Author bio

Chelene Knight

Chelene Knight - book author

Chelene Knight is the author of the poetry collection 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.

The Toronto Star called Knight, “one of the storytellers we need most right now.” Knight was the previous managing editor at Room (2016- June 2019), and programming director for the Growing Room Festival (2018, 2019), and now CEO of #LearnWritingEssentials and Breathing Space Creative. She often gives talks about home, belonging and belief, inclusivity, and community building through authentic storytelling.

Knight is currently working on Junie, a novel set in Vancouver’s Hogan’s Alley, forthcoming in 2020. She was selected as a 2019 Writers' Trust Rising Star by David Chariandy.

Chelene Knight is the author of books: Dear Current Occupant, Braided Skin, emerge 19: The Writer's Studio Anthology, emerge 2013 (emerge: The Writer's Studio Anthology Book 13)

Author books

From Vancouver-based writer Chelene Knight, Dear Current Occupant is a creative non-fiction memoir about home and belonging set in the 80s and 90s of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Using a variety of forms, 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 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.

Braided Skin is the vibrant telling of experiences of mixed ethnicity, urban childhood, poverty and youthful dreams through various voices. Knight writes a confident rhythm of poetry, prose and erasure by using the recurring image of braiding–a different metaphor than “mixing,” our default when speaking the language of race. In the title poem “Braided Skin,” this terminology shifts, to entwining and crossing, holding together but always displaying the promise or threat of unravelling. This is just as all tellings of family, history and relationships must be–“Skin that carries stories of missing middles.” When speaking about race, Knight raises the question, then drops it, and the image becomes other objects, then abstraction, and memory–finally becoming something “she breathes in” actively.
Local and international writers converge to create emerge 19, a powerful anthology now in its 19th year, filled with intrepid and haunting stories. Explore a tiny universe within a shard of glass, find lullabies for insomniacs and follow the kidnapping of a magical cat. In this collection, you will find prose and poetry that lay new ground, whether it be uncovering hidden jawbones in walls, bearing witness to childhoods in raging war zones, or examining one’s paradoxical relationship with aging parents. This is a meeting of stories; get lost in the voices and find yourself anew within these pages.


Chelene Knight — Foreword


Ashley Hynd — Four poems

Yong Nan Kim — My Year Without Books

Jacqueline Willcocks — Two poems

Catherine Lewis — Two poems

Steffi Tad-y — Two poems

Tara Borin — Pit Kid

Cecil Hershler — Three poems

Barbara Carter — Tamarindo Concerto

B. D. Neufeld — creature

S. Sloan MacLeod — Four poems

Zofia Rose Musiej — Five poems

Janna Walsh — Four poems

Martha Warren — Berengaria

df parizeau — A Moment, in a Day, in the Life of Данкан Гидонович

Deborah Vieyra — Glitter Smashed

Elizabeth Armerding — Don’t Let the Bedbugs


Maggie Derrick — The Witch’s Patron

Purnima Bala — The Circle of Silence

Danielle Boyd — Niall

Elisabeth de Grandpré — The Empress

Brynn Morgan — Niernen Docks

Melissa Garcia — Liliana

Carly Daelli — The Soul of Dessia

R. D. Hughes — The Mage of Thunder

Michael Aaron Mayes — Not the First Incident

Isobel McDonald — A Modern Witches’ Congress

Robert Jay Groves — The Ghosts of Christmas Past

James A. Duncan — Crossing

Sam Milbrath — The Tail of the Lake Monster

Emma Murphy — Rat

Kim June Johnson — Two pieces

Jessica Lemes da Silva — Books and Bocaditos


Alaa Al-Musalli — Ghost in the Sky

Tene Barber — Two Tall Pikes

Madeleine Lamphier — Vipassana

Jordan Smith — də’sent

Kadee Wirick Smedley — Juliette

Kathryn Robbins-Pierce — Dancing to My Own Drum

J. G. Chayko — Finding Nellie

Emelia Symington Fedy — The Tracks

Melanie L. Walker — On the Day She Chose to Go

Terri Taylor — Dreaming Myself Awake

Kelly-Anne Maddox — Saving Avi

Karen McCall — A Night in Lower Labovia

Jane Shi — How to Make Strawberry Dumplings

Hailey Rollheiser — Omelette

Adriana Añon — A Tray of Sweets

Isabella Mori — Believe Me

Lindsay Borrows & John Borrows — Border Crossings