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Book cover for alfabet/alphabet: a memoir of a first language, by Sadiqa de Meijer

alfabet/alphabet: a memoir of a first language

by Sadiqa de Meijer

Anstruther Books / Palimpsest Press

“Language as the mother of bond and breach is beautifully storied in Sadiqa de Meijer’s poignant and provocative memoir, alfabet/alphabet. This is a book that dreams of transforming migration, citizenship, families, nationhood and the very utterances upon which each is built. A deeply hopeful narrative about language itself, a singular exploration of the way that words build a home.”

—Peer assessment committee: Sarah de Leeuw, Amanda Leduc and Evelyn C. White


alfabet/alphabet is the record of Sadiqa de Meijer’s transition from speaking Dutch to English. Exploring ques­tions of identity, landscape, family, and translation, the essays navigate the shifting cultural currents of language by using an eclectic approach to storytelling. As such, fellow linguistic migrants to anglophone Canada will recog­nize elements of their experience in alfabet/alphabet, while lifelong English speakers will perceive their mother tongue in a new light.

Picture of Sadiqa de Meijer


Sadiqa de Meijer is a poet and writer of short stories and essays. She has written the poetry collections Leaving Howe Island and The Outer Wards. Her work has won the CBC Poetry Prize and Arc’s Poem of the Year Contest and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and the Raymond Souster Award. Her work has been published in Poetry Magazine, the WalrusBrick Magazine and Poetry London, among other journals, as well as several anthologies, including The Next Wave, Villanelles and The Best of Canadian Poetry. Sadiqa de Meijer lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario.

Photo: Cat London

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