Commodore Books is the first and only black literary press in western Canada.


June 2010





November 2008


Troy Burle Bailey's The Pierre Bonga Loops

A documentary poem that lays bare the black presence in the northwest, The Pierre Bonga Loops is also about fathers and sons, now and then. Born in the 1780's Bonga was the son of freed slaves who worked for J. Sayer and Co. in 1795 at Fond du Lac. He was employed by the North West Co., the South West Co. and the American Fur Co. in their Fond du Lac Departments. Using images and text from documentary sources including the Hudson's Bay Company Archive, Bailey has constructed an important, innovative and exciting book.


Crawford Kilian's Go Do Some Great Thing: The Black Pioneers of British Columbia

The voyage north of some 600 blacks from San Francisco to Victoria during the 1858 Fraser Canyon Gold Rush was one of the most unusual mass migrations in North American history. While the British colonies of the Pacific Northwest were overrun with migrants from all lands on the quest for gold, this black community sought freedom and political enfranchisement as much as fortune. Go Do Some Great Thing: The Black Pioneers of British Columbia describes a history that stands at the crossroads of multiple national narratives – the imperial contest between Britain and the United States, the emergence of Canada as a state, the fate of dozens of First Nations, and the furthest and most unlikely reaches of the global African diaspora.

November 2007


Addena Sumter-Freitag's Stay Black & Die

Addena Sumter-Freitag's Stay Black & Die is a funny and provocative play about growing up black in Winnipeg's North End during the 1950s and '60s. This one-woman play tells the story of a little girl called Penny. It's about growing up in a dysfunctional home, about being the only black family in Winnipeg's Post-World War II immigrant neighbourhood, and Penny's triumph in facing the injustices of sexism and racism. Sumter-Freitag takes the title from an expression her mother often used as she was growing up. "She realized by the time I came along, 'Let this kid know right away who she is, what's happening, what to expect.' So she always kept saying, 'You're black. You're going to stay black and die.'"

November 2006

Fred Booker's Adventures in Debt Collection

The stories in Adventures in Debt Collection come freshly dispatched from the offices of Worldwide Finance Ltd. – a fictional collection house whose agents chase defaultees across the terrain of our multicultural society. Along the way, a bailiff tries to reconcile the legacy of his heroic black pioneer ancestor with his life as a contemporary repo man; a gang of children act with the precision of Sun Tzu to thwart the repossession of a local’s car; and a Japanese Canadian, who once passed for Cree after the WWII internment, is sent to a Native reservation to reclaim a wayward Nissan. Tracing fugitive vehicles and the people who belong to them, Fred Booker’s deftly-written tales range from the offices of over-extended capitalists to the driveways of the payment-missing masses, and all points in-between.