Canadian Writers in Person returns with a reading from Zalika Reid-Benta’s debut novel


CWIP poster

If you love meeting talented writers and hearing them read from their published work, or just want to soak up a unique cultural experience, don’t miss the opportunity to attend the Canadian Writers in Person Lecture Series, which launches its 2019-20 season on Sept. 17.

The series features 11 authors who will present their work, answer questions and sign books. Canadian Writers in Person is a for-credit course for students. It is also a free-admission event for members of the public. All readings take place at 7 p.m. on select Tuesday evenings in 206 Accolade West Building, Keele Campus.

This year’s lineup consists of a unique selection of emerging and established Canadian writers, whose writing explores a broad range of topics and geographical and cultural landscapes. Featuring poets, playwrights and prolific fiction writers, the series highlights Canada’s ever-growing literary talent.

On Sept. 17, author Zalika Reid-Benta kicks off the 2019-20 series with a reading from her debut novel titled Frying Plantain (House of Anansi Press). The book’s protagonist, Kara Davis, is a girl caught in the middle – of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.

Other presentations scheduled in this series are:

Oct. 1: Tanya Tagaq, Split Tooth, Penguin Random House

Oct. 22: Craig Davidson, The Saturday Night Ghost Club, Penguin Random House

Nov. 5: Kagiso Lesego Molope, Such a Lonely, Lovely Road, Mawenzi House

Nov. 19: Téa Mutonji, Shut Up You’re Pretty, Arsenal Pulp Press

Dec. 3: Roo Borson, Cardinal in the Eastern White Cedar, Penguin Random House


Jan. 14: Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves, Dancing Cat Books

Jan. 28: Uzma Jalaluddin, Ayesha at Last, Penguin Random House

Feb. 11: Carrianne Leung, That Time I Loved You, HarperCollins

March 3: E. Martin Nolan, Still Point, HMH Books

March 17: David Bezmozgis, Immigrant City, HarperCollins

Canadian Writers in Person is a course offered out of the Culture & Expression program in the Department of Humanities in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. For more information, visit, call 416-736-5158, or email Professor Gail Vanstone at or Professor Leslie Sanders at