Black writers & topics

#968 Will you help The Ormsby Review?

Will you help The Ormsby Review? by Richard Mackie * A message from publisher Richard Mackie and the Board of the Ormsby Literary Society. Advisory Board: Jean Barman, Wade Davis, Robin Fisher, Cole Harris, Hugh Johnston, Patricia Roy, David Stouck, Graeme Wynn. Board of Directors: Ron Hatch, Eldon Yellowhorn, Imogene Lim, Byron Sheardown, LiLynn Wan, Trevor…
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#884 Decolonizing Shakespeare

Sonnet’s Shakespeare by Sonnet L’Abbé Toronto: Penguin Random House (McClelland & Stewart), 2019 $21.00 / 9780771073090 Reviewed by Natalie Lang * On March 12, 2020, Sonnet’s Shakespeare, by Sonnet L’Abbé, was one of five books shortlisted for the 2020 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Winners will be announced on September…
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#864 Crossing Lake Tanganyika

Maison Rouge: Memories of a Childhood in War by Liliane Leila Juma Vancouver: Tradewind Books, 2020 $12.95 / 9781926890302 Reviewed by Howard Stewart * Like many of us, I often find myself reading a couple of books at the same time. So, when I picked up Leila Juma’s thin tome I was also reading another…
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#836 Yucho Chow’s wide & diverse lens

Chinatown Through a Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yucho Chow by Catherine B. Clement, translated by Winnie L. Cheung Vancouver: Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia, 2020 $70.00 / 9780993659331 Reviewed by May Q. Wong * Chinatown’s photographer was not just for Chinese. This substantial coffee-table book of photographs tells not one, but…
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#804 Gibson’s poetic pyrotechnics

How She Read by Chantal Gibson Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019 $20.00 / 9781987915969 Reviewed by Renée Sarojini Saklikar * On March 12, 2020, Chantal Gibson’s How She Read was shortlisted for both the 2020 Dorothy Livesay and Jim Deva prizes of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Winners will be announced on September 19th. As…
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#785 A New World Oliver Twist

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan Toronto: HarperCollins, 2018 $33.99 / 9781443423380 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * Since its publication in the summer of 2018, Esi Edugyan’s novel Washington Black has made a resounding impact. Reviews abound; awards and award short listings likewise. Stirring most comment and praise are not just the gripping story line, but…
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#732 Race, rails, and Hogan’s Alley

They Call Me George: The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada by Cecil Foster Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2019 $22.95 / 9781771962612 Reviewed by John Douglas Belshaw * For Black History Month Canada (February 1- 20, 2020) we present John Belshaw’s review of Cecil Foster’s They Call Me George: The…
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#722 A punchy and brilliant debut

Shut Up You’re Pretty by Téa Mutonji Vancouver: VS. Books, an imprint of Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019 $17.95 / 9781551527550 Reviewed by Jenna Butler * Téa Mutonji’s 2019 short story collection Shut Up You’re Pretty is the first book to be released under Arsenal Pulp Press’s VS. Books, a new imprint publishing work by young…
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#619 Government knows best

Moved by the State: Forced Relocation and Making a Good Life in Postwar Canada by Tina Loo Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019 $29.95 / 9780774861014 Reviewed by LiLynn Wan * Moved by the State is a comparative history of forced relocation and development in five regions in Canada from the 1950s to the 1970s. In some…
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#569 Superscript and sexual tension

Reproduction by Ian Williams Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2019 $35.00 / 9780735274051 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * On September 3, 2019, Ian Williams’ debut novel Reproduction was longlisted for the ScotiaBank Giller Prize and later that month was one of six books shortlisted for the prize. Williams, of UBC, was announced as the winner…
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#520 Somewhere inside the rainbow

The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino Montreal: Guernica Editions, 2019 $20.00  /  9781771833578 Reviewed by Alan Twigg * In Arianna Dagnino’s The Afrikaner, a brave and resilient woman ventures to the Kalahari Desert to find her place in Rainbow Nation. The novel arises from the author’s five-year stint as a journalist in South Africa during the…
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#513 Victoria’s secret: diversity

City in Colour: Rediscovered Stories of Victoria’s Multicultural Past by May Q. Wong Victoria: TouchWood Editions, 2018 $22.00 / 9781771512855 Reviewed by Tom Koppel * When I was a kid, my father took me on a brief visit to Victoria. Part of the attraction, for him, was that he’d heard the city described as the…
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#511 Gold, gamblers, and greenhorns

Gold Rush Manliness: Race and Gender on the Pacific Slope by Christopher Herbert Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018 $30.00 (U.S.) / 9780295744131 Reviewed by Robert Hogg * Christopher Herbert has added to the considerable literature on gender in colonial societies, and of frontier masculinities in particular, as well as to the historiography of race,…
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#465 Urgent flight to the Congo

White by Deni Ellis Béchard Vancouver: Talonbooks, 2018 $19.95 / 9781772012088 Reviewed by Paul Headrick First published Jan. 15, 2019 * The narrator of White has a dramatic CV: freelance war reporter, novelist, and memoirist. It’s a background that closely matches the author’s, even down to the contents of their memoirs. Béchard’s explores his difficult…
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#412 Vancouver jazz scene

Live at the Cellar: Vancouver’s Iconic Jazz Cub and the Canadian Co-operative Jazz Scene in the 1950s and ‘60s by Marian Jago, foreword by Don Thompson Vancouver: UBC Press, 2018 $29.95 / 9780774837699 Reviewed by Brian Fraser First published November 02, 2018 * Good books on jazz are filled with intriguing stories about the relationships…
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