Francesca Ekwuyasi says having her novel Butter Honey Pig Bread on Canada Reads is 'a dream come true'
Chef and TV host Roger Mooking is championing Butter Honey Pig Bread on Canada Reads 2021
Butter Honey Pig Bread is a novel about twin sisters Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi believes she was a spirit who was supposed to die as a small child. By staying alive, she is cursing her family — a fear that appears to come true when Kehinde experiences something that tears the family apart, and divides the twins for years. But when the three women connect years later, they must confront their past and find forgiveness.
Tell us what Butter Honey Pig Bread is about.
Butter Honey Pig Bread is about the relationship between three women, a mother and her twin daughters. It centres around their own self-perception, their relationships with each other and with the people that come into their lives. It's a slow, relationship-focused book. But it's also about food and faith and forgiveness.
How did you end up writing a novel that centres around these themes?
Because I wanted to. When I started writing it, it was the thing in my heart. So I just started. Then the more I wrote, the more ideas and connections came. I also love to read. My writing is very informed by other things that I read and listen to.
It's the story of twin sisters. How much personal experience do you have with that special bond between twins?
I'm not a twin, but I am a sister. I love being a sister. I love being in relationships. I wanted to write that. And I'm fascinated by twins. Perhaps because I'm not a twin, maybe that's why I'm fascinated.
What would you say is the one thing that you want people to take away from reading Butter Honey Pig Bread?
I want people to enjoy it. I love reading and there's nothing quite like getting lost in a book. My hope is that folks will enjoy it.
I'm completely intimidated, but in the best possible way. It's literally a dream come true.
Because the themes are forgiveness and reconciliation, I hope that people may feel inspired to mend strained relationships.
Your book's defender is the chef and TV host and former musician Roger Mooking. What was it like meeting him and talking about the book?
Oh, it was so incredible. He's so cool. And I'm so honoured that he loves the book. He really read it. You can tell when someone has read in-depth into something you've created. He had questions about specific details. I feel so lucky to have met him and to have him defend my novel.
It's got to be a strange position for you because, as you said, you want people to read your book and to enjoy it. But your book is about to be debated, it's going to be pored over. What do you make of the fact that it's part of this competition?
This sounds like a huge deal, very intimidating. I'm completely intimidated, but in the best possible way. It's literally a dream come true. Because of Canada Reads, people who might not have even heard about the book will now hear about it and maybe pick it up and maybe even like it. So I'm definitely intimidated and overwhelmed, but grateful for the chance.
We often speak to authors who say, "I cannot bear to tune in. I'm not going to listen because it's too nerve-wracking for me." Are you going to be tuning in?
I'm going to tune in after March 8. March 8 is my birthday, I don't want to be anxious on my birthday. But after the eighth, I will be enthusiastically watching whether or not I'm still in the running.
- Olympian and broadcaster Rosey Edeh champions The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk
- Singer-songwriter Scott Helman champions Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee
- Actor and filmmaker Devery Jacobs champions Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
- Actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee champions Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
- Chef, recording artist and TV host Roger Mooking champions Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi