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This Black History Month, the Toronto International Festival of Authors and Kuumba invite you to celebrate the release of Black Writers Matter, an anthology of African Canadian creative non-fiction featuring works from established and emerging writers. Join editor Whitney French as she talks to contributors Scott Fraser, Simone Dalton, Angela Wright and Phillip Dwight Morgan about the importance of sharing Black narratives, the origins and personal significance of their respective pieces, and how each of their stories contributes to a nuanced understanding of the Black Canadian experience.
An anthology of African-Canadian writing, Black Writing Matters offers a cross-section of established writers and newcomers to the literary world who tackle contemporary and pressing issues with beautiful, sometimes raw, prose. As Whitney French says in her introduction, Black Writing Matters “injects new meaning into the word diversity [and] harbours a sacredness and an everydayness that offers Black people dignity.” An “invitation to read, share, and tell stories of Black narratives that are close to the bone,” this collection feels particular to the Black Canadian experience. Contributors include Fatuma Adar, Christina Brobby, Simone Makeba Dalton, Méshama Rose Eyob-Austin, Kyla Farmer, Scott Fraser, Chelene Knight, Eternity Martis, Rowan McCandless, Mary Louise McCarthy, Phillip Dwight Morgan, Délice Igicari M. Mugabo, Chayo Moses Nyawello, Christelle Saint-Julien, Makeda Silvera, Cason Sharpe, H(ubert) Nigel Thomas, Angela Walcott, Brandon Wint, Sapphire Woods and Rachel Zellars.
Simone Dalton (sometimes published as Simone Makeba Dalton) is a writer and social change communicator. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph, where she received the Constance Rooke and Board of Graduate Studies Research Scholarships. Her work has been published in the anthologies The Unpublished City: Volume I and Black Writing Matters. The former was a 2018 Toronto Book Awards finalist curated by Dionne Brand. She is currently working on her first play for production with RARE Theatre. Simone lives in Toronto and was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago.
Scott Fraser is the interim Publisher/President of Dundurn Press, one of Canada's largest independent book publishers. When he's not reading or working on books, he can often be found on one of the GTA's many softball fields. Scott lives in Toronto with his partner.
The founder and co-editor of From the Root Zine, Whitney French has been published in Descant Magazine, anthologized in The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry, and is the host and facilitator of the Writing While Black creative writing studio. Whitney lives in Toronto.
Nadia L. Hohn is a Toronto-based educator and author of five books: Music and Media in the Sankofa series, Malaika's Costume, Malaika's Winter Carnival and the newest release, Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter. Her next picture book A Likkle Miss Lou about the Jamaican poet, Louise Bennett-Coverley, will be published in fall 2019 and third Malaika... book in 2021. Nadia will be a touring in Alberta as a presenter in the TD Canada Children's Book Week in 2019. In summer 2019, Nadia will be the writer in residence at Joy Kogawa House in Vancouver, British Columbia. Nadia is on the planning team of the new children's literary event, Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) Kids Book Fest.
Phillip Dwight Morgan is a first-generation Canadian journalist, poet, and activist of Jamaican heritage. He is the inaugural rabble.ca Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellow and his work has appeared with Maclean’s, CBC, rabble.ca, the Toronto Star, and in several other Canadian magazines. Phillip is currently working on his first book, Where do we begin?, a collection of essays exploring Black masculinities in Canada through analyses of media representation, politics, and sexuality. Phillip views writing as a process of healing, self-discovery, growth, and nourishment.
Angela Wright is a writer and political analyst based in Toronto. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Catapult, The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, and The Brooklyn Quarterly. In her previous life, she worked as a political staffer at the House of Commons and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Her political commentary has appeared in The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, Toronto Star, CBC, Montreal Gazette, and others. She is currently working on a book-length personal memoir of hate crimes, violence, and trauma with the support of the Ontario Arts Council.