Author, professional writer, editor
Fiona Clarke is a writer and a graduate of the University of Toronto. Fiona is passionate about telling the stories of Black people around the world and is interested in putting Black Canadians on the map. Fiona is also a writer for Who’s Who In Black Canada. She has recently published her first book, Basodee: An Anthology Dedicated to Black Youth, which she edited.
She is currently coordinating a forthcoming book and is working on one of her own. Fiona enjoys life-writing, chronicling the achievements of Black Canadians, research and collecting books
What was it that made you choose to become a professional writer versus any other profession?
FRC: I’ve always wanted to become a writer since I was a small child writing my first novel in the first grade. Though I am about to start law school, I still want to incorporate writing and publishing into my future career and make a living doing what I love: getting my words into print.
You are a writer for Who’s Who in Black Canada. What has your experience been like thus far?
FRC: My experience with Who’s Who in Black Canada has been a very positive one. I have gotten the chance to do interviews with so many amazing people doing great things for Canada. Through it, I have discovered that I really enjoy doing life-writing, as each person I write an article about is inspiring to me.
Your recently published book, Basodee: An Anthology Dedicated to Black Youth, is said to be an eye-opening collection of poems, essays and stories. What makes it an eye-opener?
FRC: I think it’s eye-opening because it talks about racism and the problem of Black Canadian youth not finding a place of belonging within the fabric of Canadian society. We’re an often overlooked segment of society unless it is an issue to do with crime, and the contributors to the book, including myself, speak very candidly about our experiences.
You are passionate about Black History and Afrocentrism. Is this the reason for writing an anthology about the Black Canadian experience?
FRC: I am. I originally wanted to put together the collection in honour of Black History Month. The project received a lot of support from the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and kind of took off from there, becoming broader and more encompassing as a potential resource for youth all-year round.
Is there a message you want to get across in this varied anthology?
FRC: Black youth have historically not been able to find a place within Canadian society. In not knowing our history we have been left disoriented and confused. This confusion has to stop if we are to hope for change in our future.
What are you hoping people, especially Black youths, will take from this book?
FRC: I hope they will feel that they are not alone in what they are feeling—whether they’re new immigrants or first or second generation Canadians. I hope they see themselves in the personal stories and learn a bit more about Black history through the essays.
Have you ever written a story, poem, essay that you thought was good at first, but after reading it over, changed your mind? How do you determine if an article, story, essay or poem is good enough to keep/publish?
FRC: I think getting to the point of thinking something I wrote is ‘good’ is a such a long process that by the time I come to think that, I honestly don’t change my mind. I feel something is publishable only after I’ve read it over dozens of times, heard it spoken, made corrections and got a certain feeling of comfort and satisfaction from the piece. I have a whole ritual I go through before I can deem something as ‘finished.’
Any future plans to publish another book? If so, have you decided on the genre?
FRC: I am currently wrapping up a compilation of essays on the African Canadian religious experience in partnership with the Ontario Black History Society, which will be coming out next year for Black History Month. Right now I am mainly focusing on my non-fiction and trying to strengthen that and bring it up to the same level as my fiction writing which has been my focus for as long as I have been writing.