Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

NEW SERIES! The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Fiona Raye Clarke

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Fiona Raye Clarke

The WAR Series (Writers As Readers) is our newest interview series at Open Book, and gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Today we welcome our very first WAR Series participant, Fiona Raye Clarke, editor of Basodee: An Anthology Dedicated to Black Youth (General Store Publishing House). A perfect read for Black History Month, Basodee is an eye-opening collection of poetry, fiction and essays by young black writers.

We're thrilled to have Fiona launch the inaugural edition of our newest interview series. Read on to hear from Fiona about the book that made her laugh out loud, the book she would love to give her 17-year old self and much more.

The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

A book that made me cry:
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. I actually threw the book against the wall when I was finished it because I was so sad Peter and Wendy didn’t get together. I couldn’t understand why. I still don’t.

The first adult book I read:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
You Shall Know Our Velocity by Dave Eggers. This was honestly one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I loved its devices, characters and humour. I turned every page in disbelief of the previous one.

The book I have re-read many times:
The Giver by Lois Lowry. I first read this in the sixth grade and then re-read it almost every year since. I just found the concept so simple but so perfect; definitely the book I wish I wrote.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Now that I live in England and am looking to write about the experience, and have various friends who worship her every word, I really think it’s time. Officially on my list.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis. I only recently came across this book. I would definitely give it to my 17-year-old self, though I doubt I would have gotten through it. Be prepared for nightmares and triggers with this book. Reading it is a process of shocking yourself into new truth.

The best book I read in the past six months:
I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé.

The book I plan on reading next:
Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara.

A possible title for my autobiography:
The Chameleon Complex by Fiona Raye Clarke.

Fiona Raye Clarke is a graduate of the University of Toronto. She is passionate about Black History and Afrocentrism and is a dedicated volunteer in the Black community. She has researched and delivered Black History Month talks for hundreds of elementary and high school students throughout the GTA and has presented at international and local conferences on various topics. Fiona seeks to be a role model in her community and is committed to increasing awareness of the struggles and contributions of African Canadians to Canada and youth interest in these achievements. She is currently coordinating a forthcoming book on African-Canadian religion for the Ontario Black History Society and is working on a novel based on one of her short stories. She is currently studying law in England at the University of Southampton

For more information about Basodee: An Anthology Dedicated to Black Youth please visit the General Store Publishing House website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


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