Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt, her essays and poems have appeared in Best Canadian Essays 2019 and Best Canadian Essays 2015, The New Quarterly, Grain, EVENT, Prairie Fire, Malahat Review, subTerrain, carte blanche, Antigonish Review, Room, The Masters Review Anthology X (forthcoming), Queens Quarterly (forthcoming), Syncopation Literary Journal (forthcoming) and The Toronto Star, among other publications. She holds an MA from McGill University and an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Tanya’s poetry collection Chaos Theories of Goodness. published with (Shoreline, Press will be out this coming spring ( 2022) She is the author of Peacekeeper’s Daughter: Middle East Memoir, it was published this fall by Thistledown Press, 2021 and nominated for the Quebec Writers’ Federation Mavis Gallant Award for Nonfiction. It is available wherever books are sold.
Peacekeeper’s Daughter is the astonishing story of a French-Canadian military family stationed in Israel and Lebanon in 1982-1983. Told from the perspective of a twelve-year-old girl, Peacekeeper’s Daughter parachutes the reader into the Lebanese Civil War, the Palestinian crisis, and the wave of terrorism—including the bombing of the American Embassy—that ravaged Beirut at the height of the siege. This novelistic memoir moves from Jerusalem to Tiberius, from the disputed No-Man’s Land of the Golan Heights to Damascus, and on to Beirut by way of Tripoli, crossing borders that remain closed to this day.
It’s June, 1982. Twelve-year-old Tanya and her family are preparing to leave their home in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to move to Israel and Lebanon, where her father will serve a one-year posting with the United Nations. While they’re packing up, Israel invades Lebanon. The President-elect of Lebanon is assassinated. Thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children are murdered at the Sabra-Shatila refugee camps in southern Beirut. The Middle East’s relative peace explodes into waves of violence.
It is in the midst of this maelstrom that the family arrives in Israel, and settles into an apartment. And one day Tanya and her brother walk to school; yet nothing is ordinary, nothing is familiar. The simple act of walking down the street is fraught with peril. Violence may come at them from any direction at any time.
Peacekeeper’s Daughter is a coming-of-age story, as well as an exploration of family dynamics, the shattering effects of violence and war—and the power of memory itself to reconcile us to our past selves, to the extraordinary places we have been and sights we have seen.