Chelene Knight is the author of Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award, and long-listed for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals, plus the Globe and Mail, The Walrus, and the Toronto Star. Her work is anthologized in Making Room, Love Me True, Sustenance, The Summer Book, and Black Writers Matter, winner of the 2020 Saskatchewan Book Award. The Toronto Star called Knight, “one of the storytellers we need most right now.” Knight was the previous managing editor at Room magazine, and the previous festival director for the Growing Room Festival in Vancouver. She is now CEO of her own literary studio, Breathing Space Creative (as mentioned in Quill & Quire), and she works as an associate literary agent with Transatlantic Agency. Chelene often gives talks about home, belonging and belief, inclusivity, and community building through authentic storytelling.
Foreign object in the house of Canadian literature: A fireside chat
April 8, 1-2 p.m. ET | Free
Join Annahid Dashtgard, Chelene Knight, and moderator Léonicka Valcius for an important, nuanced, and solution-based conversation about how the publishing industry cares for authors who share difficult truths in their work. How do we create space and safety for people, writers especially, who, for a variety of reasons, have not been welcome in Canadian publishing? People who, as Dashtgard writes in her essay Foreign Object in the House of Canadian Literature, “are wooed for the colour [they] represent, but [who] don’t yet belong.”
Dashtgard, Knight, and Valcius will explore the author experience in publishing and how that mirrors or differs from the experiences of racialized people in other industries. What are the primary concerns authors face in navigating the industry? What responsibility do industry professionals have to incorporate author care into their process? And how does author care differ for marginalized writers or writers who are exposing trauma in their work?