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Pickle Me This

June 1, 2020

From My Mother’s Back, by Njoki Wane

Want to support a Black Canadian writer releasing a book this spring? Pick up Njoki Wane’s rich and generous memoir From My Mother’s Back, a story that weaves her childhood in rural Kenya with her current experiences as a professor at the University of Toronto, showing the long journey she took to meet her goals, but also how these two parts of her life are deeply connected, and informed by her strong bond with her siblings, her parents, especially her mother, and her ancestors.

Wane writes about the view from her mother’s back as her mother showed her the world, about losing her name and connection to her culture as she attended Catholic boarding school, her passion for learning and teaching, and what it means to be Black in Canada (“It’s like there’s a story written on my skin that I’m not allowed to read.”)

There is wisdom here, as Wane writes of overcoming hardship and also of her struggles. “These are the moments that shape us; these are the memories that carve our future from the woodwork of possibility. Struggle and challenge, appreciation and gratitude narrow our focus define our values and provide us with stillness necessary for grounding.”

It’s a wonderful, inspiring and hopeful read.

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