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.


In the Upper Country

By Kai Thomas

Hold My Girl

By Charlene Carr

Boys and Girls Screaming

By Kern Carter


By Chelene Knight

Delicious Monsters

Delicious Monsters

By Liselle Sambury

Wires That Sputter

Wires That Sputter

By Britta Badour

Finding Edward

Finding Edward

By Sheila Murray

Blood Scion

By Deborah Falaye

Dream of No One But Myself

By David Bradford

Disorientation by Ian Williams


By Ian Williams

Unsettling The Great White North

Black Canadian History

Edited by Michele A. Johnson and Funké Aladejebi

Remedies For Chiron

By M. Patchwork Monoceros


By Audrey Dwyer

Every Day She Rose

By Andrea Scott and Nick Green

The Negroes are Congregating

By Natasha Adiyana Morris

Black Women Under State

By Idil Abdillahi

Blood Like Fate

By Liselle Sambury

Fear of a Black Nation

By David Austin

The Day-Breakers

By Michael Fraser

I Am Because We Are

By Chidiogo Akunyili-Parr