Watch Dionne Brand talk about exploring dispersal, diaspora and the desire to belong

In this 1999 video, Brand shared her thoughts on being a black Canadian born in Trinidad — and why she cannot separate her ancestors' experience from her own.

'Dispersal is your history. Belonging is dispersal.'

In 1999, Dionne Brand said dispersal is a part of who she is

5 years ago
Duration 0:52
In this video from the CBC Archives, Dionne Brand talks about exploring dispersal, diaspora and the desire to belong.

In 1999, renowned Canadian novelist, poet and essayist Dionne Brand shared her thoughts on how her writing explores dispersal, diaspora and the desire to belong. As a black Canadian born in Trinidad, Brand noted that she cannot separate what was experienced by her ancestors from her own journey today.

"You know, I suppose at that moment, that passage, that historical moment where people were brought as slaves from Africa to the Caribbean and to the Americas, in general, is a moment of dispersal," she says. "And I'm part of that dispersal myself. And so it is in your every footstep, in a sense. It's your new Kant — your new marker in your head is dispersal, in a sense. Dispersal is your history. Belonging is dispersal. The journey is the thing, not the destination. So I wanted to play with all those kind of ideas about, you know, place and belonging and journey."

As we look ahead to next week's Canada Reads 2017, CBC Arts is digging through our archives to find a few gems and share a bit of wisdom from some of the nation's most treasured writers. Stay tuned for more this week!

For more throwbacks like this one, visit the CBC Digital Archives.


Nayani Thiyagarajah is a a director, producer, and writer of stories for the screen. As a Libra, she enjoys the balance of both truth-telling and playing make believe for a living. Fun facts: Nayani sometimes cackles and snorts while laughing. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram here: @_9knee. (For anybody wondering, that's how you say her name. nayani = 9'knee)


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