- May 25th, 2022: Guest host, A conversation with Francine Cunningham about her debut short story collection, GOD ISN’T HERE TODAY. Organized by Shelf Life Books.
- October 17th, 2021: Guest host, “Episode #29 – Come With Me and Be Immortal.” Bittersweet Infamy podcast. Created by Taylor Basso and Josie Mitchell.
- March 3rd, 2016: Public reading, IDENTITY. Hosted by Taylor Basso. Downtown Vancouver B.C.
- January 10th, 2013: Public reading, Locution. Hosted by fellow students in the UBC Creative Writing program. Cottage Bistro, Vancouver B.C.
“Hiding (From) Ourselves”: Shani Mootoo’s POLAR VORTEX (review)
“Priya’s characterization acknowledges the ways she is Other without essentializing her. She is a Trinidadian of Indian heritage, a lesbian, part of an interracial marriage with a white woman, an immigrant, and an artist, but she is more than the sum of these parts. We are ensconced in her thoughts about all the ways she has connected with both Alex and Prakash, but also those ways she remains uniquely apart from them.
I must confess, as an Indo-Trinidadian myself, that these sentiments resonated with me deeply, as did many of the moments in which Priya contemplates her Trinidadian identity as a way that othered her from the groups of people with whom she had interacted over the course of her life, including Canadians, other immigrants, other queer women, “real” continental Asian Indians. When Alex’s perspective takes over the narrative, Mootoo shows us the vulnerability of Priya’s cultural seclusion, but also the other side of that coin, through Alex’s honest voice…”
The Fiddlehead (Issue 291, Spring 2022)
Image source: Book*hug Press
The Crimes and Punishments of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka
“When Homolka took the stand to testify in her version of events as a key witness, she was already serving her twelve-year sentence. She stood firm in her own accounts and did not falter to Bernardo’s defense and the accusations thrown at her. She alleged that all the enthusiasm she displayed on the videotapes was faked. Every crime and assault she committed, both filmed and purported, was done under extreme duress. She had to appear happy or risk being beaten by Bernardo later. She feared for her life the entire time. She was firm in her resolve and appeared unshakable. When asked why she didn’t put a swift end to the abusive relationship when she was still living at her parents’ home, Homolka’s response was chillingly glib:
‘Hindsight is 20-20.'”
The Best New True Crime Stories: Partners in Crime (Mitzi Szereto and Mango Publishing, 2022)
Image source: Bernardo’s instructions to his lawyer regarding the location of the infamous tapes. Courtesy of Mascara & Murder.
Two-Player Mode: Me, My Brother, and Our Gaming History
“We had stacks of game cartridges, but our well-worn favorites included the Super Mario Bros. series, the Mega Man games, and, strangely, Track and Field II. Our sister Anissa also played with us from time to time, but her interests mostly lay elsewhere.
The two-player mode in Battletoads was the first opportunity for us to play simultaneously. I was terrible at it, regardless of who I played with, often damaging my fellow player with mistimed kicks and punches.”
Catapult Magazine (November 2021)
Image source: Nadine Bachan
A Defence for Selfish Stitches
“With so many knitters and crocheters pontificating on what it means to be indulgent, it’s no wonder that I feel conflicted about making things for myself. Maybe that’s why I’ve botched every item I’ve ever made for myself. Be it the yarn selection, pattern choice, or slip-ups in construction, something has always gone askew. My fears of selfishness stitched itself into self-sabotage.”
Canthius: feminism & literary arts magazine
(Whose Pleasure Is It Anyway?, Spring 2021 digital)
Image source: Nadine Bachan
Between the Sea and the Ocean
“Many people had asked how I, someone from the Caribbean, never developed the skill. After all, they wondered, don’t I go swimming in the beaches of Trinidad? I tell them yes, I go to the beaches. every precious chance I get. But do I swim? Not really.
For me, going to the beach was about an experience I thought I couldn’t have beyond Trinidad’s shores.”
The New Quarterly (Issue 155, Summer 2020)
Image source: Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC. Flying Penguin, Pacific Spirit Photography.
Race, Rage, and Perceived Threat (profile of Adnan Khan)
“Omar’s anger is palpable, yet his yearning for true and deep affection is ever-present beneath a toughened façade. Omar is apologetic and defiant all at once—to his city, to the people in his life, to the girl he lost, and to himself.”
THIS Magazine (September/October 2019)
Image source: paul (dex) bica from toronto, canada, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Life Filters In: A 21st-Century Introvert
“I get dressed for work, grab my cup of coffee, and make the 10-footsteps commute to my “office,” a desk in the corner of my living room. I consult my notes and reminders, both handwritten and categorized on my computer. I turn on my familiar soundtrack of soft music. My world—this introvert’s world—opens slowly, quietly, deliberately. It must.”
Staying Connected IRL: A Collection of Women’s Stories on Identity and Mental Health in the Digital Age (Jea Rhee, Spring 2018)
Inside the search from hell
“Back at the house, my landlord arrives from New York City to take care of her remaining possessions. The back lane is quickly filled with piles of decades-old garbage. An antique dollhouse is temporarily stored next to the dryer. I peer in at the intricate details—three storeys, hardwood flooring, big windows—and think: Shrink me down and I’d gladly live here.”
“When you are five years old, our grandparents return from a month-long trip across Europe with a gift found in an English hospital for you: a wheelchair. You hate it…”
Image sources: MarkBuckawicki, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Our parents move us to Canada for you. They take you to the children’s hospital, learn about your disability. Our house—one of several bungalows shaded by towering maple trees—becomes known as the one with the really mean cat and the big green ramp.”
Hazlitt (Fall 2015);
Wherever I Find Myself: Stories by Canadian Immigrant Women (Spring 2017, Caitlin Press).
“I have always been conscious of the way I speak, hyper-aware of the sounds that fight to be the first out of my mouth. My group classroom portraits when I was young were quintessentially multicultural—rows upon rows of toothy, chubby-cheeked faces of nearly every ethnicity a person could imagine. However, most of my young schoolmates were born and raised in Canada and spoke with Canadian accents like all of my teachers. Before I understood what the word meant, assimilation was my goal…”
Maisonneuve (Summer 2014);
“… Nature drives us to adjust to our circumstances. The mimic octopus will twist and turn and fold its body to look like various kinds of fish, or snakes, or to simply disappear into the sea bed. The lyrebird will reproduce the sounds of its environment, including the mating call of other birds and animals. Assimilation may begin as a survival tactic of sorts, but it’s also a matter of choice…”
Best Canadian Essays (2015);
“… The Trinidadian opinion of V.S. Naipaul is fascinating. Although he was born and raised in Trinidad, he moved to England at the age of eighteen… there is a sizeable group of Trinidadians who call him a traitor, a man who left the country only to exploit it years later for literary fame. He has been judged for misrepresenting the land and its people … his careful Oxbridge accent is one very noticeable indication of his distance from his birthplace.”
Broadview Anthology of Expository Prose, 3rd Canadian Edition (2017).