Why Perdita Felicien keeps re-reading Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke

The celebrated track and field star says Whylah Falls shines light on a hidden corner of Canadian history.
Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke is a book Perdita Felicien has read many times. (Gaspereau Press/Perdita Felicien)

June 1, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation in Canada. CBC Books is working away to create the Great Canadian Reading List - a list of 150 books curated by you.

Perdita Felicien, host of the CBC podcast Off Guard. She recommends Whylah Falls by George Elliott Clarke.

"What I find meaningful about Whylah Falls is that upon writing it GEC [George Elliott Clarke] allowed Canadian literature to put the spotlight on a community that wasn't usually its focus. Whylah Falls isn't the immigrant story or the slave narrative, rather it introduces many of us to the lives of black Canadians living in rural southwestern Nova Scotia in the 1930s.

"GEC presents the narrative as a series of poems, and whether I read it straight through or out of sequence, I always discover something new."

Perdita Felicien is the host of the CBC Sports podcast Off Guard and one Canada's most decorated track and field athletes. Over her career, she won two world championship titles and two silver medals at the world championships in the 100-metre hurdles. Felicien was a Canada Reads panellist in 2010.


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