Former Caetani Writer-in-Residence wins PEN Canada scholarship


Dilan Qadir, who has stayed at the Caetani Caetani twice as a writer-in-residence, is the recipient of the 2023 PEN Canada-Humber College Writers in Exile Scholarship.


The scholarship is awarded annually to one member of PEN Canada’s Writers in Exile community.


A Kurdish-Canadian writer, Dilan has been working on the manuscript for his first novel the past three years. The story is a fictional account of an Iraqi family living under the American occupation in 2003.


“One of the major revisions of the novel took place while I was a writer-in-residence at Caetani Centre in October 2022,” says Dilan, who returned to the Centre as a WIR this past September.  


“I consider myself fortunate to having discovered Caetani house, which is a truly wonderful place in Vernon, BC. I am grateful for the existence of such a place and to the staff at Caetani for their work supporting artists and writers.” 


Dilan grew up in Darbandikhan in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq. Fearing for his safety, he came to Canada in 2014 and now lives in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh.


“I have written about the clannish nature of Kurdish politics and the lack of freedom because of the dominance of dogmatic religious values and practices,” Dilan told PEN Canada, speaking of his journey to Canada. “At that point in time, Iraq and the Kurdistan region were becoming heavily militarized with the appearance of the Islamic State. That’s why I chose exile.”


The PEN Canada-Humber College scholarship will give Dilan one-on-one support from a professional writer-mentor, and is intended for writers working on book-length projects, including a novel, a volume of short stories, or a book of poetry. 


Dilan will work under the guidance of David Bezmozgis, an award-winning writer and filmmaker and the Creative Director of the Humber School for Writers.


“I’m grateful for the opportunity provided by the Humber Scholarship,” says Dilan. “I hope the mentorship will provide much needed guidance in revising what will be my first novel.”


Dilan’s writing—in Kurdish and English—has appeared in a number of online and print publications, including Quae Nocent Docent Anthology, The Lonely Whale Memoir Anthology, the Culture Project, and WordCityLit. His poems were  longlisted for the Vera Manuel Award for Poetry in 2022. He holds a BA in English from Sulaimani University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College (Boston, Mass.). 


The Caetani Centre congratulates Dilan on all his success so far and wishes him well in his future endeavours.

 More information on the Caetani Centre’s Self-Directed Artist and Writer-in-Residence programs can be found at