Shauntay Grant is a writer, storyteller, and former poet laureate for the City of Halifax. She teaches creative writing at Dalhousie University, and has shared her work internationally at festivals and events. An award-winning author of children’s literature, her most recent publication Africville (Groundwood, 2018) was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award. Her other honours include a Best Atlantic Published Book Prize from the Atlantic Book Awards, a Poet of Honour prize from Spoken Word Canada, and a Joseph S. Stauffer Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts.
What excites you most as an artist?
I love the early stages of a project, long before publication or presentation, when nothing is set in stone and every idea is possible.
What do you consider the greatest advantage of creating art in Nova Scotia?
Being close to the people, places, and stories that have been (and continue to be) a constant source of inspiration for my work.
What was your biggest challenge when creating your nominated work?
Writing about a place I hadn’t lived, but one I wanted to know and to celebrate.
What do you hope the take away is for people experiencing your nominated work?
Often when we hear about Africville we hear about the negative things that were done to the community – all of the unwanted services like the garbage dump, railroad tracks, slaughterhouse, and lack of sewers and running water. But that is only a part of the story. For more than 150 years Africville was a vibrant, self-sustaining community. It was a home. And this celebration of home is what I hope readers will take away from the book.