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Sigal Samuel

Sigal Samuel is a novelist, journalist, essayist and playwright who was born in Montreal to parents who are Iraqi Jews. Samuel earned a BA in Philosophy from McGill University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She now lives in Washington, DC. Her newest publication is a biography for children: Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi (Levine Querido, 2021).


The Mystics of Mile End

Calgary: Freehand Books, 2015.

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

The Meyer family lives in Mile End, home to a mashup of hipsters and Hasidic Jews, where down the street crazy Mr. Katz is building a tree out of plucked leaves, toilet paper rolls, and dental floss. When David, a skeptical professor of religion, is diagnosed with an unusual heart murmur, he becomes convinced that his heart is whispering divine secrets.

But when David’s frenzied attempts to ascend the Tree of Life lead to tragedy, his daughter Samara, who abruptly abandoned religion years earlier, believes it is up to her to finish what she started. As Samara’s brother documents her increasingly strange behaviour, it falls to next-door neighbour and Holocaust survivor Chaim Glassman to shatter the silence that divides the members of the Meyer family. But can he break through to them in time?

Long-held family secrets square off against faith and secularity in this remarkable debut novel, written with extraordinary heart and intelligence.

Awards and Honours

2016 Canadian Jewish Literary Award–Fiction (Winner)
2016 Book of the Year–Trade Fiction (Alberta Book Publishing Awards) (Winner)


Sigal Samuel personal website

Publisher Freehand Books