Black Canadian Authors: A Reading List

by Angela Gu
Toronto, ON

Non-Black readers, perhaps you have pledged to be an ally, or a better ally, in fighting anti-Black racism. Recognize that this is the first step in your commitment to a long journey of learning and unlearning. Allyship is not a status we can achieve by declaring it, it is something we have to continuously work at. As pandemic restrictions lift, and as we return back to our “normal” lives, we need to think about what this “normal” entails and recognize what needs to change, namely, the systems that perpetuate racial injustices.

Part of that work includes amplifying Black voices and reading more works by Black writers. This includes reading stories of Black joy in addition to stories of Black pain. It’s time to read more. Here are some books by Black Canadian authors - this is by no means a comprehensive reading list, but it can serve as a starting point.


Black Writers Matter - edited by Whitney French - read about the anthology here
The Black Notes: Fresh Writing by Black Women and Girls - edited by Althea Prince - read about the book in this interview with Prince (scroll down)


I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You - by David Chariandy - read about the book and Chariandy’s story
The Skin We’re In - by Desmond Cole - read about the book in this interview with Cole
Policing Black Lives - by Robyn Maynard - watch Maynard speak about her book here
BlackLife: Post-BLM and the Struggle for Freedom - by Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdillahi - read a review here
Dear Current Occupant - by Chelene Knight - read a review here
‘Membering - by Austin Clarke - read about the memoir here, and about Clarke’s life and legacy here
They Said This Would be Fun - by Eternity Martis - read about the book in this interview with Martis
Angry Queer Somali Boy - by Mohamed Abdulkarim Ali - read about Ali and his book here
Queer Returns: Essays on Multiculturalism, Diaspora, and Black Studies - by Rinaldo Walcott - read about the book here
Bla_K [Blank]: Essays & Interviews - by M. Nourbese Philip - read about the book in this interview with Philip


Theory - by Dionne Brand - read a review here
Days by Moonlight - by André Alexis - read a review here
Shut Up You’re Pretty - by Téa Mutonji - watch Mutonji talk about her book and her writing here
Things are Good Now - by Djamila Ibrahim - read about the book in this interview with Ibrahim
Washington Black - by Esi Edugyan - read about the book in this interview with Edugyan
The Illegal - by Lawrence Hill - read a review here
Frying Plantain - by Zalika Reid-Benta - read about Reid-Benta and her book here
Have You Met Nora? - by Nicole Blades - watch a review here
Falling in Love with Hominids - by Nalo Hopkinson - read a review here
The Heart Does Not Bend - by Makeda Silvera - read a review here


Execution Poems - by George Elliott Clarke - read about Clarke here 
Sonnet’s Shakespeare - by Sonnet L’Abbé - read about L’Abbé and her book here
Personals - by Ian Williams - read about the book here

Social Distanziner - Toronto, ON