The Next Chapter

Shelagh's extended conversation with Wayne Grady

Wayne Grady grew up thinking his father's family was Irish.  One day, when he was digging through the archives in Windsor, Ontario, Wayne made a discovery that changed his life.  His great-grandfather wasn't Irish.  He was African American.  Wayne's father had spent his life "passing" as white and never told his wife or son the truth about his background....
Listen to the full episode28:58
Wayne Grady grew up thinking his father's family was Irish.  One day, when he was digging through the archives in Windsor, Ontario, Wayne made a discovery that changed his life.  His great-grandfather wasn't Irish.  He was African American.  Wayne's father had spent his life "passing" as white and never told his wife or son the truth about his background.
Wayne's discovery that day was the catalyst for his book  Emancipation Day  Wayne has written many non-fiction books and award-winning translations, but Emancipation Day is his first novel. 

Emancipation Day is about a young man from Windsor, Ontario who, like Wayne's father, is so light-skinned he can pass as white.  And he does.  He goes to St. John's during the Second World War to play trombone in the Navy Band and falls in love and marries.  He and his young wife eventually return to Windsor and the secrets and lies of their relationship play out against a backdrop of race and identity.

Emancipation Day was on the long list for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize.  

We hope you enjoy this extended version of Shelagh's conversation with Wayne Grady.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.