AB, Canada. Her bylines include Afros in Tha City, Toast and Avenue Magazine. Her work centers arts and culture, identity development, neurodivergence, as well as the subversion of cultural expectations and social norms. She loves interviewing brilliant minds – profiling people, businesses and organizations that value community care.

Adriana Sartori

Adriana Sartori

Adriana Sartori is known for her compassion. Working full time as a business owner and Pilates instructor, her passion is to help others feel better physically and emotionally. As an Italian/Brazilian she makes them laugh during exercise so that they forget how hard it was. With her bachelor’s in physical therapy, she helps her clients achieve their goals and prevent injuries. She’s a loving wife who loves to mountain bike, rock-climb, and paddle board with her husband.

Amen Kaur

Amen Kaur

Amen Kaur has a BA in psychology and is a certified mindfulness facilitator, born and raised in Calgary, Canada. She practices mindfulness in her daily life through meditation and creative outlets like writing, designing interiors, or arranging flowers with her son. Amen Kaur is the author of the best-selling children's book Dealing with My Feelings, about how to work through difficult emotions mindfully, and Raise Me with Empathy, a book on the impact of self-love from a child's perspective. She is passionate about mindful parenting and runs an Instagram blog page devoted to it (@mindfulgentlemama).

Anam Kazim

Anam Kazim

Anam Kazim holds a masters degree in biochemical / enviornmental engineering, and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. She has also authored publications in various fields. Kazim was elected in 2015 as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Calgary-Glenmore. Prior to politics, she spent two years as an application engineer in the manufacturing industry. After politics, she ran her own business of honey as an entrepreneur, and co-founded HoneyVista Inc. Her most recent venture is the creation of her personalized perfume called "INTRIGUE." For Anam, integrity is a person's ornament and diversity is the world's jewel.

Anna Zakharova

Anna Zakharova

Anna Zakharova is an Internally Displaced Person from Crimea, Ukraine who fled from Russia’s military invasion in 2014. Anna is a Fulbright alumna with a master’s in international studies from Old Dominion University and a master’s in community social work, from the University of Calgary. Anna has worked as an administrative assistant with the United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, at a homeless shelter and a large construction company in Edmonton. She is an active member of the Ukrainian Youth Association Canada and “Vatra” Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. Anna also appeared as a guest on our podcast, Hearth 2 Heart, to talk about her journey.

Anusha Kassan

Anusha Kassan

Anusha Kassan was born in Montreal, to a South Asian father and French-Canadian mother. She grew up very close to her two younger sisters. Her lived experience led her to pursue graduate studies in psychology. Anusha is currently an Associate Professor with a High Impact Position in Child and Youth Mental Health in the School and Applied Child Psychology Program at the University of British Columbia. Her scholarly interests are informed by her own bi-cultural identities, and hence are informed by an overarching social justice lens. Anusha’s program of research presently includes two major foci. First, she is studying immigration experiences across different groups (i.e., newcomer youth, women, 2SLGBTQIA+ peoples). Second, she is conducting teaching and learning research, investigating cultural and social justice responsiveness in professional psychology. This scholarship has important implications for psychology training, practice, and research as well as policies related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Benazir Rahman

Benazir Rahman

Benazir Rahman, born and raised in Bangladesh, moved to Canada with her husband and toddler 18 months ago. By profession she is a researcher. Her research areas of interest are international trade, social work, and post-secondary education. She loves to connect with new people and motivate others. She believes in making a difference by giving back to the community. Currently, she is helping Afghan refugees to find meaningful employment.

Charlotte Anyango Ong'ang'a

Charlotte Anyango Ong'ang'a

Charlotte Anyango Ong'ang'a is a linguist, career development specialist and storyteller. She holds a PhD in linguistics, a master’s in teaching English to speakers of other languages and a bachelor’s in English language and literature. Her expert linguistic knowledge is applied in the areas of resume, CV and cover letter writing, networking, interview preparation, job search strategies, and workplace communication. Charlotte has taught linguistics, communication skills and provided career guidance at higher education institutions for over 12 years in different countries. As a hobby, Charlotte enjoys reading and writing memoirs. She also appeared as a guest on our podcast, Hearth 2 Heart, to talk about her journey.

