Books·Black History Month

Why Kim Brunhuber admires the works of Austin Clarke and George Elliott Clarke

The CBC News correspondent shares how he discovered himself in the works of Canada’s seventh parliamentary poet laureate and one Giller Prize-winning novelist.
Kim Brunhuber is a CBC correspondent now based in Los Angeles. (CBC)

It's Black History Month. Throughout February, CBC Books is asking CBC hosts to recommend a Black author or book written by a Black writer that is meaningful to them.

CBC News correspondent Kim Brunhuber chose the works of Austin Clarke, the poet, novelist and author of the Giller Prize-winning The Polished Hoe, and George Elliott Clarke, Canada's seventh parliamentary poet laureate and author of several books including George and Rue, exploring race and Black identity in Canada.

"Growing up, it seemed to me that they were never any people like me in the books I read, whether they took place in the past, in the future, or in other universes in which anything was possible except, it seemed, being Black.

"Discovering the Clarkes — Austin and George Elliott — pulled back the veil and revealed it was possible to write about issues I had struggled with in my own life, such as the intersection of race and identity and what it really means to be an African-Canadian man, themes that I would later explore in my own novel, Kameleon Man. In their prose and poetry, I discovered myself and I would never be the same."

Kim Brunhuber is a CBC correspondent based in Los Angeles. He is also the former host of The National on Saturdays. As a video journalist, he has travelled to Sierra Leon and Afghanistan. His novel Kameleon Man was a finalist for two awards. His writing has appeared in an anthology of the best Black Canadian writing.

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