Meet one of Room’s new submission readers, Yvonne Robertson. She is a journalist, editor, and communications professional based in Toronto.
Who are your favourite creative non-fiction writers and journalists? One of the first creative non-fiction pieces I read as a young adult was Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and I was captivated and inspired by the themes she explores in her argument for a space for women writers. Although I still consider Woolf one of my favourites, the literary journey that unfolded since then led me to discover Margaret Atwood and Ernest Hemingway; writers of the New Journalism tradition such as Joan Didion, Jimmy Breslin, and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc; Dionne Brand, Dave Eggers, Thomas King, and Arundhati Roy. More recently, I have stumbled upon, and fast-loved, works by Zadie Smith, Siri Hustvedt, James Baldwin, and bell hooks.
What are your favourite books or publications related to social justice and activism? One of my favourite publications related to social justice is Vancouver’s street paper, Megaphone. I’m a big supporter of the International Network of Street Papers, in general. I have a huge admiration for what street papers accomplish as they work to help break the cycle of poverty for thousands around the world through empowering homeless and low-income individuals with a voice and employment opportunity.
What are you currently reading? I recently read In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate. It’s a thorough, thoughtful, and compassionate read about the nature of addiction and the science behind it, telling the stories of real people. It breaks down stereotypes and builds empathy. The book I’m currently reading that I would love to recommend is Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian. It’s a powerful read that lays bare the legacy of colonialism and its deep-cutting repercussions today. King offers ways to establish equality and harmony, which ultimately makes The Inconvenient Indian a hopeful book about healing.