Chelsea Yang-Smith

Chelsea Yang-Smith

Chelsea Yang-Smith (she/they) is a visual artist, photographer, and emerging writer living and creating work in Mohkinstsis, Calgary, Alberta. Her current art practice has been thematically exploring their Burmese Canadian heritage and family history through photography, printmaking, and book arts.

Cynthia Cabrera

Cynthia Cabrera

Cynthia Cabrera is a contemporary realist painter and designer born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She earned a bachelor’s in interior design and later a diploma in graphic design. Currently residing in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and two kids, she has regained full focus on her fine art. Her art infuses traditional realism with a surreal dreamlike quality and could be best described as conceptual realism or narrative symbolism.

Elena Esina

Elena Esina

Elena Esina is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary where she currently manages a large-scale initiative called Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence. Elena holds a master’s in social work from the University of Calgary and a bachelor’s in financial management from the Petrozavodsk State University in Russia. As part of her desire to give back, she provides mentorship to immigrant women and has hosted work experience placements in Calgary for 40+ women from all over the world. This is her first book, and she hopes it will inspire, bring awareness, and spread kindness.

Emily Yu

Emily Yu

Emily Yu (she/her) is a first-generation Chinese Canadian born to Hong Kong immigrants. She is a writer and a dreamer, living on Moh'kinsstis Treaty 7 territory, also known as Calgary, Alberta. Her short story, The In-Between, was selected for the Humainologie Short Story Festival in 2021. She can be found occasionally on Twitter @emilyyu_writes.

Gayathri Shukla

Gayathri Shukla

Gayathri Shukla is the Founder of Campfire Kinship, and project lead for Landed. Apart from facilitating workshops to help all writers tell their stories, and co-editing, Gayathri has also written the introduction chapter, and her own immigration story for the book. Landed is her first book and it introduces you to immigrant women from across the world who have made Calgary home. Their stories draw on your emotions and make you reflect on what it means to find belonging.

Geri Livell

Geri Livell

For as long as she can remember, Geri Livell has been fascinated with storytelling. Besides fruit and dark chocolate, she loves writing, reading, watching movies, and dancing. Her love for storytelling started with writing in her secret journal, writing letters to pen pals and friends, and writing short stories for fun. Whether with words or body movements, Geri uses storytelling to express emotions and reach people’s hearts. Her hope is to inspire others to follow their dreams and find fulfillment in life.

Humirah Sultani

Humirah Sultani

Humirah Sultani is a self-taught multimedia creative based out of Calgary, Alberta. Her canvas includes traditional illustration, digital painting, photography and creative writing with a special focus on storytelling and reconciling cultural identity. Recognizing the importance of education as a catalyst for freedom, independence and autonomy, she has cherished every opportunity to learn and perfect her craft. She blends her family’s experiences as Hazara Afghan refugees in Canada with her professional work as a pharmacist in pediatric oncology in order to tell the complex, uplifting and often heartbreaking stories of her generation.

Inez Ashworth

Inez Ashworth

Inez, founder of Inclusive Concepts, is a cultural innovator and a trusted advocate with her own unique style. In school she was the one standing up to bullies, making friends with the new kid, and boasting crazy hairs colours. Her life and career have been dedicated to working for equality and justice, ringing people together and creating inclusive environments where everyone can be their authentic self. Much of Inez’s energy and inspiration comes from community work, volunteering, and mentoring minority students. She counts herself lucky to be one of the people following their dreams.

Jesiebelle Salcedo

Jesiebelle Salcedo

Jesiebelle Salcedo is a Filipina Canadian teacher, reader, and writer based in Calgary, Alberta. She holds a bachelor’s degrees in Canadian studies and Elementary English as an additional language from the University of Calgary. To date, she has worked with many first-generation and immigrant youth in local non-profit settings and within the school system, fueling her passion for anti-racism education. In her spare time, Jesiebelle enjoys baking up a storm, exploring new foods, creating pottery pieces, and spending time with her friends and family.

