Room­Mate

Yvonne Robert­son

Room Magazine - - STEWART -

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.

—Yilin Wang

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