Student Experience Office

Student Experience Office


Student Experience Office

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Queen's Reads

What is Queen's Reads?

Queen’s Reads is a common reading program that aims to engage the Queen’s community in a dialogue. We hope you’ll read the book and engage in some of our events over the course of the academic year. Join our events, discussion groups, and a visit from the author, no matter how much (or little) of the book you’ve read!

We’ll explore themes around intersectionality in connection with our own identities, reflecting on stories of resiliency, identifying the internal and external skills, strengths and resources that we draw on in overcoming adversity.

What book are we reading this year?

This year we have chosen Scarborough, an intersectional narrative of a low-income, culturally diverse neighbourhood that is east of Toronto. Finalist for the 2017 Toronto Book awards, co-winner of the 2015 Asian-Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writers Award, and shortlisted for the 2016 Half the World Global Literati Award, this bestseller is an important new work of Canadian literature from emerging author Catherine Hernandez.

How do I participate?

Pick up your free copy of the book in September at various locations around campus. If you require the book in an alternate format for accessibility purposes, please contact the Adaptive Technology Centre at Read what you can and come out to our events over the year. All Queen’s students are invited to participate!

More about Scarborough...

Read about Catherine Hernandez and her book Scarborough

Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood east of Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America; like many inner city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighborhood under fire: among them, Victor, a black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education.

And then there are the three kids who work to rise above a system that consistently fails them: Bing, a gay Filipino boy who lives under the shadow of his father's mental illness; Sylvie, Bing's best friend, a Native girl whose family struggles to find a permanent home to live in; and Laura, whose history of neglect by her mother is destined to repeat itself with her father.

Scarborough offers a raw yet empathetic glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighborhood that refuses to be undone (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017).

Have questions about the program? Email