Books

6 works of Canadian fiction to read for Black History Month 2020

Check out these recent works of fiction by black Canadian authors.

It's Black History Month. Check out these six recent works of fiction by black Canadian authors.

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

Frying Plantain is a short story collection by Zalika Reid-Benta. (House of Anansi Press)

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.

CBC Books named Frying Plantain one of the best works of Canadian fiction in 2019Frying Plantain was also longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Reid-Benta is a graduate of Columbia's MFA program and was named a writer to watch by George Elliott ClarkeFrying Plantain is Reid-Benta's first book.

Frying Plantain author Zalika Reid-Benta discusses her collection of short stories. 8:58

Daughters of Silence by Rebecca Fisseha

Rebecca Fisseha is the author of Daughters of Silence. (Goose Lane Editions, Chris Frampton)

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.

Rebecca Fisseha is a writer who was born in Ethiopia and now lives in Canada. Daughters of Silence is her debut novel. CBC Books named Fisseha one of six black Canadian writers to watch in 2020.

Dominoes at the Crossroads by Kaie Kellough

Dominoes at the Crossroads is a novel by Kaie Kellough. (Pablo Riquelme, Esplanade Books)

In this collection of stories, Dominoes at the CrossroadsKaie 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. 

 CBC Books named Dominoes at the Crossroads one of the works of Canadian fiction to watch in spring 2020.

Kellough is a writer based in Montreal. His novel Accordéon was a finalist for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award in 2017. He is also the author of the poetry collection Magnetic Equator.

Montreal poet Kaie Kellough takes us on a tour of his chosen home. Filmmaker: Craig Desson 7:03

The Youth of God by Hassan Ghedi Santur

The Youth of God is a novel by Hassan Ghedi Santur. (Mawenzi House)

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. 

The Youth of God was on the Canada Reads 2020 longlist.

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 by Téa Mutonji

Shut Up You're Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Sandro Pehar)

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.

Shut Up You're Pretty was on the 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize shortlist

CBC Books named Mutonji a writer to watch in 2019Shut Up You're Pretty is her first book. She lives in Scarborough, Ont.

Téa Mutonji talks to Shelagh Rogers about her Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize nominated novel, Shut Up You're Pretty. 17:00

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

Evan Winter is the author of The Rage of Dragons. (Orbit Books, @evanwinter/Twitter.com)

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 GladiatorThe Rage of Dragons follows Tau as he attempts to get revenge and become the greatest swordsman to ever live. 

The Rage of Dragons was on the Canada Reads 2020 longlist.

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.

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