Karen Durham

Karen Durham

Karen Durham is of Anglo-Indian origin. She immigrated to Canada from Dubai, U.A.E. in 1997. She has lived and studied (secondary and post-secondary) in Calgary ever since. She is a registered yoga instructor, writer, and artist. She loves to learn about her family roots (stories and tradition) and about other cultures through travel. Her newest role is as wife, and she looks forward to creating stories with her darling husband.

Karishma Sutar

Karishma Sutar

Karishma Sutar is a budding poet who loves to express herself through writing poems. Writing for her serves as healing and an opportunity for reflection. She has written extensively about her family members and friends, expressing her admiration and gratitude. Her loved ones receive poems as birthday gifts. She personalizes these poems by adding details about their strengths, achievements, and journeys. She often adds humor and has a knack for adding a personal touch by expressing her emotions and feelings in words beautifully. She hopes to continue this passion for writing and to create blogs in the future.

Kazlinda Khalid

Kazlinda Khalid

Kazlinda Khalid was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is a first-generation immigrant. She spent eight years in Glasgow, Scotland, before moving back to Malaysia to attend high school. She studied Law at the MARA Institute of Technology and became a qualified lawyer in Malaysia. Currently, Kazlinda is an occupational health and safety associate with an international logistics company and is excited to see where her path takes her. Pre-COVID, she enjoyed travelling the world with her family, and during the lockdown, she learned to play guitar badly. Kazlinda lives with her husband and three children and is proud to call Calgary home.

Kelly Kaur

Kelly Kaur

Kelly Kaur grew up in Singapore and lives in Calgary. Kelly teaches at Mount Royal University and Athabasca University. She has been published in Qatar, Italy, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Canada, Berlin, Prague, Australia, India, and the United States. Some works have appeared in New Asian Short Stories 2015, The Best Asian Stories 2020, and The Best Asian Poetry 2021. Her poems have been published in the International Human Rights Art Festival in New York. She has been published on UNESCO’s Cities of Literature website. Her novel, Letters to Singapore, was released on May 1, 2022, by Stonehouse Publishing.

Kewen Wood

Kewen Wood

Kewen Wood is a strategic sourcing specialist for ETCH Sourcing Ltd. based in Calgary, Alberta. Born and raised in China, she immigrated to Canada in 2013. Kewen is a lifelong learner. She holds a master’s in geology and is an MBA candidate. She actively advocates for equity, inclusion, and social responsibility at workplaces. She aspires to help newcomer women to liberate, feel belonging and find inner peace.

Larissa Ramazanova

Larissa Ramazanova

Larissa Ramazanova is happily married with three daughters. She landed in Calgary as a new immigrant in November 2012. In 2021, after being a stay-at-home mother for a decade, she started an educator career with the Calgary Board of Education. Though her job as a lunch supervisor gives her much joy and satisfaction, she plans to become an education assistant in special education. She loves working with children and believes that all kids deserve happiness and a quality education.

Maria Divina Gracia Tanguin-Galura

Maria Divina Gracia Tanguin-Galura

Maria Divina Gracia Tanguin-Galura migrated to Canada with her husband Terry in 2011. They are raising three daughters in Calgary and enjoy weekend trips to Banff for fun. Maria’s bright smile is reflected in her numerous delightful creations for the community. In September 2022, it will be 5 years since her first balloon art installation. She is thrilled to do more across Canada.

Mariella Villalobos

Mariella Villalobos

Mariella Villalobos is an award-winning illustrator, graphic designer, and lecturer still straddling two worlds – currently Calgary, Canada and Glasgow, UK. She graduated from the Alberta University of the Arts’ visual communication design program in 2010 and completed her master’s in illustration at the Glasgow School of Art in 2019. She can be found in cinemas, right up front at concerts (due to her height), playing piano and bass guitar, bingeing documentaries with her partner, and trying to visit every country she possibly can – often specifically to try their food.

Marina Yulpatova

Marina Yulpatova

Marina Yulpatova was born and raised in Russia. She graduated from Gorky State University with a bachelor’s in applied math and started her career as a computer programmer. After working for 17 years in the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Science in Nizhny Novgorod, she moved to Canada with her family in 2004. She received a business analysis certificate from Mount Royal University and continued her IT career as a business and systems analyst in higher education institutions. Marina likes to travel, read books, and write short stories. Her hobbies include watercolor painting, ikebana, yoga, and Pilates.

