Join us in celebrating the latest from Vivek Shraya's VS. Books: Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain, a poetic exploration of Black identity, history, and lived experience influenced by the constant search for liberation. Presented in partnership with the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival and Library and Archives Canada.
In this incendiary debut collection, activist and poet Cicely Belle Blain intimately revisits familiar spaces in geography, in the arts, and in personal history to expose the legacy of colonization and its impact on Black bodies. They use poetry to illuminate their activist work: exposing racism, especially anti-Blackness, and helping people see the connections between history and systemic oppression that show up in every human interaction, space, and community. Their poems demonstrate how the world is both beautiful and cruel, a truth that inspires overwhelming anger and awe - all of which spills out onto the page to tell the story of a challenging, complex, nuanced, and joyful life.
In Burning Sugar, verse and epistolary, racism and resilience, pain and precarity are flawlessly sewn together by the mighty hands of a Black, queer femme.
This book is the second title to be published under the VS. Books imprint at Arsenal Pulp Press, a series curated and edited by writer-musician Vivek Shraya, featuring work by new and emerging Indigenous or Black writers, or writers of colour.
We encourage our audiences to read widely, and shop (or borrow) locally. Please click here to see the author's works in the OPL catalogue, and here to see the other works featured during this week's events. A limited number of signed books are available from our friends at Perfect Books.