6 works of Canadian fiction to read for Black History Month 2020
It's Black History Month. Check out these six recent works of fiction by black Canadian authors.
Frying Plantain follows Kara Davis through elementary school to her high school graduation, as she comes of age while being perennially caught between her Canadian nationality and Jamaican heritage. Over a series of 12 stories, Davis visits her great aunt in Jamaica, endures a cruel prank by close friends and deals with her stubborn grandparents.
- Why Zalika Reid-Benta wrote a short story collection that looks at growing up young and black in Toronto
Reid-Benta is a graduate of Columbia's MFA program and was named a writer to watch by George Elliott Clarke. Frying Plantain is Reid-Benta's first book.
In Daughters of Silence, a volcano eruption strands Dessie, a Canadian flight attendant, in Addis Ababa where she was born. She visits her grandfather Shaleqa's home where she uncovers buried truths about her recently deceased mother and learns about the ways her family was shaped by history.
In this collection of stories, Dominoes at the Crossroads, Kaie Kellough navigates Canada's Caribbean diaspora, as they seek music and a connection to their past. Through a broad cast of characters — including jazz musicians, hitchhikers, suburbanites, student radicals, secret agents, historians and their fugitive slave ancestors — Kellough stretches the stories from Montreal's Old Port to as far as the South American rainforests.
The Youth of God tells the story of Nuur, a Somali teen who is bullied at school for his religious piety, while he tries to balance his academics and part time job. Searching for a sense of purpose, and longing for male guidance in the absence of a father who abandoned his family, Nuur looks to two opposing father figures. One, a compassionate teacher named Mr. Ilmi who sees Nuur's potential and the other, an Imam, who has more heinous intentions in mind.
Hassan Ghedi Santur is a journalist who has worked for CBC Radio. He is also the author of the novel Something Remains and the nonfiction book Maps of Exile.
Shut Up You're Pretty is a short fiction collection that tells stories of young women coming of age in the 21st century. Mutonji's characters include a young woman who shaves her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, a mother and daughter who bond over fish and a teenager seeking happiness with her pack of cigarettes.
- Why Téa Mutonji wanted her first short story collection to challenge what diverse literature is supposed to be
In Evan Winter's fantasy debut The Rage of Dragons, a world is caught in an eternal war and Tau is his people's only hope for survival. Described as a mix of Game of Thrones and Gladiator, The Rage of Dragons follows Tau as he attempts to get revenge and become the greatest swordsman to ever live.
The Rage of Dragons was originally self-published before it was acquired by Orbit Books. It is the first book in a planned series. The second book in the series, The Fires of Vengeance, will be published in July 2020.