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. 


Disorientation by Ian Williams


By Ian Williams

The Response of Weeds: A Misplacement of Black Poetry on the Prairies

By Bertrand Bickersteth

Gutter Child by Jael Richardson

Gutter Child

By Jael Richardson

Gold Pours

By Aurore Gatwenzi

Delicious Monsters

Delicious Monsters

By Liselle Sambury

Ties That Tether

Ties That Tether

By Jane Igharo

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black

By Esi Edugyan

Wires That Sputter

Wires That Sputter

By Britta Badour

Dominoes At The Crossroads

By Kaie Kellough

Burning Sugar

By Cicely Belle Blain

Unsettling The Great White North

Black Canadian History

Edited by Michele A. Johnson and Funké Aladejebi

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid Benta

Frying Plantain

By Zalika Reid-Benta

The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr

The Sleeping Car Porter

By Suzette Mayr

Black Matters By Afua Cooper By Wilfried Raussert

Black Matters

By Afua Cooper & Wilfried Raussert

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like Magic

By Liselle Sambury

Dream of No One But Myself

By David Bradford

they said this would be fun by Eternity Martis

they said this would be fun

By Eternity Martis

The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole

The Skin We’re In

By Desmond Cole

Emancipation Day by Wayne Grady

Emancipation Day

By Wayne Grady

Exile Blues

Exile Blues

By Douglas Gary Freeman

Dear Current Occupant by Chelene Knight

Dear Current Occupant

By Chelene Knight

Daughters of Silence

Daughters of Silence

By Rebecca Fisseha

The Ring by Andre Alexis

The Ring

By André Alexis

Finding Edward

Finding Edward

By Sheila Murray

Blood Scion

Blood Scion

By Deborah Falaye