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‘Other Side of the Game’ selected for 2020-2021 Queen’s Reads common reading program

Award-winning play highlights the experiences of Black women in Toronto.

Graphic design for Queen's Reads
The annual Queen’s Reads program aims to engage students in meaningful discussion, encourage critical thinking, and promote connection and community building among students, faculty, and staff.

This year’s Queen’s Reads selection explores themes of anti-Black racism, institutional oppression, Black activism, and the ride-or-die philosophy in the civil rights movement.

Other Side of the Game by Toronto-based writer and broadcaster Amanda Parris follows two storylines – set 40 years apart – that centre on the experiences of Black women in Toronto.

In the 1970s, Beverly joins a Black activist group and has to prove her dedication. In the present, Nicole reunites with her ex-boyfriend who has just been released from prison. Both women must fight to have their voices heard while supporting their loved ones, discovering where their loyalties lie in the process.

Other Side of the Game premiered in 2017, and is Parris’s playwriting debut. It was published in 2019, and won the Governor General's Literary Award.

The annual Queen’s Reads program aims to engage students in meaningful discussion, encourage critical thinking, and promote connection and community building among students, faculty, and staff.

The Student Experience Office (SEO) in Student Affairs runs the program, and has been working to ensure this year’s Queen’s Reads prioritizes the needs of Black community members at Queen’s. This includes bringing together a programming committee that is composed almost entirely of Black student leaders.

“We all fulfill roles in perpetuating anti-Blackness and white supremacy through our ideologies, interpersonal relationships and institutions; this includes Queen’s where oppression, exclusion and microaggressions have been normalized and practiced widely,” says Jenna Huys, Student Assistant, Diversity and Inclusivity at the SEO. “Queen’s Reads stands as an opportunity to continue challenging anti-Blackness, to value the lived experiences of Black folks and specifically Black womxn, as well as to commit to practicing anti-racism.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic, most of this year’s Queen’s Reads will be held online. The SEO will be facilitating a range of live and asynchronous events, including a scheduled author talk with Parris on March 10, 2021, and online content, such as Black Excellence Spotlights that will be featured on the SEO website and social media channels throughout February 2021.

“All members of the Queen’s community are encouraged to participate,” says Clarissa de Leon, this year’s Queen’s Reads Programming Co-ordinator. “You do not have to have read the play to take part in Queen’s Reads programming.”

A free copy of Other Side of the Game will be available to all Queen’s students, faculty and staff. The e-book can be downloaded on the Queen’s University Library website starting this month. Limited physical copies will also be accessible in the fall.

Learn more about Queen’s Reads.