Black writers in Canada need to be celebrated for their vital place within the national literary imaginary, a term used by George Elliott Clarke. Following in a rich history of trailblazers who faced barriers at every level of the literary world, the talented contemporary writers in this reading list have written books which would once have been sidelined or whitewashed away, however, that these titles exist as copies in our hands is not a symbol of an end to the invisible barriers of racism and discrimination. Despite the many achievements of black authors and scholars, black culture and writing continue to play a marginal role in Canadian literature. Rinaldo Walcott put it this way, CanLit fails to transform because it refuses to take seriously that Black literary expression and thus Black life is foundational to it. CanLit still appears surprised every single time by the appearance of Black literary expression and Black life. Because Black expression is reduced to surprise there has been no sustained and ongoing serious consideration of Black work in CanLit.
We as readers, writers, and lovers of words play a role in this literary dynamic, whether we choose to be aware of it or not. It is well past the time to approach the page from an anti-racist perspective.