In honour of Black History Month, we wanted to highlight 10 local Black authors who have published a book. The list features novels, poetry chapter books and even children’s books that you can read anytime this year.
The Very Unluckily Lucky Quaroo by Michael Gayle “Magic Mike”
Fourth-year psychology student at U of T Scarborough
The heart-warming tale of the utterly unlucky plight, of an extraordinarily lucky bird, whose feathers, with just a touch, give everlasting fortune and luck!
Word Problems by Ian Williams
U of T alumnus
Frustrated by how tough the issues of our time are to solve - racial inequality, our pernicious depression, the troubled relationships we have with other people - Ian Williams revisits the seemingly simple questions of grade school for inspiration: if Billy has five nickels and Jane has three dimes, how many Black men will be murdered by police? He finds no satisfaction, realizing that maybe there are no easy answers to ineffable questions.
Soucouyant by David Chariandy
A “soucoyant” is an evil spirit in Caribbean lore, a reminder of past transgressions that refuse to diminish with age. In this beautifully told novel that crosses borders, cultures, and generations, a young man returns home to care for his aging mother, who suffers from dementia. In his efforts to help her and by turn make amends for their past estrangement from one another, he is compelled to re-imagine his mother’s stories for her before they slip completely into darkness.
A kid's guide to being a Mermaid by Denise Lopes
Records & Convocation Assistant at U of T Scarborough
Being a mermaid isn’t always easy. Join our mermaid friends as they not only show a love of diversity, but give examples of mermaid life lessons that will help us all through those hard days. Examples of acceptance, kindness and believing in yourself are just a few things that our mermaids bring to life.
Hereditary Blue by Oubah Osman
U of T alumna – Scarborough native
Poetry chapter book.
Brother by David Chariandy
An intensely beautiful, searingly powerful, tightly constructed novel, Brother explores questions of masculinity, family, race, and identity as they are played out in a Scarborough housing complex during the sweltering heat and simmering violence of the summer of 1991.
Shut Up You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji
Scarborough native and U of T Scarborough alumna
In Téa Mutonji's disarming debut story collection, a woman contemplates her Congolese traditions during a family wedding, a teenage girl looks for happiness inside a pack of cigarettes, a mother reconnects with her daughter through their shared interest in fish, and a young woman decides to shave her head in the waiting room of an abortion clinic. These punchy, sharply observed stories blur the lines between longing and choosing, exploring the narrator's experience as an involuntary one.
The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole
In his 2015 cover story for Toronto Life magazine, Desmond Cole exposed the racist actions of the Toronto police force, detailing the dozens of times he had been stopped and interrogated under the controversial practice of carding. The story quickly came to national prominence, shaking the country to its core and catapulting its author into the public sphere. Cole used his newfound profile to draw insistent, unyielding attention to the injustices faced by Black Canadians on a daily basis.
The Hanging of Angelique by Afua Cooper
U of T alumna
Writer, historian and poet Afua Cooper tells the astonishing story of Marie-Joseph Angélique, a slave woman convicted of starting a fire that destroyed a large part of Montréal in April 1734 and condemned to die a brutal death. In a powerful retelling of Angélique’s story -- now supported by archival illustrations -- Cooper builds on 15 years of research to shed new light on a rebellious Portuguese-born black woman who refused to accept her indentured servitude. At the same time, Cooper completely demolishes the myth of a benign, slave-free Canada, revealing a damning 200-year-old record of legally and culturally endorsed slavery.
The Black Prairie Archives, An Anthology by Karina Vernon
Associate Professor – Department of English U of T Scarborough
This anthology establishes a new black prairie literary tradition and transforms inherited understandings of what prairie literature looks and sounds like. It collects varied and unique work by writers who were both conscious and unconscious of themselves as black writers or as “prairie” people. Their letters, recipes, oral literature, autobiographies, rap, and poetry- provide vivid glimpses into the reality of their lived experiences and give meaning to them.