Immigrant author Dirk McLean releases new children’s book

July 11, 2017

By Kaitlin Jingco, Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

Following the release of refugee soccer story Team Fugee last May, Toronto-based author Dirk McLean will be releasing a sequel, Tournament Fugee, later this summer.

Readers can follow 13-year-old Syrian refugee Victor Bayazid, whom they met in Team Fugee, as he embarks on new personal and athletic adventures.

“Over the years, I have known refugees who came here from all different countries,” says Trinidad and Tobago-born author McLean on what inspired him to write his books. “I was not fleeing a situation,” he says of his own immigration experience, but he says that his interactions with refugees have helped him in his writing.

Tournament Fugee book

In the upcoming book, Victor travels with his soccer team, the GTA Gazelles, to Vancouver to participate in Thank You Canada, a soccer tournament featuring teams of Syrian refugees. The experience is meant to be a fun one, but on his journey the young goaltender is plagued with the guilt of leaving his family, the drama of teammate issues and the memories of his homeland and the loved ones left behind.

Tournament Fugee is part of James Lorimer and Company’s Refugee Soccer set, which includes David Starr’s Golden Goal and Golden Game (set to come out on the same day as Tournament Fugee). Interestingly, despite the different authors, the books feature interconnected characters and the shared goal of shedding light on the refugee experience.

From reading these books, McLean hopes to give “children an understanding of refugee immigrants who share a lot of the same human complexities as natural-born Canadians.”

McLean’s Tournament Fugee and Starr’s Golden Game will be available for purchase on Aug. 1.

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