Books·Black History Month

6 works of Canadian fiction to read for Black History Month 2019

These recent works of fiction by black Canadian authors highlight the literary diversity of the national scene.

These six works of fiction by black Canadian authors highlight the diversity of the national literature scene.

Days by Moonlight by André Alexis

Days by Moonlight is a novel by André Alexis. (Coach House Books)

Nearly a year after his parents' death, botanist Alfred Homer agrees to go on a research road trip with Professor Morgan Bruno, an old family friend. As the sun sets, the two depart in search of an obscure, possibly dead poet named John Skennen and encounter a host of oddities in the gothic underworld of southern Ontario. Days by Moonlight is the fourth book in André Alexis's acclaimed quincunx, which includes the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canada Reads winner Fifteen Dogs.

Theory by Dionne Brand

Dionne Brand is a poet and novelist. Her most recent novel is Theory. (Jason Chow, Knopf Canada)

The latest novel by award-winning poet and novelist Dionne Brand explores the nature of today's society. The unnamed narrator of Theory is constructing an all-encompassing thesis on the past, present and future of art, culture, race, gender, class and politics. Their dissertation is inevitably impacted by three passionate love affairs, one following the other, which each re-shape and reorient the narrator's life and work.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan is a Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist. (Canadian Press, HarperCollins)

Esi Edugyan's Washington Black tells the story of 11-year-old Washington Black, a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. His master is Englishman Christopher Wilde, who is obsessed with developing a machine that can fly. The two develop a bond, but when a man is killed, Wilde must choose between his family and saving Washington's life — and the choice results in an unforgettable adventure around the world. 

Washington Black was a finalist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, the 2018 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and won the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Things Are Good Now by Djamila Ibrahim

Djamila Ibrahim is the author of the short story collection Things Are Good Now. (Dana Jensen, House of Anansi)

Emerging author Djamila Ibrahim's debut collection of short stories looks at the migrant experience from various angles. Set in East Africa, the Middle East, Canada and the U.S., Things Are Good Now examines themes of displacement, hardship and disillusionment. Ibrahim, an Ethiopian-born writer who moved to Canada in 1990, was named a black Canadian writer to watch in 2018 by CBC Books

Such a Lonely, Lovely Road by Kagiso Lesego Molope

Such a Lonely, Lovely Road is a novel by Kagiso Lesego Molope. (Mawenzi House)

Kagiso Lesego Molope is an Ottawa-based author who was raised in South Africa. In Such a Lonely, Lovely RoadKabelo Mosala is a young man growing up in South Africa. He's an upstanding citizen in every sense and dreams of working at his father's medical practice someday. But Kabelo has a secret: he's in love with his friend, Sediba. They form a strong bond as they grow up, but Kabelo struggles to come out to his community, which is in the grips of an increasingly urgent AIDS crisis.

Reproduction by Ian Williams

Ian Williams is the author of Reproduction. (Doubleday Canada, Paul Joseph)

Reproduction is Brampton, Ont.-raised author Ian Williams's debut novel, following his Griffin Poetry Prize-nominated poetry collection Personals and award-winning short fiction collection Not Anyone's Anything. When Felicia and her teenage son Army move into a basement apartment, they bond with the house's owner and his two children. But strange gifts from Army's wealthy, absent father begin to arrive at their doorstep, inviting new tensions into the makeshift family's lives.