Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being by Amy Fung


Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being by Amy Fung


Pre-order Now – Available May 7, 2019

In that moment, I felt closer to whiteness than not. I was completely complicit and didn’t think twice about entering a space that could cover their walls with images of contemporary Indigenous perspectives, but exclude their physical bodies from entering and experiencing. In that moment, I felt like a real Canadian.

Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being is the debut collection of creative nonfiction essays by Amy Fung. In it, Fung takes a closer examination at Canada’s mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity through the lens of a national art critic.

Following the tangents of a foreign-born perspective and the complexities and complicities in participating in ongoing acts of colonial violence, the book as a whole takes the form of a very long land acknowledgement. Taken individually, each piece roots itself in the learning and unlearning process of a first generation settler immigrant as she unfurls each region’s sense of place and identity.


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Praise for Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being:

“As an Indigenous/Haudenosaunee writer and reader, I recognize that Amy Fung’s book does not try to convince us that she is a native rights ally but shows us with language how to mould the term ally into a verb. Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being does not pluck the weed from the top of the grassline but removes and exposes the roots to announce that humanity is what’s normal and commonplace.” —Janet Rogers, author of Totem Poles and Railroads

“In this compelling work, Amy Fung breathes life and relevance into criticality. To explicate colonial and racist norms comprising 150+ years of this state and white settler civility, she carefully and unflinchingly seeks to right her own complicity. This visitor’s guide is integral reading.” —Cecily Nicholson, author of Wayside Sang, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry.

“Amy Fung’s project—part essay collection and part extended land acknowledgement—presents complex narratives of the self that never settle, but shift and glitter around questioning of power and representation in art and writing. An astute and darkly witty voice that takes no prisoners and will hold you captive from the first page.” —Alex Leslie, author of We All Need to Eat

Press Coverage:

Most Anticipated: Our Spring 2019 Nonfiction Preview 49th Shelf

Amy Fung is a writer, researcher and curator born in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and spent her formative years in and around Edmonton on Treaty 6 Territory. Her writing has been published and commissioned by national and international publications, galleries, museums, festivals, and journals since 2007. Her multifarious curatorial projects have spanned exhibitions, cinematic and live presentations, as well as discursive events across Canada and abroad. Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being is her first book.

Co-published with Artspeak Gallery
Essais Series No. 7
7 May 2019 | Nonfiction / Essays
8×5.25 inches | 200 pages
Trade Paper: 9781771665056

Additional information

Dimensions 8 × 5.25 in


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