Beloved May 31, 2022

Chelene Knight’s Tribute to Toni Morrison

The first time I read Toni Morrison’s work, I knew immediately that language was power. I found myself lost inside of its arms. I never wanted to apologize for this. I came into Morrison’s work quite late. I first read The Bluest Eye in 2013 after a writing mentor recommended that I dive in. Never before have I felt so seen, and not only because her writing spoke uniquely and unapologetically to Black peoples, worrying not about the ever-present white gaze, but because the poetic stylings and pizazz of her writing led me into a writing frenzy of my own.

Doors, windows, and portholes to new worlds and ways of storytelling presented themselves to me through her writing.

Chelene Knight

Doors, windows, and portholes to new worlds and ways of storytelling presented themselves to me through her writing. I knew that I too wanted to change literature for the better and help other Black women hold the spaces that have been historically withheld from us. Now, I have written a novel where a young Black introverted female artist shows the world the power of her uniquely perceptive nature, and a nonfiction book on Black self love and joy. I have Morrison to thank for the indirect permission to create unapologetically. Morrison’s work was light years ahead of its time and I am grateful for the opportunity to have the gift of her words forever at my disposal.

Check out Chelene Knight’s upcoming Novel Junie

Book cover for Chelene Knight's 'Junie'

Portrait of Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight’s new novel Junie will be released in September 2022. Vancouver native is the author of Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award. Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals and newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and The Walrus and her work has been widely anthologized. Her poem Welwitschia won the 2020 Contemporary Verse 2’s Editor’s Choice award. She was shortlisted for PRISM’s 2021 Short Forms contest.

Chelene is the founder of her own literary studio, Breathing Space Creative, through which she has launched The Forever Writers Club, whose members are writers focused on creative sustainability. Chelene works as a literary agent with the Transatlantic Agency. She lives in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia.

To learn more about Toni Morrison and her legacy get your tickets for Beloved: A Celebration of Toni Morrison and Black Women Writers with Donna Bailey Nurse

Further Reading on Toni Morrison’s Impact