Omar Mouallem has established himself as a talented young journalist and producer to watch. With the arrival of his important new book of non-fiction, Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas, he’s an important voice in Canadian literature with a long career ahead.
– Emerging Artist adjudicators
Omar Mouallem is an author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker known for his ability to intertwine human interest stories with world history and broad social issues. His travel memoir Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021 and nominated for two Alberta Literary Book Awards in the categories of Memoir and Nonfiction. His short film The Last Baron was hailed as “one of the best Canadian food documentaries” by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine and is currently being expanded into a feature retitled The Lebanese Burger Mafia. His writing, which often focuses on Muslim and Middle Eastern life, has also appeared in VICE, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian, and won three Canadian National Magazine Awards.
Omar also coauthored the national bestseller Inside the Inferno: A Firefighter’s Story of the Brotherhood that Saved Fort McMurray and co-directed Digging in the Dirt (with Dylan Rhys Howard), a raw look at the psychological toll of oil and gas labour. As an educator, Omar teaches journalism and creative nonfiction at various schools, including his own—Pandemic University School of Writing, a virtual school founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 fallout, which has been attended by more than 3,500 people from 60 countries.