Finalist for the 2022 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize
Elegant, surprising stories about Palestinian immigrants in Canada navigating their identities in circumstances that push them to the emotional brink.
Saeed Teebi’s intense, engrossing stories plunge into the lives of characters grappling with their experiences as Palestinian immigrants to Canada. A doctor teaches his girlfriend about his country, only for her to fall into a consuming obsession with the Middle East conflict. A math professor risks his family’s destruction by slandering the king of a despotic, oil-rich country. A university student invents an imaginary girlfriend to fit in with his callous, womanizing roommates. A lawyer takes on the impossible mission of becoming a body smuggler. A lonely widower travels to Russia in search of a movie starlet he met in his youth in historical Jaffa. A refugee who escaped violent circumstances rebels against the kindness of his sponsor. These taut and compelling stories engage the immigrant experience and reflect the Palestinian diaspora with grace and insight.
About the author
SAEED TEEBI is a writer and lawyer based in Toronto. His story “Her First Palestinian” was shortlisted for the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize. He was born to Palestinian parents in Kuwait and, after some time in the U.S., has lived in Canada since 1993.
- Short-listed, Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Teebi perfectly captures intergenerational and intercultural tension in stories as brilliant and cutting as finely hewn diamonds.
Dryly witty and cynical ... Teebi’s prose is crisp and calmly civilized.
Winnipeg Free Press
Each story in Teebi’s collection crackles with wit, intensity and elegance . . . A probing and absolutely unforgettable book.
The Miramichi Reader
A deeply moving collection.
Sometimes a writer comes along whose stories are not only complex and full and exquisitely written, but whose vision and political voice feels necessary. In Her First Palestinian, Saeed Teebi coaxes the reader in a certain direction, and then flips the narrative so that now we are complicit, and we see our own guilt in the great divide that exists between the privileged and the stranger. Teebi does this with subtle humour and a wry tone. He does not preach, yet his writing expresses a certain fervour that is essential. He is a vital voice.
Jury Citation, Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize