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7 important books by Black Canadian authors to check out

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Hello, Vancouver! In solidarity with the #blackouttuesday content blackout, we have decided to only write articles that champion the cause or highlight ongoing issues. For this article, we would like to highlight Black Canadian authors and books written by them. These are by and large non-fiction works, focusing on the lived experiences of Black Canadians over the years.

Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard

Published in 2017, this book has quickly become the standard for understanding race issues in Canada. Basically, the book traces the evolution of revolution country-wide, and how it has infiltrated practically every aspect of the Black Canadian reality.

Black Like Who? by Rinaldo Walcott

A book as pertinent today as it was when published in 1997. Black Like Who? explores the Black Canadian cultural diaspora, arguing for the need to be able to properly understand its complexity and history. An interesting and important read for anyone looking to explore the history of Black non-fiction writing in Canada.

The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole

Another relatively recent publication that is as powerful as any. The book essentially chronicles one year of exploring how systemic racism across Canada manifests and offers tremendous insight into the Black lived experience in Canada right now.

Bread Out of Stone by Dionna Brand

First published in 1998, this collection of essays focuses on a variety of topics ranging from sexuality to culture to politics. The central theme weaving throughout the collection? The ‘centrality of whiteness’ in Canada that has affected practically everything.

In the Black: My Life by B. Denham Jolly

A celebrated activist and philanthropist, this memoir looks at Jolly’s life over roughly 7 decades of living in Canada. The founder of Canada’s first Black-owned radio station, Jolly chronicles his experiences with all forms of racism during his rise.

Bla_K by M. NourbeSe Philip

A collection of poems and essays, Bla_K (Blank) by M. NourbeSe Philip offers tremendous insight into the underrepresented or even unrepresented aspects of the Black Canadian diaspora. Powerful and haunting, the work offers a slightly different look at the issues.

Demonic Grounds by Katherine McKittrick

Arguably the most ‘out-there’ work on this list. Demonic Grounds switches between fact and fiction, lived experience and analogy, history and philosophy in an exploration of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The author is an associate professor of women’s studies at Queen’s University, and this work is absolutely worth reading.

And that’s our roundup of Black Canadian authors whose books you should check out right now. We hope we’ve given you a few new names and titles to add to your reading list!