By Paul Gessell
Ottawa author Sonia Saikaley launches her new novella The Lebanese Dishwasher on June 5. It’s a rather bleak tale about a young man who immigrates to Canada from Lebanon, works a dead-end job, and faces discrimination from other Lebanese ex-pats for being gay. But he does find love.
The manuscript of The Lebanese Dishwasher was written in three hurried weeks so the author could qualify for a chance to win the Ken Klonsky Novella Contest and get her book published by Quattro Books.
Well, Saikaley did win, although she was asked to rewrite some of the gay love scenes to make them seem more realistically gay. To accomplish that goal, Saikaley did more research, including watching some gay porn to see just exactly what it is two men do together.
Saikaley was recently interviewed by The Artful Blogger:
What is the genesis of The Lebanese Dishwasher? Were you inspired by something in particular to write this story?
The Lebanese Dishwasher began as a challenging writing exercise. I was having a tough time last year and feeling quite discouraged. I was approaching 40 and hadn’t yet had a book published after several years of writing. I actually thought about giving up writing altogether, giving up on my dream, but then I saw Quattro Books’ call for submissions to their Ken Klonsky Novella Contest and thought “why not submit something?” Unfortunately, I didn’t have a short story long enough or a novel I felt I could shorten and the deadline landed during a time that was impossible for me to meet, due to other circumstances in my life. I knew that if I wanted to enter this contest, I would have to complete a manuscript in three weeks. I thought I was crazy to think I could write an entire novella in that short time period, but then a friend said I’m not crazy at all, just ambitious! I was also very fortunate that Quattro Books was willing to give a new voice a chance. (more…)