7 Black Canadian writers to watch in 2022
In honour of Black History Month 2022, CBC Books is highlighting seven Black Canadian writers who are making their mark.
Asha Bromfield is a Black Canadian actress, singer and writer best known for her role as Melody Valentine, drummer of Josie and the Pussycats in the television show Riverdale and as Zadie Wells in the Netflix show Locke and Key. The Toronto-born author's debut YA novel, Hurricane Summer, is a love letter to Jamaica, where her parents are from.
- Asha Bromfield's YA novel Hurricane Summer is a coming-of-age story that embraces womanhood and sexuality
Hurricane Summer is a coming-of-age story about a teen named Tilla whose relationship with her Jamaican-born father is straining due to his frequent absences from her life. Bromfield's second YA novel, titled Songs of Irie, will be published in 2023.
Khodi Dill is a Saskatoon-based Bahamian-Canadian educator, poet and author. His debut book, Welcome to the Cypher, is a picture book about music and the transformative power of rap music. The read-aloud book features children learning confidence and self-expression as they rap together in a group.
Dill's writing and poetry features themes of community activism, anti-racism and social justice.
Tawhida Tanya Evanson
Tawhida Tanya Evanson is an Antiguan Québecois writer, artist and performer who currently lives in Montreal. She is also the author of the poetry collections Nouveau Griot and Bothism. Book of Wings, her first work of fiction, was on the Canada Reads 2022 longlist.
- Tawhida Tanya Evanson explores the power of emotions in the Canada Reads longlisted-novel Book of Wings
Book of Wings follows an artist on a global journey with her lover, from Canada to the Caribbean to Paris, Morocco and beyond. Along the way, their relationship falls apart, but the artist finds herself on a path of personal and spiritual fulfillment that leads into the North African landscape.
Perry King is a Toronto journalist, communications officer and author. His writing focuses on themes of sports, community, culture and education; his work can be seen in Spacing Magazine, Toronto Star and Globe and Mail.
King's debut nonfiction book, Rebound, examines the ties between sports, community, environment and the transformative power of urban communities whose residents are physically active and socially connected.
Tolu Oloruntoba is a writer from Nigeria who now lives in Surrey, B.C. His first chapbook, Manubrium, was shortlisted for the 2020 bpNichol Chapbook Award. He is also the founder of the literary magazine Klorofyl. Oloruntoba won the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. for his debut collection The Junta of Happenstance.
The Junta of Happenstance is an exploration of disease, both medical and emotional. It explores family dynamics, social injustice, the immigrant experience, economic anxiety and the nature of suffering.
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic and writer who divides her time between Lagos and Halifax. Her debut novel The Son of the House is her first novel won the SprinNG Women Authors Prize and the Nigeria Prize for Literature. The novel also was on the shortlist for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was named one of the best books of 2021 by CBC Books.
- Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia's debut novel The Son of the House is a story about gender, trauma & patriarchy
The Son of the House is the story of two Nigerian women, the housemaid Nwabulu and the wealthy Julie. The two live very different lives, but when both are kidnapped and forced to spend days together in a dark, tiny room, they keep hope alive by sharing stories and discovering common ground.
Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is currently focused on her next literary work.
Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian Canadian YA author and vlogger from Toronto, currently residing in northern Ontario. Sambury's debut YA novel Blood Like Magic, is a dark fantasy story about Voya Thomas, a Toronto-based teen witch who is tasked with sacrificing her first love to save her family's magic. But when Voya does eventually fall in love with her soulmate, she is forced to make the choice between her morality and her duty to her bloodline.
- Liselle Sambury's YA novel Blood Like Magic is a fantasy/sci-fi mashup about Black Canadian witches in Toronto
The second book in the YA fantasy series, Blood Like Fate, will be published in Aug. 2022.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.