Redpath Book Display: Works of Fiction by BIPOC authors

According to McGill’s International Student Services, as of the 2020-2021 academic year, there are 11,942 international students enrolled at McGill from over 150 countries. In order to celebrate our internationally diverse study body, this month’s Redpath Book Display is dedicated to works of fiction by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) authors from a wide variety of countries. Our physical book display in the Redpath Library features works such as:

Hot Comb, by Ebony Flowers, is a graphic novel and collection of stories that examine the coming of age of a young Black girl living in the United States.

Celestial Bodies, by Omani author Jūkhah Ḥārithī, won the Man Booker Prize and tells the story of three sisters growing up in the village of al-Awafi.

No Knives in the Kitchens of this City, by Khālid Khalīfah, is set in Aleppo, Syria, between the 1960s and the 2000s and examines the lives of one family during that time period.

Harbart, by Nabāruṇa Bhaṭṭācārya, is a beloved cult novel in India, translated from Bengali into English for the first time.

Ms Ice Sandwich, by Mieko Kawakami, is a novella by an up-and-coming Japanese author.

Blackass, by A. Igoni Barrett, is set in Lagos, Nigeria, and is about a Black man who wakes up on the morning of a job interview to discover that he has turned into a white man.

In the Pond, by Ha Jin, is a piece of satire about a Chinese factory worker who becomes famous for drawing a political cartoon.

Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good, is a timely look at Canadian residential schools by a Cree writer, poet, and lawyer.

In addition to our physical book display, we have also curated a list of works of fiction by BIPOC authors in e-book format on the OverDrive platform. If you are in the mood for some romantic comedies to read over the holiday season, or simply to give yourself a break during exam period, then be sure to check out works such as:

Take a Hint, Dani Brown, by Talia Hibbert

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, by Alyssa Cole

You Had Me at Hola, by Alexis Daria

Heart Principle, by Helen Hoang

Dial A for Aunties, by Jesse Q. Sutanto

The Startup Wife, by Tahmima Anam

If you would rather read fast-paced thrillers and mysteries, then look no further than the following reads:

My Sister, the Serial Killer, by Oyinkan Braithwaite

When No One Is Watching, by Alyssa Cole

Leave the World Behind, by Rumaan Alam

The Case of the Missing Auntie, by Michael Hutchinson

Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

American Spy, by Lauren Wilkinson

The Other Black Girl, by Zakiya Dalila Harris

No matter your taste in literature, we are confident you will find a great read from one of these amazing BIPOC authors!

Redpath Book Display: Indigenous Awareness

This year McGill celebrated its 10th annual Indigenous Awareness Weeks, from September 13th – 24th and we are also marking the 20th anniversary of the First Peoples’ House Pow Wow, which took place virtually on September 24th, 2021. On Thurssday, September 30th, Canada is recognizing the first-ever National Day of Truth and Reconcilitiation. In honour of these events, the Humanities and Social Sciences Library held a physical book display in the Redpath Library for the month of September to celebrate Indigenous voices. We have now moved that display to our online Redpath Book Display space for all to enjoy.  

This display was created by Librarians and Staff in our Indigenous Issues Interest Group, we recognize that McGill University is located on unceded territory and this list was put together by workers who are settlers and grateful guests on this land. If anyone has any comments or suggestions to improve this display, please feel free to send us an email at hssl.library@mcgill.ca.  

Here are some of the wonderful texts you can find in our Indigenous Awareness display

One Drum: Stories and Ceremonies for a Planet by Richard Wagamese 

One Drum draws from the foundational teachings of Ojibway tradition, the Grandfather Teachings. Focusing specifically on the lessons of humility, respect and courage, the volume contains simple ceremonies that anyone anywhere can do, alone or in a group, to foster harmony and connection. 

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq explores a world where the distinctions between good and evil, animal and human, victim and transgressor, real and imagined lose their meaning, but the guiding power of love remains. Haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once, Tagaq moves effortlessly between fiction and memoir, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and conjures a world and a heroine readers will never forget. 

Being Together in Place: Indigenous Coexistence in a More Than Human World by Soren Larson and Jay Johnson 

Being Together in Place explores the landscapes that convene native and non-native people into sustained and difficult negotiations over their radically different interests. Using ethnographic research and a geographic perspective, this text shows activists in three sites learning how to articulate and defend their intrinsic and life-supportive ways of being – particularly to those who are intent on damaging these places. 

A Clan Mother’s Call: Reconstructing Haudenosaunee Cultural Memory by Jeannette Rodriguez

A Clan Mother’s Call articulates Haudenosaunee women’s worldview that honors women, clanship, and the earth. Over successive generations, First Nation people around the globe have experienced and survived trauma and colonization. Extensive literature documents these assaults, but few record their resilience. This book fulfills an urgent and unmet need for First Nation women to share their historical and cultural memory as a people. It is a need invoked and proclaimed by Clan Mother, Iakoiane Wakerahkats:teh, of the Mohawk Nation. 

Books on Residential Schools in Canada

Content warning: residential schools

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudensaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.

The discovery of 215 children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School has awoken many Canadians to the horrors of the residential school system in Canada. Starting in the late 1800’s, the Canadian Government and several churches devised the school system as a way of removing Indigenous children from their homes and cultures with the purpose of assimilating them into settler culture. This horrific practice has left generations of trauma among Indigenous peoples and has been labelled a cultural genocide by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

The truth about residential schools may not be known by all in Canada and may even be a completely new revelation for international students studying here at McGill University. We encourage all to take advantage of the resources available to them to learn more about this school system and the devastating impact it is had on Indigenous peoples. At the McGill Library we have many books and films that you can use to expand your knowledge and view of residential schools. The books included in the list below are told by Indigenous voices whenever possible and include both non-fiction and fiction titles.

List of books and films on residential schools in Canada.

Some of the books and films that are a part of this list were created in a time when the perspectives and language used to describe residential schools did not reflect the horrors that were inflicted within them. Please consider the time-period and the societal views of the creators as you delve into these works.

For those looking to find academic research on residential schools, our Indigenous Studies guide is a great place to start.

Other resources include:

While this is not en exhaustive list of resources, we encourage all to seek out and educate themselves not only on residential schools, but also on the history of Indigenous peoples as we all take steps forward in reconciliation.

If you have any questions about the resources shared in this post, please contact hssl.library@mcgill.ca.