Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez was born in Toronto. She received the York University Entrance Scholarship and earned her undergraduate degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Vanier College at York under the study from prolific writers such as Susan Swan, Christopher Dewdney, and Don Summerhayes. Other areas of study included: Women’s Studies and Ethnic Minorities in Canadian Society.
Throughout her academic career, Zara has received numerous awards and honorary achievements including: Valedictorian of her 1989 graduating class; Peel Co-op Education Teachers Association Award, Ontario Scholar Award, and Brampton Rotary Club Award of Excellence.
She has always been actively interested in the creative writing community and has been associated with: The Brampton Writer’s Guild Association (1994-1997); The York Creative Writing Student Collective (1995-1997); executive officer of Writers at York (1996-1998); co-founder of Writers’ Read (1996-1998); editorial assistant for the literary magazine, Existere (1995-1998); and winner of the Word Guild Writing Contest (2007). Her continuing education training has included “Eight-Step Editing” and “Proofreading” through The Editors’ Association of Canada (2010).
Formerly an editorial assistant for eight years for the publishing house, UCPH, her interests have varied from: reviewing Canadian fiction and literature; writing short stories and poetry; penpalling, photography; drawing; collecting postcards and fair trade, ethnic artifacts; critiquing film; visiting art galleries, museums, historical buildings, and churches; exploring fashion, ethnicity, cultural customs, religious practices; and advocating literacy and justice for marginalized peoples.
Between being a writer and book reviewer, a mom, and a housewife, she confesses an aversion to poor manners, bitter coffee, and medium-point pens.
She will, in season, enable her addiction to Chestnut Praline Frappuccino and Pumpkin Spice-Favoured-Everything in compensation for her inexplicable dislike of the colour orange—a word, too, which no other word rhymes.
And much to her husband’s astonishment, she continues to accumulate Starbuck gift cards more for aesthetic, rather than convenience and insists on purchasing more mugs than her kitchen cupboards can house.
Her other (quiet) aspirations include: to one day own her own bookstore and personal library; travel extensively to speak fluent Spanish, French, Japanese, and German, as well as dance ballet, and crochet a mermaid tail blanket in direct rebellion to impending, chronic arthritis.
She also actively reviews books for Penguin Random House Canada, Simon & Schuster Canada, and HarperCollins Canada in exchange for prestigious bragging rights, free galleys, ARCs, exclusive author signings, and bookish parties.
Her favourite colour varies dependent on mood and season. Today, it is taupe.
Zara currently lives in Brampton with her husband, her two children—and their imaginary bulldog named Vito.
To contact, please email Zara.
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