Congratulations on the publication of CODE NOIR by Canisia Lubrin publishing today from Knopf Canada!

Canisia Lubrin’s debut fiction is that rare work of art—a brilliant, startlingly original book that combines immense literary and political force. Its structure is deceptively simple: it departs from the infamous real-life “Code Noir,” a set of historical decrees originally passed in 1685 by King Louis XIV of France defining the conditions of slavery in the French colonial empire. The original Code had fifty-nine articles; Code Noir has fifty-nine linked fictions—vivid, unforgettable, multi-layered fragments filled with globe-wise characters who desire to live beyond the ruins of the past.

Ranging in style from contemporary realism to dystopia, from futuristic fantasy to historical fiction, this inventive, shape-shifting braid of stories exists far beyond the enclosures of official decrees. This is a timely, daring, virtuosic book by a young literary star. The stories are accompanied by black-and-white drawings—one at the start of each fiction—by acclaimed visual artist Torkwase Dyson.

Praise for CODE NOIR:

“Written in language that crackles with life and humour, the stories in Canisia Lubrin’s Code Noir: Metamorphoses usher us into the lives of their narrators, lives that are filled with a kind of wonder and surprise. Such an invitation to enter and imagine their worlds. In its formal inventiveness and sheer audaciousness, Code Noir is unlike anything else that I’ve ever read. Lubrin is a force.” —Christina Sharpe, author of Ordinary Notes and In the Wake

“Code Noir is storytelling at its deepest and most intimate. The stories take you into their confidences – confidences that are knowing, but at the same time defamiliarizing. You have to meet their speakers wherever they are in their lives. These speakers know things they shouldn’t know and, uncannily, they know things that you know. Things about lullabies and dogs and elephants. The stories say, loneliness is nostalgia; they listen to Billie Holiday during a war; they know the decrees of Code Noir, that 17th century rulebook for Black life; they know the realm of time, where best friends drown in rivers. Some of these stories are like looking through blue sea glass, some are like drinking strong liquor, some are like a whiff of smoke and then an orange light. These stories are magic and you must enter them as if you, too, are wondrous.” —Dionne Brand, author of Nomenclature, Theory, and Map to the Door of No Return

“A singular achievement.” —Souvankham Thammavongsa, author of How to Pronounce Knife

Canisia Lubrin’s books include Voodoo Hypothesis and The Dyzgraphxst. Lubrin’s work has been recognized with the Griffin Poetry Prize, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry, the Derek Walcott Prize, the Writer’s Trust of Canada Rising Stars prize, and others. 

Finalist for the Trillium Award for Poetry and Governor General’s Literary Award, Lubrin has held fellowships at the Banff Centre, Civitella Ranieri in Italy, Simon Frasier University, Literature Colloquium Berlin, Queen’s University, and Victoria College at University of Toronto. She studied at York University and the University of Guelph, where she now coordinates the Creative Writing MFA in the School of English & Theatre Studies. 

In 2021, Lubrin received a Windham-Campbell prize for poetry, and the Globe & Mail named her Poet of the Year. Code Noir: Metamorphoses is her debut fiction, and includes stories listed for the Journey Prize (2019, 2020), Toronto Book Award (2018) and the Shirley Jackson Award (2021). 

Canisia is represented by Samantha Haywood.

Order a copy of Canisia’s CODE NOIR: