News and Interviews

Black authors that Canadians should be reading right now

Black Writers Matter Cover

There is no questioning that Canadian publishing has a lot more work to do when it comes to representing Black authors, and addressing racism in our industry, our communities, provinces, and the country as a whole. Amplifying the voices of BIPOC writers and artists is a key part of that, and, while there is far more work to be done, there have been waves of authors published in this country who have fought an uphill battle to be read and heard, and who are creating powerful work for future generations of readers and writers.

With that in mind, Open Book is sharing this limited and ever-growing list of Black authors who are have made an impact in the literary world, and beyond. We have been lucky to have had some of these writers contribute their words to the site over the years, and many who have their work mentioned in the columns and essays of other admiring authors, editors, educators, and publishers. 

These titles are shared with great respect and gratitude to these authors, who have contributed so much to our national literature already, and who continue to inspire and reach those who may not have seen their stories represented before, or may not have had access to them:

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The Skin We're In

The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole (Doubleday Canada)

Policing Black Lives

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada From Slavery to the Present by Robyn Maynard (Fernwood Publishing)

I've Been Meaning to Tell You

I've Been Meaning to Tell You by David Chariandy (McClelland & Stewart)

Until We Are Free- Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada

Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada edited by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, & Cyrus Marcus-Ware (University of Regina Press)

Dear Current Occupant

Dear Current Occupant by Chelene Knight (Book*hug Press)

Black Life- Post-BLM and the Struggle For Freedom

Black Life: Post-BLM and the Struggle For Freedom by Rinaldo Walcott & Idil Abdillahi (ARP Books)

Bread Out of Stone- Recollections, Sex, Recognitions, Race, Dreaming, Politics

Bread Out of Stone: Recollections, Sex, Recognitions, Race, Dreaming, Politics by Dionne Brand (Vintage Canada)

The Stone Thrower

The Stone Thrower: A Daughter's Lessons, A Father's Life by Jael Richardson (Dundurn Press)

Black Writers Matter Cover

Black Writers Matter edited by Whitney French (University of Regina Press)

Black Berry, Sweet Juice- On Being Black and White in Canada

Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada by Lawrence Hill (HarperCollins Canada)

Shame On Me - Tessa McWatt

Shame On Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging by Tessa McWatt (Random House Canada)

Dreaming of Elsewhere - Reflections of Home

Dreaming of Elsewhere: Reflections of Home by Esi Edugyan (University of Alberta Press)

After Canaan- Essays on Race, Writing, & Region

After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, & Region by Wayde Compton (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Bla_k- Essays and Interviews

Bla_k: Essays and Interviews by M. NourbeSe Philip (Book*hug Press)

Righting Canada's Wrongs - Africville

Righting Canada's Wrongs: Africville by Gloria Ann Wesley (Lorimer)

Beauty in a Box

Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada's Black Beauty Culture by Cheryl Thompson (Wilfred Laurier Press)

They Call Me George- The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada

They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada by Cecil Foster (Biblioasis)

In the Black

In the Black: My Life by Denham Jolly (ECW Press)

 

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Brother

Brother by David Chariandy (McClelland & Stewart)

The Unpublished City

The Unpublished City Vol. I & II curated by Canisia Lubrin, Dionne Brand, & Phoebe Wang (Book*hug Press)

Brown Girl in the Ring

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central Publishing)

Any Known Blood

Any Known Blood by Lawrence Hill (HarperCollins Canada)

The Polished Hoe

The Polished Hoe by Austin Clarke (Dundurn Press)

Fifteen Dogs

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis (Coach House Books)

What We All Long For

What We All Long For by Dionne Brand (Vintage Canada)

The Dyzgraphxst

The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin (McClelland & Stewart)

The Stone Thrower

The Stone Thrower by Jael Richardson, Matt James - Illustrator (House of Anansi Press)

Shut Up, You're Pretty

Shut Up, You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Half-Blood Blues

Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (HarperCollins Canada)

Accordéon

Accordéon by Kaie Kellough (ARP Books)

I Have to Live

I Have to Live by Aisha Sasha John (McClelland & Stewart)

Reproduction - Ian Williams

Reproduction by Ian Williams (Vintage Canada)

Frying Plantain

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid Benta (House of Anansi Press)

The Return by Dany Laferrière

The Return by Dany Laferrière (Douglas & McIntyre)

Malaika's Winter Carnival

Malaika's Winter Carnival by Nadia L. Hohn, Illustrator - Irene Luxbacher (House of Anansi Press)

Congotronic

Congotronic by Shane Book (University of Iowa Press)

Things Are Good Now

Things Are Good Now by Djamila Ibrahim (House of Anansi Press)

The Pain Tree

The Pain Tree by Olive Senior (Cormorant Books)

How She Read

How She Read by Chantal Gibson (Caitlin Press)

Red Jacket

Red Jacket by Pamela Mordecai (Dundurn Press)

 

For many of these books, and in support of independent bookstores, please make an effort, if possible, to order from A Different Booklist (Toronto), Knowledge Bookstore (Brampton), or any of the other Black owned booksellers in Ontario.