Another graduate of The Writer’s Studio at SFU, Vancouver-born Chelene Knight, while a member of the editorial board of Room, released her first poetry collection, Braided Skin (Mother Tongue 2015), largely emanating from experiences arising from her mixed ethnicity, poverty, urban upbringing and youthful dreams. The title poem ‘Braided Skin’ uses the analogy of braiding—the concept of entwining—to reflect racial tensions and ambiguities, always with the promise or threat of unravelling. Responding to the strands that comprise her life and her poetry, Wayde Compton, the Afro-Canadian director of SFU Writers Studio, notes Knight’s poetry does “not let tribulation define the journey, though it’s there,” but instead there is there is a consistence quality of dance and laughter through the book. Knight has been published in Sassafras Literary Magazine, Room, emerge 2013 and Raven Chronicles


Affordability has always been a housing issue in Vancouver. Having guided the 40th anniversary anthology for Room magazine into print, editor Chelene Knight is releasing her second book, Dear Current Occupant (BookThug $20), recalling the twenty houses in East Vancouver in which she lived with her mother and brother while growing up as mixed East Indian/Black child and teen. Now by peering through windows into remembered spaces, she has produced a series of letters addressed to current occupants to deconstruct her past. Literary star on the rise Carleigh Baker calls it a love song to East Vancouver and a map of scars, “and, as everyone knows, scars make for good storytelling.”


Dear Current Occupant (BookThug $20)

Braided Skin (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2015) $18.95 978-1-896949-50-5

[BCBW 2015] "Afro-Canadian"