I had planned to post something on race. I was going to look at how it has affected me, including the friendships I have (and don’t have) today in real life. I was going to explore race in story and the occasionally troubling reaction to my book from certain readers. I was going to highlight some of the microaggressions experienced workshopping my culture’s writing in mostly white academic spaces. I was going to point out how harmful it was to be told early on that middle-aged white women were the book readers and buyers in this country, and that I should write with them in mind. I wanted to reflect on my experience with the publishing industry, as well as what it means to perform at some events and festivals to largely white audiences. I was going to give thanks for finding community, and that wonderful feeling of shared or similar experience. But I can’t. If you haven’t been paying attention to the news in the past few days, please do. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating. Please recognize that racism normalizes violence. It continues to lead to the systemic death of Black folx. It can only begin to change if we demand it.
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.
Derek Mascarenhas is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies Creative Writing Program, a finalist and runner-up for the Penguin Random House of Canada Student Award for Fiction, and a nominee for the Marina Nemat Award. His fiction has appeared in places such as Joyland, The Dalhousie Review, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Antigonish Review. His linked short story collection, Coconut Dreams, was called a "stunning debut" in Quill and Quire’s starred review and The Globe and Mail named it one of the best reads from Canadian small presses. Derek currently lives in Toronto and is working on a novel in the magic realism genre.