2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing Finalist
Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone)
Not black, not white, but brown: how do skin colour and its shades play out in our relationships, our economy, and our politics? Kamal Al-Solaylee’s book dares to propose and define an emerging racial category, drawing on a lifetime’s travel and inquiry to discuss the common experience and the awkward status of the Latin, Asian, and Mediterranean peoples of the fast-rising global south. Thoughtful and refreshing, Brown has a chance to become a made-in-Canada intellectual landmark.
About the Book
Historically speaking, issues of race and skin colour have been interpreted along black and white lines, leaving out millions of people whose stories of migration and racial experiences have shaped our modern world. Brown is packed with storytelling and on-the-street reporting conducted over two years in ten countries from four continents that reveals a multitude of lives and stories. It contains striking research about immigration, workers’ lives and conditions, and the pursuit of a lighter shade of brown as a global status symbol. It is also a personal book, as the author reflects on his own identity and experiences as a brown-skinned person (in his case from Yemen) who has grown up with images of whiteness as the only indicators of beauty and desire.
About the Author
Kamal Al-Solaylee is an associate professor at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University. His first book Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes won the Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, a Lambda Literary Award, and CBC’s Canada Reads. Born in Yemen, Al-Solaylee was the national theatre critic for The Globe and Mail and holds a PhD in Victorian literature from the University of Nottingham. He lives in Toronto.