Black Cop: My 36 years in police work, and my career ending experiences with official racism by Calvin Lawrence, With Miles Howe

The title and subtitle pretty much sum up what this book is about: being black and facing systemic racism in two police organizations in a 36-year career. Calvin Lawrence was born in 1949 in Yarmouth and raised in Halifax. His parents (he was actually raised by his Uncle and Aunt) were a mixed-race couple living in Halifax. His father worked as a porter for the railway, one of the few respectable jobs available to blacks at the time.… Continue reading

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta (Guest Post)

Note: For the past three summers, Naomi of the Consumed by Ink book review blog and I have been swapping a book review. This year I reviewed The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino for her site, and she has written a review of the critically-acclaimed book by Jamaican-Canadian author Zalika Reid-Benta, Frying Plantain (2019, House of Anansi Press)*. Naomi writes from Truro, Nova Scotia and reviews a broader range of CanLit than I do, although we sometimes review the same book, which is always interesting!… Continue reading

Precept by Matthew de Lacey Davidson

Self-published Nova Scotian author Matthew de Lacy Davidson has released his first novel Precept, and it is firmly in the historical fiction genre. I particularly enjoy these types of novels, for one learns something, if not of the actual event, then about the personages themselves. Precept is no exception. The 19th-century historical figure of Frederick Douglass, a former slave and abolitionist, has escaped to Ireland to avoid recapture and certain death.… Continue reading

Black Beach by Glynis Guevara

Sixteen-year-old Tamera lives in La Cresta, a rural fishing community on a Caribbean island. Despite having the support of relatives, including her dad, Earl, her elder sister, Mary and her best friend and first cousin, Jan, she struggles to deal with her mom’s mental health issues and the absence of her boyfriend, Dalton who moves out of the village to work.

Redemption Songs by Jon Tattrie

Redemption Songs won a 2017 The Very Best! Book Award for Non-Fiction.

do Nova Scotia, Black leader Marcus Garvey, and Rastafarian musician Bob Marley have in common? Very little, you might think until Jon Tattrie weaves some literary and historical magic to make it all seamlessly fit together in Redemption Songs (2016, Pottersfield Press), a treatise against racism and the false “colouring” of humans.
It was in 1937 that Marcus Garvey, who was close to death, gave an epic speech in Sydney, Nova Scotia in which he praised the town for “giving the Negro a chance.” However, it was the following passage from Garvey’s speech that was to inspire Bob Marley decades later to write “Redemption Song” the last cut on the last studio album he was to record:

“We are going to emancipate our minds from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”

Redemption Songs is one of those books that clarify, enlighten and educate at the same time.… Continue reading

The Lynching of Peter Wheeler by Debra Komar

Author and forensic anthropologist Debra Komar has written two books to date dealing with murder and wrongful conviction in Atlantic Canada’s past. Her first book, The Ballad of Jacob Peck (2013, Goose Lane Editions) was about a murder inspired by religious fervour that occurred in 1805 in New Brunswick. The follow-up, The Lynching of Peter Wheeler (2014, Goose Lane Editions) is about the wrongful conviction of Peter Wheeler in the death of Annie Kempton in Nova Scotia in 1896.… Continue reading