Martina Mukete

Martina Mukete

Martina Mukete holds a bachelor’s from the University of Ottawa with a major in public administration, an Algonquin College diploma in journalism, and a health care aide certificate from Bow Valley College, Calgary. Martina works as a program assistant with NSERC. Prior to joining NSERC, she worked as a health care aide at St. Teresa’s place (Covenant Care) and at Agecare Glenmore. Martina loves art (painting) and is also the author of Beautiful Scars, a poetry collection on Amazon.ca. Art is therapy and medicine to her soul.

Melike Tasdelen

Melike Tasdelen

Melike Tasdelen moved from Turkey to Canada by herself after graduating from accounting in 2013. She also has a degree from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and works as an accountant. She recently married and enjoys singing and hiking.

Miriam Fabijan

Miriam Fabijan

Miriam Fabijan is a Calgary-based artist. Her artwork is autoethnographic. Her focused research and creative explorations are founded in her cultural heritage, personal narratives, self-reflection, and social insights. Her search for a sense of place, lineage, voice, language, and identity are central to her work. Fabijan has exhibited her artwork extensively across Canada and in Europe, including in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 1992, a year after Slovenia became an independent country. Instagram: @MiriamFabijan

Saawan Logan

Saawan Logan

Saawan Logan is the Founder and CEO of North Water. She has worked across Asia Pacific, Australia and more recently, Canada. She spent most of her career in oil and gas and has always had a keen eye for a business opportunity. Saawan started North Water as a pledge to end plastic pollution while bringing to the world pristine, Canadian spring water. She enjoys spending time in nature, travelling and cooking. Saawan is involved in the community and volunteers with initiatives where she can make a difference. She believes in hearing everyone out and providing meaningful opportunities for everyone.

Shinobu Apple

Shinobu Apple

Shinobu Apple, PhD is an author, independent researcher, and translator. Her research interests are Buddhist meditative practices, Buddhism and women, engaging Buddhism for social change and peace building. She volunteers as co-chair for the Floating Lantern Peace Ceremony, an annual summer event to honor those who were impacted by nuclear weapons in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and all over the world.

Shivi Agarwal

Shivi Agarwal

Shivi Agarwal holds a master's in management and has years of experience in human resources and learning & development. She currently works as customer success manager with Kudos®. In her previous work tenure in Calgary, she helped 100+ clients transition from the oil and gas division to find employment in the tech sector. Shivi also runs a talk show in Calgary, The Startup Impact, as a side hustle. The saying she lives by is: "The only thing that matters is who you want to become and the price you are willing to pay to get there."

Dr. Swati Dhingra

Dr. Swati Dhingra

Dr. Swati Dhingra is a research coordinator at the University of Calgary. With her unique background in dentistry and oral medicine from India, she brings an exceptional blend of knowledge and expertise in academic, clinical and community research. She has contributed to several multi-disciplinary research projects at U of C and has been a part of community research projects with Alberta Health Services. Dr. Dhingra is passionate about social work and always looks for meaningful ways to give back to the community. She is also a trained classical Indian dancer and has an extraordinary love for music and travel.

Tatiana Oshchepkova

Tatiana Oshchepkova

Tatiana Oshchepkova is a coordinator for the Canadian Network on Information and Security (CANIS) with the University of Calgary. She is responsible for the daily operations and strategic vision of the network through planning and coordinating interdisciplinary activities, events, and outreach initiatives. Previously, she worked in various administrative roles in both business and non-profit sectors, including coordination of national and provincial research projects, educational programs, and employment services for the immigrant population in Calgary. Tatiana holds MSW and BSW degrees from the University of Calgary, and a BSc from the Ural Federal University, Russia.

Vita Leung

Vita Leung

Vita is Canadian-born Chinese, a jook sing in Cantonese. This sounds like “bamboo star” and translates to “no access at both ends.” Raised in Scarborough, Ontario, she now lives in Scarboro, Calgary with her husband, her son, and Kitty the Toronto street cat. They live in a house built in 1929 that does not resemble Hong Kong in any way, except for the orchid collection. Vita sounds like her Chinese name, which means “the abundance of virtue.” She’s Catholic and doesn’t believe in Hong Kong superstitions.

