I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Manuel in May about her book, The Heaviness of Things That Float. I have so much to say about this novel and our conversation! But let me start with this: the novel is exceptionally well written. Jennifer is a master craftswoman who deserves to be widely read. The BC Book Prize folks agree--Jennifer won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2017.
The themes of The Heaviness of Things That Float are timely--we have been engaged in a nationwide conversation about cultural appropriation, responsibility, and ethics. The week before we recorded this episode, Canadians erupted to call out the mis-guided 'cultural appropriation prize' literary fiasco. In The Heaviness of Things That Float, Jennifer uses fiction to bring to life the very real issues Canadians must grapple with, including racism, colonialism, intergenerational trauma, privilege, and the need to have honest conversations about truth and reconciliation. In addition to talking about the novel, we ask: how do we transform conversation into effective action? And Ally-ship into reparation?
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