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Posts Tagged ‘alevi’

Dance of the Banished is “a dynamic and compelling story” says Worlds of Words

Posted on May 10th, 2017 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websiteDance of the Banished is based on true accounts about Alevi Kurds who were victims of war in Anatolia and the Canadian government’s internment camps in Ontario during World War I. The novel sheds light on the subtleties of cultural groups within geographical regions and their fate at the hands of the more powerful….

A dynamic and compelling story with likeable and realistic characters, this fictionalized narrative about how war often makes no distinctions between cultural groups will appeal to middle and secondary readers interested in history, romance, and how political movements on an international scale often wreak havoc at the local and individual levels. A deeply engaging plot that addresses many of the nuances of World War I, this book will make a great companion to Sanders’ series, The Rachel Trilogy, as well as Between Shades of Gray (Ruta Sepetys, 2012), which also address the concepts of movement, transitions, and how politics disrupt individual lives….”
—Holly Johnson, University of Cincinnati

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The National Reading Campaign recommends Dance of the Banished for adults as well as teens

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_HR_RGB“…Zeynep, fierce and bold, and Ali, caring and principled, live in the same village in Anatolia and plan to marry. Unexpectedly, Ali is sent to Canada and Zeynep is left behind. Each writes in a journal for the other, but as war comes to both countries it is unlikely their words will ever be shared. Still, they keep on. Zeynep writes an eyewitness account of the genocide from the point of view of the Alevi Kurds, telling a little known side of this tragic story. Ali, in turn, gives an accounting of life in an internment camp in, surprisingly, Kapuskasing. For each, the journal entries are a coping mechanism, a way to bear witness to the atrocities of war and ultimately, to bring justice.

Skrypuch’s compelling characters give an authentic voice to this well researched story. It is definitely a book for adults as well as teens. And although it is a story of war it includes moments of great joy, making it much more than a tragedy…”—Penny Draper

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Dance of the Banished “meticulously researched and sensitively written”—Urve Tamberg

Posted on September 3rd, 2014 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_HR_RGB“…Meticulously researched and sensitively written…In her nineteenth book, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch again gives a revealing and compassionate voice to an under-represented group of people, and shines a light on little-known events in history. Writing about historical injustices for young adults requires a solid grip of the events, sensitivity, and the ability to juggle multiple perspectives in order to create a compelling story that not only keeps us turning the pages, but also brings forward truths that may have been forgotten or buried. Dance of the Banished enlightens us about the plight of the Alevi Kurds during World War 1, saddens us as we find out about the massacre of the Armenians, and maybe even embarrasses us as we discover how “foreigners” were treated in Ontario. Her characters are human, and multifaceted, and make us think about how we would react in times of great stress if our homeland, families, or loved ones were in danger. The answers are never easy, and Marsha does not shy away from difficult and heart-wrenching choices.”

Click here to read the full review.

Dance of the Banished Book Launch

Posted on August 25th, 2014 by pajamapress

On Friday, August 22nd at 11 am, one hundred plaques were unveiled across Canada. They commemorated Canada’s enemy alien internment operations in the First World War, a little-known part of our history that saw Canadian citizens imprisoned in camps across the country because they had immigrated here from nations with which the British Empire was now at war.


The vast majority of internees were Ukrainian, targeted because their passports read “Austrian.” Canadian immigration officials did not make a distinction between ethnic Austrians and others who then belonged to—and were even persecuted by—the Austrian empire. Similarly, all immigrants from the Ottoman Empire were labelled “Turks.”

In 1914, one hundred of these “Turks”—really Alevi Kurds—were rounded up in Brantford, Ontario, on the charge of having plotted to destroy the post office. Although the charge was proven to be false, they were sent to the wilderness of Kapuskasing to build and then occupy a prison camp there.

At Friday’s ceremony, hosted by the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St. John, Ukrainians came together with Armenians, Kurds, dignitaries, and supporters of Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, who put together many pieces of this history while researching her newest novel, Dance of the Banished. This young adult historical novel tells the stories of two Alevi teenagers in the First World War: Ali, who comes to Brantford to work and is interned in Kapuskasing, and his fiancée Zeynep, who is left behind in their homeland of Anatolia where she helps other Alevi Kurds rescue 40,000 of their Armenian neighbours from the Armenian Genocide.

A launch was held for Dance of the Banished following the plaque unveiling. Below, reviewer Helen Kubiw of CanLit for LittleCanadians (left) poses with the author and a signed copy of the book.


For more information about Dance of the Banished, visit the following links.

For more information about the recognition of Canada’s internment operations, visit the links below.