The SCS Alumnae Book Club gathers virtually for its second evening of the 2020-2021 series on November 24, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
After the success of the first evening on October 1 when former St. Clement’s School English teacher Ruth Griffiths led an engaging discussion on Dionne Brand’s Theory, the focus of attention is turned to Lawrence Hill’s award-winning novel, The Book of Negroes.
Led by former SCS English teacher and novelist Patricia Westerhof, the evening will explore one of Canada’s most acclaimed and discussed recent works of historical fiction. Winner of the 2007 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and later adapted into a television mini-series, the book follows the life of Aminata Diallo. Abducted at age 11 years from her village in West Africa, Aminata is brought to a plantation in the southern United States as a slave before embarking on a life journey back to Africa via Canada and the U.K.
Derived from a historical document of the same name, The Book of Negroes was hailed by The Globe & Mail as a masterpiece. For Patricia, it is not just an enthralling read, but also most pertinent and informative.
“Literary fiction is, I think, a genre well suited to address human suffering,” she explains. “While historical documents and other rational treatises can help readers comprehend some aspects of injustice and pain, imaginative writing describes the human experience of that suffering, inviting understanding and empathy.”
As part of her comprehension of the implication of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patricia recently reread Lawrence Hill’s work and found that it helped her to develop more than simply an intellectual understanding of the history of Africans on this continent and of the race issues we are facing today. To RSVP for the Alumnae Book Club, please contact Meagan Thomas.