Writer in Residence

Blogpost #1: Meet Nadia L. Hohn, or selected musings of a Black-Canadian djeli

By Nadia Hohn


Here ye!  Here ye! My name is Nadia L. Hohn and ‪I am proud to be the February 2020 Open Book writer-in-residence.  Not only do you get to read my posts about writing, #kidlit, and Canadian publishing all month long— an opportunity of which I will be taking full, repeat, FULL advantage.  I will also be posting answers to questions like...

  • What makes me— a writer-teacher/teacher-writer Renaissance woman extraordinaire, Nadia L. Hohn— tick?  
  • Why would a full-time writer/author like me work in another full-time career in a totally different field AT THE SAME TIME?  

Plus, my blogpost may venture to other questions you are dying to have answers to like... 

  • What is it like to be one of few Black-Canadians authors to be currently traditionally publishing books for young people while touring both north AND south of the border?  
  • Should I do my MFA, or would I be feeding my addiction to school?  
  • Should I “sell out” by writing genre X books with popular trope Y when I can make LOADS of cash as a Canadian children’s book author?  
  • What do you call it when a writer writes her best ideas at 2:30am and then drives 50 minutes each morning to teach 130+ quizzical, unique, demanding, and lively 12-14 year old personalities for 7 hours a day, 5 days a week?  
  • What is it like to write books with “blickity black blackity blackity black blackity black” subjects and characters for young people?   If you have seen the 1990s movie CB4, you’ll get all of the references.
  • What’s it like to be a writer living in the Canadian literary urban hub of Toronto that is NOWHERE near the artsy downtown neighbourhood— think Parkdale, Riverdale, Trinity Bellwoods, Junction— you probably imagined? Even Scarborough now has far more lit cred than where I live. 
  • What will I end up writing when given “free reign” to “hijack” the OpenBook blog during Black History/African Liberation Month?
  • Etc. Etc.

All well-timed colloquialisms and rhetorical questions aside, if you want to be a more well-informed, ”woke, slightly new and improved literary version of your conscious self, check out my posts this month!  

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Nadia L. Hohn is a dynamic "story lady" who has presented to audiences in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jamaica, and Trinidad.  From the age of six years old, Nadia L Hohn began writing stories, drawing, and making books. Her first two books, Music and Media in the Sankofa Series were published by Rubicon Publishing in 2015.  Her award-winning first picture book, Malaika's Costume was published in 2016 and its sequel Malaika's Winter Carnival 2017 by Groundwood Books.  Nadia is also the author of Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, an early reader by Harper Collins published in December 2018.  A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett-Coverley Found Her Voice, nonfiction picture book about the performer, playwright, author, and Jamaican cultural ambassador, Louise Bennett-Coverley otherwise known as Miss Lou, will be published in 2019 (Owlkids). Nadia was 1 of 6 Black Canadian Writers to Watch in 2018 and the first SCBWI Canada East Rising Kite Diversity Scholarship recipient in 2018. Nadia  will be a touring in Alberta as a presenter in the TD Canada Children's Book Week in 2019.  In summer 2019, Nadia will be the writer in residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, British Columbia. Nadia is an elementary school teacher in Toronto and has taught early years music in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Nadia L. Hohn studied writing at the Highlights Foundation, Humber College School of Writers, George Brown College, and the Voices of our Nation (VONA).  She holds an honours arts degree in psychology from the University of Waterloo as well as Bachelor and Master of Education degrees from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto (OISE/UT).  Nadia is currently working on two young adult novels, a play, the next Malaika... book, and others.  She lives in Toronto she teaches, reads a ton, and crafts stories. She also loves to write (songs, blogs, journals, stories), play piano, cook vegan dishes, travel, study arts and cultures of the African diaspora especially Caribbean folk music, Orff music education, and run.