Nelofer Pazira

Nelofer Pazira is a journalist, filmmaker and human rights activist living in Toronto.

In 2001, she starred in the film Kandahar, which was loosely based on her journey to find a friend living in Afghanistan. Two years later she co-directed and produced the Gemini Award-winning documentary Return to Kandahar.

A Bed of Red Flowers, her first book, won the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize awarded by The Writers’ Trust of Canada. In an interview with Time magazine, Pazira explains the impetus for writing the book: “A lot of my memories were unhappy, and I didn’t want to revisit them. But making Kandahar, I was forced to think about those memories. Once we finished the movie, I felt that I had started something, and instead of closing that door, I should go through it.” She elaborates on her choice of genre in Embassy: "I realized that I had a choice of doing either a very academic book that would be a history of Afghanistan, but what new can I say about that? There are hundreds of books written on that subject, analyzing various periods, and I asked what else can I add to this that would be different, that would really add a unique touch? I realized what I could do that was different would be to write about what life was like when we lived there. I realized that nobody knows about that, and that people don't know what it was like to live in Afghanistan in those years before the Taliban."

A regular contributor to CBC’s The National, Pazira has set up a charity – Dyana Afghan Women’s Fund – to provide education and skills training for women in the city of Kandahar.