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Rahela Nayebzadah

Rahela Nayebzadah is a school teacher in Surrey, BC who earned a PhD from the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia. Her dissertation (2018) is entitled “Red Tears of Pearl: Making Space for Afghan-Canadian Muslim Diasporas in Postcolonial Literature.” Nayebzadah earned an MA from Simon Fraser University where she studied in the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Her family’s migration to Canada from Afghanistan informs her autobiographical novel Jeegareh Ma.


Jeegareh Ma

Toronto: The Key Publishing House, 2012.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

Based on a true story, Jeegareh Ma is a testament to the power of love in the face of struggle and hardship. Ghulam and Firishta, a wealthy couple, move to Kabul, Afghanistan, to begin a new chapter in their lives. Firishta is diagnosed with meningitis and passes away, leaving their six young children motherless. Moving back to Herat, Ghulam and his family discover that their motherland is no longer the same: the Soviet Union has invaded, causing them to seek refuge in Iran. In Iran, Ali, an impoverished, dark-skinned, and plumpish man asks for Maryam’s hand in marriage. As Afghans living in Iran, Ali and his family are denied identity, worth, and value. Ali’s prayers are answered when he and his family are accepted by Canada as refugees. Jeegareh Ma is a story of courage where love, family, and God are put to the test.


Monster Child

Hamilton: Wolsak & Wynn, 2021.
PS8627.A94 M66 2021

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

In a powerful debut novel author Rahela Nayebzadah introduces three unforgettable characters, Beh, Shabnam and Alif. In a world swirling with secrets, racism and a touch of magic we watch through the eyes of these three children as Nayebzadah’s family of Afghan immigrants try to find their way in an often uncaring society. But as a sexual assault on thirteen-year-old Beh unleashes the past and destroys the family the reader is left wondering who is the monster child? Is it Beh, who says she is called a disease? Is it Shabnam, who cries tears of blood? Is it Alif, who in the end declares “We are a family of monsters”? Or are the monsters all around us?

2022 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC and Yukon Book Prizes)(Finalist)
2022 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize (BC and Yukon Book Prizes)(Finalist)


Publisher The Key Publishing House

Publisher Wolsak & Wynn

Interview with Misaq Kazimi of OneRising (November 7, 2021) on YouTube