Guest editors Emmanuelle Andrews & Katrina Sellinger introduce Issue 3.34

It is uncommon on this unceded Coast Salish land called “Vancouver” to see the radiant faces of so many black people in one room; more familiar are we with those rare, unexpected moments when we see another solitary “i” in this city, as Ian William so aptly notes in “Our eyes meet across yet another room,” that the on-stage dialogue in June between Dionne Brand, Christina Sharpe, and David Chariandy felt like a long-awaited gift. We left invigorated. What was the work of words for us as students, activists, creators? How do we do the work of words in the climates that we find ourselves in? David Chariandy—our professor for only three months that summer but someone we now envision as a lifelong mentor—encouraged us to follow this thread. He connected us with The Capilano Review’s former editor, Andrea Actis, another new mentor, and thus this special issue of TCR on “the work of words” was born.

When we began to curate this issue, we were unsure of how the submissions might come together, as might be the case with any collaborative venture. We’d invited contributors with the prompt What is “the work of words” for black creators now? and excitedly awaited their interpretations of the question. Despite our uncertainty, we were awestruck by the conversation that we saw between the pieces. This issue is not just held together by blackness, nor does it attempt to provide a definition of blackness. These pieces capture a multiplicity of black joy, fear, desire, communion, sorrow, and life.

Emmanuelle Andrews is a British black feminist, filmmaker, dancer, and lover of words. She is currently studying for her MA in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the Social Justice Institute, University of British Columbia. She first met Katrina Sellinger in 2017, in a class led by Dr. Denise Ferreira da Silva. Katrina then starred in Emmanuelle’s short experimental documentary film, Coming to Love, co-filmed and edited with Pedro Daher (images of which are in this issue). They have been friends ever since, making working together – academically speaking and otherwise – particularly wonderful.

Katrina Sellinger is a biracial Black femme from the Cayman Islands. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at the University of British Columbia. After working with Emmanuelle on Coming to Love, Katrina was lucky enough to take two more seminars with her, led by Dr. David Chariandy and Dr. Phanuel Antwi, the former of whom suggested we make the dream of this project on “the Work of Words” a reality. Thinking and creating collaboratively with Emmanuelle has been one of the most nourishing parts of Katrina’s time in Vancouver, and this special issue of TCR has been no exception.

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