An Iran-born writer, storyteller and arts educator, Saba has published three books and over a hundred articles, interviews, and stories in four continents. Her short story collection, My First Friend, was longlisted for the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, and the title story, published in Scoundrel Time, won the Editor’s Choice Award and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her novella, The Secret of Names, was longlisted for the 2020 Disquiet Literary Prize
“The PEN Canada Writers-in-Exile scholarship made it possible for me to be part of the exceptional creative writing program at the Humber College,” says Saba. “This is a great opportunity for me to have a mentorship with well-known author and experienced mentor David Bezmozgis. At the end of this mentorship, I hope to have a polished manuscript ready for submission to a publisher.”
Saba’s mentor, a three-time Giller Award nominee and School for Writers creative director, already has high praise for her work. "Maria writes with sophistication and sensitivity about the experiences of women in Iran,” says Bezmozgis. “She is a writer of great promise and it is precisely to support and encourage writers like Maria that this award was created.”
Established in 2017, the PEN Canada-Humber College Writers-in-Exile Scholarship provides a full scholarship to attend the Humber School for Writers’ graduate certificate program in creative writing. Over 30 weeks, the selected writer will work one-on-one with one of Humber's faculty mentors on a book-length English-language manuscript of fiction or non-fiction. Previous scholarship recipients include Ava Homa (2017), Onder Deligoz (2018), and Aaron Berhane (2019).