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"I Hope Girls Will Be Inspired by Emma" Lesley Strutt on Her Adventurous YA Novel, On the Edge

"I Hope Girls Will Be Inspired by Emma" Lesley Strutt on Her Adventurous YA Novel, On the Edge

Lesley Strutt is a poet, academic, essayist, and playwright. This season, she adds novelist to her accolades with her young adult book On the Edge (Inanna Publications). On the Edge follows Emerald ...

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Writer in Residence

Zalika Reid-Benta’s latest book

Frying Plantain

Frying Plantain

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle — of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.

A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.