“In her work of non-fiction, Esi Edugyan takes a luminous and effervescent look at race and identity in language that is both accessible and formal. With her elegant, rich and surprising translation, Catherine Ego brilliantly reproduces the very breath of this beautifully poetic work. Her comprehensive view and daring style confer remarkable authenticity to this work.”
—Peer assessment committee: Rose Després, Marie-Thé Morin and Benoit Laflamme
Until the 20th century, Black people were rarely represented in western literature and art and, when they were, they were almost never shown as human beings in their own right. But what happens when we decide to give these men and women who, until now, were relegated to the margins of our stories and representations, centre stage? To what extent does this reversal of perspectives challenge and complicate our understanding of history and our individual and collective identities?
Halfway between a literary essay, a life story and a historical chronical, Dans l’ombre du soleil offers a nuanced and discerning meditation on identity, art and belonging, as well as the sanctuary and comfort provided by the stories we invent and pass down through generations. Drawing on an examination of numerous works of art, literature and film, novelist Esi Edugyan sheds light on her own journey as a Canadian born in Calgary to Ghanaian parents and that of Black people who have long remained in the shadows. She also shares her views on the many artistic and societal debates that have dominated the news in recent years in the wake of movements like Black Lives Matter.
This is an essential book that demonstrates that what we don’t know says as much about us as what we celebrate.
Catherine Ego is a literary translator, author and performer. She has translated more than 30 novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories and poetry, many of them written by Indigenous writers. A Translation finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards with Voisins et ennemis in 2015, she won in the same category the following year for La destruction des Indiens des Plaines. She has namely translated Sur les traces de tante Charlotte (Michael Hutchinson, 2023), Zolitude (Paige Cooper, 2019), Birdie (Tracey Lindberg, 2018) and Le harpon du chasseur (Markoosie, 2010). Official translator for Cree writer Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer during her term as the Parliamentary Poet Laureate (2021–22), Catherine Ego is interested in art, social issues and orality. She is a course lecturer in literary translation.
Photo courtesy of Catherine Ego