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, book reviewer, a social worker L.P., missionary, justice advocate, wife, and mother—she confesses an aversion to poor manners, profanity, prejudice, systemic discrimination, inequity, poor social policy, violence against women, social injustice against Indigenous Peoples, older adults, people who experience poverty/homelessness, and those with mental health issues and developmental exceptionalities; lack of integrity, boastfulness, and bitter coffee.
She will, in season, enable her addiction to Chestnut Praline and Vanilla Chai Frapuccinos compensate for her inexplicable dislike of the colour Pickle. And much to her husband’s astonishment, she will continue to accumulate more mugs, lipsticks, and Bath & Body Works candles than their shared space can house.
Her other aspirations include: to become a full-time social worker missionary; to learn and speak fluent Spanish, French, Japanese, Hebrew, and Arabic, as well as finally perfect her tzatziki sauce recipe; 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, bookish parties—and because she is passionate about the written word.
Her favourite colour varies dependent on mood and season. Today, it is “Prelude to a Kiss.”
Other hobbies include: reading by the lake; collecting squishy “Jiggly-Doos,” making friends with every dog in her community; and hunting for freshly baked bread and mochi balls.
Zara currently lives in Brampton with her husband, her two children—and their imaginary, but rambunctious bulldog named “Veto.” (Yes, it’s intentionally spelled that way.)
To contact, please email Zara.
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