George Elliott Clarke recommends Zalika Reid-Benta as a writer to watch

The award-winning poet says the writer is among the most promising young black voices in the literature world.
Zalika Reid-Benta received an MFA in fiction from Columbia University in 2014. (Courtesy of Zalika Reid-Benta)

George Elliott Clarke's collection, Execution Poems, won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 2001. The author of more than 15 books, Clarke also holds eight honorary doctorates, plus appointments to the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. Currently, he serves as the Canadian parliamentary poet laureate.

Clarke thinks Zalika Reid-Benta is a writer to watch.

"Zalika Reid-Benta is prophecy to be fulfilled. She has grown up within the context of an immigrant Caribbean community thrusting firm roots into Canadian soil, and she is attuned to all the nuances of that transplantation, the difficulties of maintaining connections to soul and spirit in a cold climate and in a society that did not (and still does not) welcome immigrants de couleur with open arms. She follows in the giant footsteps of Austin Clarke and Dany Laferriere, Dionne Brand and Marie-Claire Agnant, in trying to make literary sense of a sometimes forbidding society and thorny landscape." 

Zalika Reid-Benta is a writer from Toronto, Ont.. Her work explores race, identity and culture through the lens of second-generation Caribbean Canadians.