By (author): Rima Elkouri

Translated by: Howard Scott, Phyllis Aronoff

Finalist for the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, 2022

Translated from French by Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott.

Léa is a teacher. She does not believe in silence and secrecy, and this is what she always tells her pupils. Silence isn’t a large part of the inheritance she received from her Téta, her beloved Armenian grandmother, who has just died at the age of one hundred and seven. Regularly over the years her large Armenian family would gather around Téta, and she would tell stories. But there is one story that she refused to tell. As soon as Léa brought it up, Téta quickly changed the subject. Now Léa wants to find out and understand the story of her ancestors. She goes to Turkey, and with the help of a Kurdish filmmaker and guide, visits her ancestral village, Manam. She learns that during the Armenian genocide at the beginning of the twentieth century, almost the entire population of Manam was killed or fled to exile in Syria. How did her grandmother and her family survive? Rima Elkouri, with great sensitivity paints the portrait of a family that wills itself to survive.


Howard Scott

Howard Scott was born in southwestern Ontario and moved to Quebec in 1975. His translation of “L’Euguélionne” by Louky Bersianik won the Governor General Literary Award in 1997. He has translated many poetry, fiction, and non-fiction titles, often in collaboration with Phyllis Aronoff. In 2001, they won the Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Award and in 2009 they were shortlisted for the Governor General Literary Award. He is a past president of the Literary Translators Association of Canada. He lives in Montreal.


Phyllis Aronoff

Phyllis Aronoff, a Montrealer born and bred, translates from French to English, solo or with co-translator Howard Scott. She has translated fiction, poetry, memoirs, and works in the humanities by authors from Québec and France. Among her recent translations are Message Sticks / Tshissinuatshitakana, poems by Innu writer Joséphine Bacon, and novels (co-translated with Howard Scott) by Rima Elkouri and Edem Awumey. Her translations have won several prizes, including the Jewish Book Award for Fiction and, with Howard Scott, the Quebec Writers’ Federation Translation Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation. Phyllis is a past president of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada and has represented translators on the Public Lending Right Commission of Canada.


Rima Elkouri

Born in Montreal, Rima Elkouri is a journalist and columnist for La Presse. Winner of the Jules-Fournier Prize of the Superior Council of the French Language, she published Pas envie d’être arabe (Somme toute, 2014). Manam is her first novel. She lives in Montreal.


Manam sings us through the fictional life of its protagonist’s grandmother. Elkouri’s writing is lyrical and soothing as she resurrects the hard early life of her own grandmother who survived the decimation of Armenia in 1915. She approaches the reality of war with words that commemorate the life of her Teta. Elkouri writes, “what is worse than death is forgetting.” Her work fulfills the curiosity we carry of our ancestors and is a reminder to all of us to honour their lives and, more importantly, to never forget them.” –Jury panel, 2022 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

“…layered, surprising, and transformative.” —Montreal Review of Books

“It’s a very, very beautiful novel. A real page turner.” –Radio-Canada / Montreal

“The word hope is important. Frequently, it comes back. The hope of a better life when you arrive in a new country, the hope that can hold when you have to stay in the one that is at war.” —La Presse

“Wonderful, intense, powerful, singular, beautiful novel.” —Les Herbes folles, CISM


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144 Pages
8.20in * 5.40in * 1.00in


October 29, 2021



Book Subjects:

FICTION / Cultural Heritage

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