Six Canadian writers of Black heritage to watch in 2020

In honour of Black History Month 2020, CBC Books is highlighting six Canadian writers making their mark.

In honour of Black History Month 2020, CBC Books is highlighting six Canadian writers of Black heritage who are making their mark.

Desmond Cole

Desmond Cole is an award-winning journalist, radio host and activist in Toronto. (Kate Yang-Nikodym)

Desmond Cole is a journalist, radio host and activist based in Toronto. Cole's writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, NOW Magazine and the Walrus.

He has won awards such as the 2017 PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize for freedom of expression and three 2016 National Magazine Awards for his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine titled The Skin I'm In.

The Skin We're In is his first book, and it looks at the practice of carding, the treatment of Black refugees and Cole's own activism in regards to the Toronto police and their treatment of Black citizens.

Activist Desmond Cole speaks with CBC

5 years ago
Duration 7:45
Activist and writer Desmond Cole speaks with CBC about Const. Daniel Montsion's trial for the death of Abdirahman Abdi

Rebecca Fisseha

Rebecca Fisseha is a Toronto-based author of Ethiopian descent. (Chris Frampton)

Rebecca Fisseha is a Ethiopian-born and Toronto-based playwright and writer whose fiction and nonfiction work often focuses the African diaspora. Her writing has appeared in the Room, Joyland and Maple Tree Literary Supplement.

Daughters of Silence is her debut novel. It's about a young Canadian flight attendant coping with the death of her mother while stranded in her birthplace of Addis Ababa.

Eternity Martis

Eternity Martis is a Toronto journalist and author. (Corey Misquita)

Eternity Martis is a Toronto-based journalist, author and senior editor at Xtra. Her work focuses on issues of race and gender and has been featured in Vice, Salon, Hazlitt,, The Walrus, The Huffington Post and CBC.

In 2017, she was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards' best new writer and the 2018 winner of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards for best investigative article.

Her first book, They Said This Would Be Fun, is a memoir about the difficulty of navigating through white spaces as a student of colour. It is scheduled for a March 2020 release.

Kagiso Lesego Molope talks to Shelagh Rogers about her new novel, Such a Lonely Lovely Road.

Kagiso Lesego Molope

Kagiso Lesego Molope is a novelist from Ottawa, Ont. (Mawenzi House)

Kagiso Lesego Molope was born in South Africa and is now based in Ottawa. Her writing is often set in her native South Africa, but tackle social and political issues relevant to countries around the world.

She is the author of Dancing in the Dust, The Mending Season, Such a Lonely, Lovely Road and This Book Betrays My Brother

Such a Lonely, Lovely Road won the 2019 Ottawa Book Award for English fiction and the inaugural Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award for excellence in African writing. 

Téa Mutonji talks to Shelagh Rogers about her Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize nominated novel, Shut Up You're Pretty.

Téa Mutonji

Tea Mutonji's new short-story collection, Shut Up You're Pretty, features the Galloway neighbourhood of Scarborough as its backdrop. "I just remember how easy it was to walk around the neighbourhood and to say hello to any kid and end up at their house for dinner for no reason.” (Sandro Pehar)

Born in Congo-Kinshasa, Téa Mutonji is currently based in Toronto. Mutonji published her first book, Shut Up, You're Pretty in the spring of 2019. The short story collection traverses the vibrant inner-worlds of women, exploring themes of race, class, migration and femininity as they collide in Scarborough, Ont.

Shut Up, You're Pretty was a finalist for the shortlist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeMutonji will be one of the jurors for the 2020 The Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. 

Evan Winter

Evan Winter is a fantasy author based in Markham, Ont. (Vivian Hui)

Evan Winter is an author based in Markham, Ont. In his fantasy novel debut, The Rage of Dragonsa world with an African-inspired setting is caught in an eternal war — and the book's main protagonist Tau is his people's only hope for survival.

The Rage of Dragons was on the Canada Reads 2020 longlist. The self-published book was a bestseller and was acquired and re-released by Orbit Books as part of a four-book deal. It is the first book in a planned series. The second book in the series, The Fires of Vengeance, is coming out in 2020.

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