What's a Black Critic to Do?: Interviews, Profiles and Reviews of Black Writers


208 pages
ISBN 1-894663-52-7
DDC C810.896





Reviewed by Nanette Morton

Nanette Morton teaches English at McMaster University in Hamilton.


This diverse collection of profiles, interviews, and reviews reflects
the rich complexity of black literature. Nurse is “interested in how
black characters apprehend and navigate the world. I think black
experience is as rich, diverse and compelling as white experience.”

While African-American authors such as Jamaica Kincaid and Toni
Morrison are here, Nurse concentrates on Canadian authors. Particularly
revealing is her interview with Nalo Hopkinson, André Alexis, and
Djanet Sears, who discuss the process of being edited, published, and
reviewed in Canada, and the difficulties of being contextualized without
being pigeonholed. Nurse’s reviews of books by Mairuth Sarsfield,
Austin Clarke, Makeda Silvera, David Odhiambo, Dany Laferriиre, and
others are perceptive and well written. Candid about a book’s
perceived faults, Nurse also acknowledges in her introduction that she
now sees some reviews as too generous, while others are not generous

Described by Nurse as a book “for ordinary people who are looking for
a way to talk about books and race, or movies and race, or theatre and
race,” What’s a Black Critic to Do? is essential reading for any
reader of modern Canadian literature.


Nurse, Donna Bailey., “What's a Black Critic to Do?: Interviews, Profiles and Reviews of Black Writers,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/17890.