She became interested in community organizing as a teen (primarily environmental issues, gender violence and LGBTTTIQ rights). From 2009-18, she curated the Brockton Writers Series and has been a volunteer with The Writers’ Union of Canada and the Writers’ Trust. She currently volunteers with WeSpeakOut, a global group that is working to ban female genital cutting in her Dawoodi Bohra community.
She studied social work in the early nineties and has been a social worker ever since. She worked in a variety of community agencies and a hospital before starting part-time private practice, where she sees individuals and couples.
She has been writing all of her life but it became a more regular practice around 2000, when she began writing her first novel, Stealing Nasreen, which was published by Inanna in 2007. Her second novel, Six Metres of Pavement, won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the 2012 Toronto Book Award. In 2017 it was voted the One Book One Brampton 2017 winner. Her third novel, All Inclusive was a Kobo 2015 and National Post Best Book of the Year.
While all her books are distinct from one another, some common themes include loss, relationships, community, healing, racism, LGBT rights, diasporic identity and feminism. She seamlessly blends strong stories with social justice issues. Her genre so far has been contemporary literary fiction, but here is usually a hint of magic realism in her stories.
She’s just completed a novel, Seven (August 2020, Dundurn), and a poetry collection. You Still Look the Same. She is currently at work on a YA novel. Farzana was recently named one of CBC Books’ “100 Writers in Canada You Need To Know Now”. She is represented by Rachel Letofsky of CookeMcDermid.
She’s an amateur Tarot card reader and has a love of spirituality, energy psychology, hypnosis and neuroscience.
She lives with her partner and dog near the lake in Etobicoke, the traditional territory of the Haudenosauneega, Anishinabek and Huron-Wendat peoples.
Sharon Babineau is a published author of the book “The Girl Who Gave Her Wish Away” a memoir about her daughter Maddie. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, as a motivational and wellness facilitator, presenting to corporations and students in Canada and the USA. Sharon is TEDX speaker and a past member of the Writers Union. She received funding from the Authors in the Schools program to travel and present to residential schools in northern Ontario. Sharon is a contributing author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books: Hooked on Hockey, Family Caregivers, and Hope and Miracles. Sharon completed the Raindance Screenwriting Foundation l & II program and is writing a screenplay based on her book. She recently pitched her movie idea at a Pitchfest in Hollywood.
Her next book which she is currently writing, “The Power of a Promise” is a teaching memoir, and extension of her first book. In this book, Sharon recounts her life and lessons learned after the passing of Maddie. How a promise she made to her daughter took her on an unexpected journey halfway around the world.
Sharon and her daughter Maddie’s story, which she will share today, has been featured on the reality TV Show “No Opportunity Wasted” by Phil Keoghan – host of the Amazing Race, and the Oprah Winfrey Network, Canada Show – Life Story Project.
Sharon is a decorated military soldier (retired), mountain climber, hockey player, and volunteer. Sharon started a not for profit in her daughter’s memory, Maddie’s Everlasting Wish. She has been recognized for the work she has done at home and in Africa and is the recipient of many awards including Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the YWCA Women of Distinction Award.
Sharon was on a meditation retreat in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains when the COVID 19 pandemic was declared. Temporarily stranded in India, Sharon finally arrived home the day the state of emergency for Ontario came into effect. Since then (and after her own meltdown) she has been writing her book and helping others cope with their stress and anxiety during this difficult time.
Joyce Wayne crafts the compelling narrative of Last Night of the World, knowing full well the world of Soviet spy Freda Linton. She herself grew up in a family where her father was a devoted member of the Communist Party of Canada until he lost his faith in the Bolsheviks.
Joyce has intimate knowledge and insights into the characters found in Last Night of the World.
She grew up a “red diaper baby” with direct experience and understanding of many of the characters in her novel. She is uniquely situated to write about this transformative period of Canadian history and the forces and personalities who provoked the beginning of the Cold War.
“I’ve heard tales of Igor Gouzenko’s defection from the time I was a child,” Joyce says. “Last Night of the World is the book I’ve always wanted to write. It is the story of the spark that ignited the Cold War from the point of view of the Canadian-Soviet spies exposed by Gouzenko, and who were charged with treason by the Canadian government. When I watched the T.V. series, The Americans, I knew the time was right to tell this story.”
Joyce Wayne is an award-winning literary journalist, a former editor at Quill & Quire and the author of the historical novel The Cook’s Temptation (Mosaic Press, 2013). For many years, she was the head of the journalism program at Sheridan College where she launched the Sheridan Centre for Internationally Trained Individuals. Joyce was a winner of the Diaspora Dialogues contest for short fiction and has been awarded the Fiona Mee Award for literary journalism. She lives in Oakville with her husband where she runs writing workshops for the Public Library and writes the bi-weekly blog RetirementMatters.ca .