Zinck, an English professor, began a quiet correspondence with Khadr more than three years ago when Edmontonians Dennis Edney and Nate Whitling were Khadr's lawyers.
Edney encouraged Zinck to organize lessons for Khadr, whose formal schooling stopped in Grade 8.
"Dennis gets 100 per cent of the credit," she added.
Zinck said she never thought she would be able visit her unusual pupil in the infamous prison set up by the U.S. after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Khadr is the only remaining western citizen at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp at a U.S. naval base in Cuba.
Zinck spent a week, April 23 to May 1, meeting Khadr for six or seven hours a day doing lessons on Canadian novels such as Who Has Seen the Wind, by W.O. Mitchell, and The Icefields, by Edmonton writer Thomas Wharton.
Next on the list is Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje.
"A promising start, but i might suggest some refinements. Michael Ondaatje? Is little Omar having trouble getting to sleep or what?"
"What did you have in mind?"
"You've got to be cruel to be kind. I'm thinking . . . The Full Atwood!"
"We'll start him off slowly. Some poetry, some early essays -- then Surfacing -- WHAM! The Handmaid's Tale -- BAM! Oryx and Crake -- THANK YOU, MA'AM! If that doesn't break him, time for the heavy stuff. Atwood's various "humorous" "satires" and "witticisms" -- these are probably in violation of the Geneva Conventions, but tough. He'll be waterboarding himself in minutes."
"You . . . you monster!"
"Aw, shucks. One other thing, Miss? Could you please refrain from writing "Mrs. Omar Khadr" with little hearts and happy faces over and over again in your notebook? It looks quite unprofessional."