Books

Ben Philippe

Ben Philippe is the author of the YA novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager.
Ben Philippe is a Montreal-raised writer based in New York. (HarperCollins)

Ben Philippe published his debut novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager in the spring of 2019. The YA book follows a wisecracking black French Canadian teenager named Norris who moves to Austin, Texas. Philippe has an MFA in fiction and screenwriting and has contributed to publications like Vanity Fair, the Guardian and Playboy.

Philippe is of Haitian descent, was raised in Montreal and is now a teacher at Barnard College in New York.

CBC Books named Philippe a writer to watch in 2019.

Books by Ben Philippe

Why Ben Philippe wrote The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

"A lot of the details from the book are lifted from my life. Norris Kaplan is a black French Canadian; I'm a black French Canadian. He moves to Texas and hates it; I moved to Texas and hated it. Although Norris moved to Texas for high school and I lived there for graduate school, the broad strokes of Norris are very much lifted from my life. I wrote him as a superpowered version of me: Norris says and does whatever he thinks. I never did, as I was too worried about everyone was thinking about me at school. But he loves poking the bear.

It was an interesting teenage anxiety — do you hang out with your own 'kind' or do you follow your own interests?- Ben Philippe

 "It was an interesting teenage anxiety — do you hang out with your own 'kind' or do you follow your own interests? That was my black Canadian identity and what I write about in the book."

Read more in his interview with CBC Books.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.