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October 9, 2013
Kamal Al-Solaylee winner of the 2013 Toronto Book Award
Kamal Al-Solaylee is the winner of the 2013 Toronto Book Award for his memoir, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes. The announcement was made this evening at an awards ceremony at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram & Bluma Appel Salon.

“Congratulations to Kamal Al-Solaylee for Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes," said City of Toronto representative Councillor Gary Crawford (Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest). "In his memoir, Mr. Al-Solaylee explores the journey of a newcomer to Toronto who has left his culture behind to seek a more accepting community. The author gives us a unique insight into the diversity that makes up our great city. All of these shortlisted authors have given us wonderful books that evoke Toronto, and they can be very proud of their work.”

“Intolerable is a compelling read,” said City Librarian Jane Pyper. “It’s a memoir that explores many big themes in such a personal way: the importance of family, the search for identity, how culture shapes us and stays with us throughout our lives, and the importance of freedom and opportunity to realizing your life.”

The 2013 Toronto Book Awards Committee, made up of members Michael Booth (co-chair), Julia Chan, Tina Edan (co-chair), Diane Spivak and Karen Teeple, volunteered their time to read all of the books and select the shortlist and the winner from more than 70 entries.

Kamal Al-Solaylee, an associate professor and undergraduate program director at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University, was previously a theatre critic at the Globe and Mail. Also a former staffer at Report on Business magazine, he has written features and reviews for numerous publications, including the Toronto Star, National Post, The Walrus and Toronto Life. Al-Solaylee holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Nottingham and has taught at the University of Waterloo and York University.

Kamal Al-Solaylee's memoir, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.), was chosen from a list of finalists that included Patrick Cummins (photos) and Shawn Micallef (text) for their annotated book of photography, Full Frontal T.O. (Coach House Books); Kevin Irie for his collection of poetry, Viewing Tom Thomson, A Minority Report (Frontenac House Poetry); Aga Maksimowska for her novel, Giant (Pedlar Press); and Katrina Onstad for her novel, Everybody has Everything (McClelland & Stewart).

This year marks the 39th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards. Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the Toronto Book Awards honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. Each shortlisted author receives $1,000 and the winner receives an additional $10,000 in prize money. More information about the awards and what the jury members said about the shortlisted books is available at

About Toronto Public Library
Toronto Public Library is one of the world's busiest urban public library systems. Every year, 19 million people visit branches in neighbourhoods across the city and borrow 32 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit or call Answerline at 416-393-7131. To get the most current updates on what's happening at the library, follow @torontolibrary on Twitter.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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