This week in our official book playlist series, we welcome Chelene Knight’s Junie!
1930s, Hogan’s Alley—a thriving Black and immigrant community located in Vancouver’s East End. Junie is a creative, observant child who moves to the alley with her mother, Maddie: a jazz singer with a growing alcohol dependency. “Despite poverty and the unkindness of a bitter, disillusioned mother, Junie discovers wisdom and artistic inspiration in the beautiful complexity of her community—even as she fully embraces her racial and sexual identity. Page by page, we grow fonder of this compelling young Black woman who ultimately wins our compassion, delight, and respect,” writes literary critic Donna Bailey Nurse.
This playlist features classic tunes of hope and striving by Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke and more. Enjoy! You can listen to the playlist on Spotify or below.
And if you prefer to listen while reading the book, Junie is available to order from our online shop, or from your local independent bookstore.
Vancouver-born Chelene Knight is the author of Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award. Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals and newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and The Walrus and her work has been widely anthologized. Her poem ‘Welwitschia’ won the 2020 Contemporary Verse 2‘s Editor’s Choice award. She was shortlisted for PRISM‘s 2021 Short Forms contest. Chelene is the founder of her own literary studio, Breathing Space Creative, through which she has launched The Forever Writers Club, whose members are writers focused on creative sustainability. Chelene works as a literary agent with the Transatlantic Agency. She lives in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia.