Why Canada Reads author David Chariandy writes about place, identity and belonging
His award-winning novel, Brother, is the story of two brothers growing up in a troubled housing complex in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Brother won the 2017 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the 2018 Toronto Book Award.
"The idea for Brother came from thinking about the importance of my own brother in my life. Brother, the novel, is a work of fiction but I think much of the tenderness and love that I've tried to invest in the book came from the love and tenderness I felt for my own brother."
Outside looking in
"Some of the themes in Brother look at growing up in Canada but feeling a certain gaze upon you — and being made to feel uncomfortable in the city in which you've always lived. But the book is also about loving other people in your neighbourhood and finding joy and enjoying music.
"It's important not only to capture important issues but also to rivet one's attention to the beauty of everyday life."
A good fit
"I'm honestly not sure how my literature fits into the Canadian canon. I write about places here, in Canada, on these Indigenous lands, but I know that my literature also connects to the Caribbean and to the black world and to other places as well."
David Chariandy's comments have been edited for length and clarity.
The CBC Books Why I Write series features authors speaking on what literature means to them.
- Episode #1: Catherine Hernandez
- Episode #2: Shyam Selvadurai
- Episode #3: Drew Hayden Taylor
- Episode #4: Farzana Doctor
- Episode #5: Trish Salah
- Episode #6: Adam Dickinson
- Episode #7: Pasha Malla
- Episode #8: Max Eisen
- Episode #9: Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette
- Episode #10: Lindsay Wong
- Episode #11: Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung
- Chuck Comeau defending Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung
- Lisa Ray defending Brother by David Chariandy
- Ziya Tong defending By Chance Alone by Max Eisen
- Yanic Truesdale defending Suzanne by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins
- Joe Zee defending The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong