Robyn Maynard is the author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (Fernwood 2017). The book, her first, is a CBC, Toronto Star, and Globe and Mail national bestseller in its fourth printing. Policing Black Lives was designated as one of the best 100 books of 2017 by the Hill Times, and is the winner of the 2017 Errol Morris Book Award. It was also a finalist for The Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers; an Atlantic Book Award; the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction; and the Concordia University First Book Prize. Policing Black Lives received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, as well as glowing reviews in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, Now Toronto, Maclean’s, and the Ottawa Citizen. The book has been translated to French for Mémoire d’encrier, and NoirEs sous surveillance: Esclavage, répression et violence d’État au Canada, and won the prestigious Prix des libraires award in 2019.

Photo credit: Stacy Lee Photography

Maynard’s writing has been published in the Washington Post, World Policy Journal, the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette and Canadian Women’s Studies journal. Her writing on policing, criminalization, gender, and anti-Black racism is taught widely in universities across Canada and the United States. Her expertise is regularly sought in local, national, and international media outlets including The Guardian and the Globe and Mail. She has spoken before Parliamentary subcommittees and the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.

Maynard has a long history of involvement in community activism and advocacy. She been a part of grassroots movements against racial profiling, police violence, detention and deportation for over a decade and has an extensive work history in the provision of harm reduction-based service.

Robyn Maynard can be found on social media:

Facebook @PolicingBlackLives, on Instagram at @PolicingBlack, and on Twitter @PolicingBlack  

Robyn’s writing & scholarship:

Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (Fernwood Publishing, October 2017).

Delving behind Canada’s veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black life in Canada.

While highlighting the ubiquity of Black resistance, Policing Black Lives traces the still-living legacy of slavery across multiple institutions, shedding light on the social and historical forces behind Black poverty and unemployment, racial profiling, police violence, disproportionate incarceration, immigration detention and deportation, exploitative migrant labour practices, disproportionate child removal and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Emerging from a critical race feminist framework that insists that all Black lives matter, Maynard’s intersectional approach to anti-Black racism addresses the unique and understudied impacts of state violence as it is experienced by Black women, Black people with disabilities, as well as queer, trans, and undocumented Black communities. A call-to-action, Policing Black Lives urges readers to work toward dismantling structures of racial domination and re-imagining a more just society.

Praise for Policing Black Lives

Robyn Maynards meticulously-researched and compelling analysis of state violence challenges prevailing narratives of Canadian multiculturalism and inclusion by examining how structures of racism and ideologies of gender are complexly anchored in global histories of colonization and slavery. This book should be read not only by those who have a specific interest in Canadian histories and social justice movements but by anyone interested in the abolitionist and revolutionary potential of the Black Lives Matters movement more broadly.

— Angela Y. Davis

A crucial work in chronicling Black experiences in Canada. If you only read one book this year, make it this one. Policing Black Lives is a comprehensive and necessary book for anyone who cares about the past, present and future of Black life in this country. Brilliant work!

— Black Lives Matter Toronto

In this eye-opening and timely book, Robyn Maynard deftly and conclusively pulls back the veil on anti-Black racism in Canada, exploding the myth of multiculturalism through an emphatically and unapologetically intersectional lens. In compelling and accessible prose, Maynard provides a sweeping overview of Canadian state violence from colonial times to the present, seamlessly articulating the relationship – and distinctions – between settler colonialism and anti-Blackness, and centering Black women, trans and gender nonconforming people within the broader narrative. Through an analysis squarely situated in the global socioeconomic context, Policing Black Lives explores parallels between state violence in Canada and its neighbor to the South, as well as the unique legal, social and historical forces informing criminalization through segregation, surveillance, stop and frisk/carding/street checks, the war on drugs, gang policing, the school to prison pipeline, welfare fraudand child welfare enforcement, and the

conflation of immigration and criminality. The result is both eye-opening and chilling, firmly pointing to shared fronts of struggle across borders. Policing Black Lives is a

critical read for all in Canada and the United States who #SayHerName and assert that #BlackLivesMatter, and essential to movements for Black liberation on Turtle Island.

— Andrea J. Ritchie, author Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color

To understand this moment in Canada when Black communities are asserting that Black Lives really do matter, readers need this book.

— Sylvia D. Hamilton

Grounded in an impressive and expansive treatment of Black Canadian history, Maynard has written a powerful account of state anti-Black violence in Canada.

Empirically rich and theoretically nimble, this work is an outstanding contribution to Black Canadian Studies.

— Barrington Walker, Queen’s University

Timely, urgent, and cogent…brilliantly elucidates the grotesque anti-Black racist practices coming from the state, and other institutions imbued with power over Black peoples lives.

— Afua Cooper

Robyn Maynard offers powerful lessons for making anti-blackness in Canada legible to activists, scholars, policy makers, and community members committed to building a future nationand worldfree of racism, heteropatriarchy, xenophobia, and exploitation

— Erik S. McDuffie, author of Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism

Thanks, Robyn Maynard, for opening all of our eyes to a scary history and frightening present for Black Canada.

— Patrisse Cullors-Khan, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network

Robyn is represented by Chelene Knight and Marilyn Biderman.