Let’s Talk About Class

David Chariandy, Matthew Dickman, Kevin Hardcastle

Let’s Talk About Class

Moderator: Angie Abdou

Event Number: 74
Tickets: $20.00

Let’s Talk About Class

David Chariandy, Matthew Dickman, Kevin Hardcastle

Saturday, October 21
10:30am - 12:00pm
Revue Stage

1601 Johnston St.

Characters from the working class are often treated stereotypically, or as foils for wealthier characters, or don’t appear at all, in contemporary literature. These three writers make social class a focal point of their stories and poems. David Chariandy’s fictional brothers Michael and Francis, sons of Trinidadian immigrants living in suburbia, confront prejudice, low expectations and even outright fear from their neighbours. American poet Matthew Dickman fashions melancholic portraits of impoverished white teenagers, some struggling with addiction and sliding into oblivion. Written in spare, muscular prose, Kevin Hardcastle’s novel penetrates the heart of what it means to endure life in the underclass and to find small happiness there. If we thought that social class was a nineteenth century English construct, this conversation will make us think again.

Event Participants:

David Chariandy

British Columbia

David Chariandy is a Canadian writer and one of the co-founders of Commodore Books, the first dedicated black Canadian press in Western Canada. His academic focus is on diaspora and the racialized experience of black Canadians, as well as the stories they tell. His debut novel, Soucouyant, was well-reviewed and nominated for many literary prizes and awards, including a shortlisting for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Brother, his second novel, details the relationship of two Trinidadian teenager brothers as they navigate their way through the complex issues of identity, race, and family. He currently teaches at Simon Fraser University.

Matthew Dickman

United States

Matthew Dickman is an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Clackamas Literary Review and The New Yorker. He has published chapbooks and books, worked as a poetry editor at Tin House and as a professor of creative writing at Vermont College of the Arts. His most recent poetry collection, Brother, was written with his twin brother Michael about their older brother’s suicide. The book has been praised for each poet’s distinct writing style as they unflinchingly reflect on grief, family and life.


Kevin Hardcastle


Kevin Hardcastle is a fiction writer whose debut collection of short stories Debris won the 2016 Trillium Book Award and received copious accolades. His work has appeared in The Walrus, Joyland, The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review and has been anthologized in Best Canadian Stories and in two issues of The Journey Prize Stories. His first novel, In the Cage, is a carefully crafted story with powerful, direct prose. After an extremely vicious Mixed Martial Arts cage-fighter suffers a career-ending injury, he falls into the criminal world for work.