Yelena Sedova

Yelena Sedova

Yelena Sedova is a blogger and the founder of a cabinet making company. She has an engineering degree and worked in marketing and advertising for over 20 years. Born in Russia, raised in Kazakhstan, Yelena currently lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband and two children. She has suffered from migraines for over 35 years and has developed a comprehensive method for getting rid of headaches, which has saved her. She is currently writing a book on this method, in the hopes that she can help others.

Zoong Nguyễn

Zoong Nguyễn

Zoong Nguyễn was born in Saigon, Việtnam, and came to Canada at the end of the Vietnam War. She has lived in Montreal and Ottawa and has been in Calgary since 2005, with her husband and puppy Azo. She’s a retired bookkeeper and graphic designer. With her two daughters now grown, Zoong dedicates her time to her art projects. She has always liked writing personal stories, and during the first COVID-19 lockdown, she started her memoir of life as a new Canadian. She has used acrylic paints to tell parts of the story and has exhibited her works.

FAQ: LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PROJECT

Many existing books on women’s achievements showcase highly successful female leaders and represent only a small percentage of immigrant women. One of Campfire Kinship’s goals is to go beyond that approach and amplify a variety of underrepresented voices which might otherwise go unheard.

Every year, thousands of highly skilled immigrants choose to make Canada their home. Immigrant women play crucial roles in the fabric of Canadian economic success and social harmony. However, they face unique and complex challenges on their path to successful integration due to societal stigma, stereotypes and misperceptions, which have been exacerbated in light of COVID-19 pandemic. 

The question, “why did you come?” lingers, devoid of appreciation for the role that immigration plays in creating Canadian prosperity. Although the need to support this population group has been recognized, our mainstream media lacks a nuanced understanding of their lived experiences. This anthology provides first-hand perspective to identify gaps, patterns, and successes. We hope that storytelling in this way will help unite people and ideas, convey culture and values, and inspire change.

Typically in an anthology, writers are asked to submit a polished story in a call for submissions. The unique feature of this book was that it centered voices of immigrant women by equipping them with full support to take their stories from idea development to publication. This was done through a series of workshops led by Gayathri using guided autobiography. Gayathri has implemented this method in her leadership development training, enabling participants to prioritize skills of empathy, curiosity, and respect in order to advance their EDI goals.

In the case of this project, the workshops further enhanced writers’ ability to unearth memories and distill them into a short testimony, 900-1500 words each. The benefit of the group setting ensured camaraderie, accountability, and expediency while creating an opportunity for each participant to retain their authentic voice through writing in a safe and supportive group setting. The participants also engaged in several rounds of editing to ensure consistency and quality in the final product.

Last but not least, the entire process was free of cost to participants, thanks to generous support from Calgary Arts Development.

We encouraged first or second generation immigrant women and non-gender conforming folks in Calgary to apply if they were looking to:

  • Give voice to their story and share it with others.
  • Bring awareness to the types of barriers faced by professional immigrant women, and provide insights for potential employers, decision-makers, and policy-makers. 
  • Empower countless others including those who are just starting their journey.
  • Leave a lasting legacy that illuminates the positive impacts of immigration in Canadian society.

We have 37 authors representing 30 countries of origin:

Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada (second-generation immigrants), China, Chile, England, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam.

For every person who has ever wondered what it is like to be an immigrant, this book will spark your curiosity to walk in the shoes of those who identify as immigrants. Many Canadians might have already created their own narrative of who an immigrant might be, and we hope this book will challenge perspectives in the best way possible. Challenging perspectives through stories that fill people with empathy is how we hope to help our fellow citizens grow. Moreover, these stories will be an inspiring and empowering read for any immigrant woman, especially those just starting their journey.

Absolutely! Please send us a message or set up a time to discuss your needs.

Our book is available on AmazonIndigo, and select local bookstores including Owl’s Nest, Shelf Life Books and Pages (in Calgary), or Audrey’s Bookstore in Edmonton.

Yes, depending on quantity. Please send us a message letting us know the quantity you’re looking to order.

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