May 30, 2024:

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Dear Current Occupant: A Memoir

Dear Current Occupant: A Memoir

Dear Current Occupant: A Memoir

Winner the 2018 City of Vancouver Book Award

Longlisted for the 2019 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature

Chelene Knight Selected by David Chariandy for Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Rising Star Program

Dear Current Occupant is a creative nonfiction memoir about home and belonging set in the 80s and 90s of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Using a variety of forms including letters, essays and poems, Knight reflects on her childhood through a series of letters addressed to all of the current occupants now living in the twenty different houses she moved in and out of with her mother and brother. From blurry and fragmented non-chronological memories of trying to fit in with her own family as the only mixed East Indian/Black child, to crystal clear recollections of parental drug use, Knight draws a vivid portrait of memory that still longs for a place and a home.

Peering through windows and doors into intimate, remembered spaces now occupied by strangers, Knight writes to them in order to deconstruct her own past. From the rubble of memory she then builds a real place in order to bring herself back home.

About the author

Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight is the author of the Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant, winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award, and long-listed for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.

Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals, plus the Globe and Mail, the Walrus, and the Toronto Star.

Her work is anthologized in Making Room, Love Me True, Sustenance, The Summer Book, and Black Writers Matter, winner of the 2020 Saskatchewan Book Award.

Her poem, “Welwitschia” won the 2020 CV2 Editor’s Choice award. She was shortlisted for PRISM’s 2021 short forms contest.

Chelene’s new novel Junie, is available with Book*hug Press now, and her book on Black self-love and joy is forthcoming with HarperCollins Canada in 2023.

Knight was the previous managing editor at Room magazine, and the previous festival director for the Growing Room Festival in Vancouver.

She has also worked as a professor of poetry at the University of Toronto. Chelene is now founder of her own literary studio,
Breathing Space Creative through which she’s launched The Forever Writers Club, a membership for writers focused on creative sustainability.

Chelene works as a literary agent with the Transatlantic Agency.

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