The role of writing in social justice

What does it mean to write about identity and representation in the current moment? How do we meet the need for more equitable and diversified cultural representations and understand literature’s crucial role in social justice?

These questions will be discussed during a conversation with writers Kaie Kellough and Zalika Reid-Benta as part of the “Black History and Beyond Series,” co-hosted by Memorial’s Departments of Religious Studies and Gender Studies.

Dr. Stephanie McKenzie of Grenfell Campus’s English Department will moderate the event, which is titled Doing Representation Justice: Writing the Self and Beyond.

Kaie Kellough is a novelist, poet, and sound performer. His work emerges at a crossroads of social engagement and formal experiment. He lives in Montréal and has roots in Guyana, South America. His last book of poetry, Magnetic Equator (McClelland and Stewart, 2019) won the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize. His collection of short stories, Dominoes at the Crossroads (Véhicule, 2020), won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, was a finalist for the Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal, and was longlisted for the Giller prize. His novel Accordéon (ARP, 2016) was a finalist for the 2017 Amazon/Walrus Foundation First Novel Award.

Zalika Reid-Benta is a Toronto-based writer. Her debut short story collection Frying Plantain won the 2019 Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the 2020 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in literary fiction. Frying Plantain was shortlisted for the 2020 Toronto Book Award and the 2020 Trillium Book Award, it was also longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize and nominated for the 2020 Evergreen Award. Frying Plantain is currently nominated for the 2021 White Pine Award. Zalika is also the winner of the 2019 Byblacks People’s Choice Awards for Best Author.

This event is made possible by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Scholarship in the Arts fund.


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