Shame On Me by McWatt, Tessa

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ISBN 9781925849011 – Scribe Publications – Scribe Publications Paperback 320 pp – August 2019

Tessa McWatt is the author of six novels and two books for young people. Her fiction has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the City of Toronto Book Awards, and the OCM Bocas Prize. Her most recent novel is Higher Ed (Scribe/Random House Canada), and she is the co-editor, along with Dionne Brand and Rabindranath Maharaj, of Luminous Ink- writers on writing in Canada (Cormorant). Her forthcoming books include Where Are You Agnes? (Groundwood Books), a picture book for children based on the life of abstract expressionist painter Agnes Martin. She is one of the winners of the Eccles British Library Award 2018, for her forthcoming memoir- Shame on Me- an anatomy of race and belonging. She is also a librettist, most recently working with British composer Hannah Kendall. McWatt is a Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

What are you?

SKU: UB-9781925849011 Category: Tag:


Tessa McWatt knows first-hand that the answer to this question, often asked of people of colour by white people, is always more complicated than it seems. Is the answer English, Scottish, British, Caribbean, Portuguese, Indian, Amerindian, French, African, Chinese, Canadian? Like most families, hers is steeped in myth and the anecdotes of grandparents and parents who recount their histories through the lens of desire, aspiration, loss, and shame.

In Shame On Me she unspools all the interwoven strands of her multicoloured inheritance, and knits them back together using additional fibres from literature and history to strengthen the weave of her refabricated tale. She dismantles her own body and examines it piece by piece to build a devastating and incisively subtle analysis of the race debate as it now stands, in this stunningly written exploration of who and what we truly are.