In Bridgetown, the world has changed in many ways; a tiny rat with goat horns, bat wings and an eye is breaking into people’s homes and feeding on their terror. A large bird is sighted in the sky, causing the authorities to shut down all travel, and a herd of albino cows flock to the ocean. The Caribbean Ocean rages, and little children are being lured out into the woods by tiny spirits. A young girl – Akeelah, Born to a Ghanaian and Bajan family, learns how she is connected to all this when she receives a family heirloom.
She remembers conversations with people she has never met, in languages she does not speak; she is dreaming of things she has never experienced, lives she has not lived and recalls memories that are not her own. Akeelah is trapped in a web and must find a way to unravel herself and reconcile with these creatures.
Confused and terrified, she grapples with the forces of nature, tradition, heritage, and the spiritual mysteries of her culture. On her journey home to herself, Akeelah wrestles with doubt, fear, trauma and responsibility.
Door of Return (DOR) blends juju, Caribbean folklore, folktales and fantasy to explore themes of fear, identity, discovery, and responsibility.
This series takes its name from The Door of Return; an initiative to launch a new era of cooperation between Africa and the Diaspora in the 21st century.
Volume One – Trunk and Seed, is the inaugural Book in this collaborative series. Meet our writers and collaborators for this volume.
Akilah Walcott is the volume editor. She is a Guyanese woman, and her love for storytelling began at a young age. Since then, she has folded herself between the pages of creative writing. She loves painting reality at the intersection of art and philosophy to uncover hidden meanings in the most mundane things. Akilah arranged the volume and wrote Kishi and the essay Why We Create Myths. In her piece, The Kishi, we dance beneath the moon on a cool Caribbean night in the arms of a man with no name.
Cadeem Lalor was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and moved to Canada with his family at the age of four. He graduated from the politics/history program at the University of Ottawa. He then completed a master’s in communication and new media at McMaster University. During his time at McMaster, he completed a research paper on discriminatory Hollywood casting practices. He served as a research assistant for a project on Muslim representation in North American media. Aside from the minority representation in the media, Cadeem is also interested in unconscious bias and how it affects everyday decisions such as hiring and dating. He is currently working on a project on an updated university textbook, making contributions to the networking and diversity sections. In Cadeems piece – Rolling Calf, we ride an albino bull from Caribbean folklore on Bridgetown Beach.
Aseja Dava (she/her) is a Filipina writer and artist hailing from Iloilo City, Philippines. Currently situated in Dish With One Spoon Treaty Territory (Hamilton, ON), Aseja has recently completed a degree in Environmental Science at McMaster. She is a Virgo sun, Gemini moon, and Taurus rising. Aseja contributes two pieces to our series. First, Douen, where we meet a mythical spirit child from Caribbean folklore. Next, we board a Flight on a Zulu lightning bird, the size of a moon whose name is Impundulu.
Chelsea Bodoe hails from Trinidad and Tobago and currently lives in Calgary. Graduated from McMaster in 2017 (Life Sciences) and from the University of Saskatchewan in 2019, with a Master in Public Health. Chelsea has been published in both the creative and academic writing worlds. She is published both as an academic researcher in her field but also published a feature young adult novel in 2011. She writes about historical and social issues and tends to write about policy and government. In her first piece, she teaches us how to break open a coconut, and the second piece, we hatch an Egg.
Mirabelle Chiderah Harris-Eze is a 20-something Canadian-Nigerian-American with a penchant for chicken thighs, plantain, and Earl Grey tea. She loves writing stories about Chinook winds, and failure, and bleaching creams, and being an eldest daughter, and Igbo masquerades. Her short stories have been longlisted (top 200 entry out of over 5000) for the International Commonwealth Short Story Prize twice, and her essays have placed in worldwide writing competitions. She is currently working on her debut novel. She believes that the beautiful, harrowing, and vast histories of the African Diaspora deserve to be engaged with. In her piece Bue; there is a priestess, a prophecy, and an impossible decision to be made.
Ewurama Brew is a Ghanian singer/ songwriter born on the 8th of April 1995. She comes from a family of six, and she is the first daughter of her parents. She lived most of her life in Ghana and continued the rest of her high school and university in Canada. Her dream is to work with a music/film animation company to invent and create new works and make a difference in the world. She co-wrote and reimagined a Ghanian folktale, where a web the size of the world is being spun. Ewurama served as our Ghanaian cultural advisor.
Omobolanle Olarewaju is from Nigeria and has been writing for as long as she can remember. Her portfolio contains several scripts; the largest being for two Afrofest shows and production for the Hamilton Fringe Festival; two fantasy novels based on extensive African history and culture research, a poetry blog and several other personal projects. She loves fantasy and things out of the ordinary. Dark, creepy and unique is right up her alley, but also enjoys a good drama. She is interested in all things weird and African. In Scream, we are chased by a rat-like creature, Popoboa from the Island of Pemba in Tanzania.
Reina Cowan is a writer from Ottawa ON. She is a graduate of the Carleton University Bachelor of Journalism program who enjoys writing stories about art, culture, and history. Her piece, Transporting mythology explores how African stories travelled to and transformed in the Caribbean.
Deijnalle Simon is a recent graduate with a quiet passion for writing and all things communication. Born in England, raised in Canada and with strong ties to her Trinidadian heritage. Deijanellle has a unique articulation of experiences that have made her an almost docile yet steadfast young woman with for small moments with endless meaning. Deijanelle is a lover of rich cultures and dreams of travelling the world. However, she’s no stranger to the calm that comes with the familiarity of her home and family. An empath at heart, Deijanelle challenges her sensitivities into words and continues to work on sharing her writings. She co-writes Rooted, a piece where we meet a magical fairy, and learn about gardening.
Odogwu Ibezimako is a poet, playwright, and essayist. His essays explore overlooked and under-examined elements of culture and human societies. His plays try to reconstruct the lives and magic of ancient African peoples, and with his poetry and creative nonfiction, he paints portraits of his childhood memories. He blogs at ibezimako.com and is the editor of TRAD magazine. In his pieces waiting, we meet a girl who does not understand why a fish would fly and another who knows.
Teju Abiola is an illustrator at Hallmark Cards by day, and a painter all the time. She loves portraits and watercolour and has recently been getting into Procreate. Teju illustrated original scenes for this volume and paints portraits at TRAD.
Nada Elnaiem is a McMaster alumna who studied communication Studies and Multimedia. As the design lead for TRAD she works with a group of talented designers to help bring our volumes to life. She is the lead designer for this volume. Her designed pulled from Adinkra symbols and mythology to create a consistent look and feel. She is joined by Efe Osazuwa and Nabra Badr who designed Why We Create Myths, and Transporting Mythology respectively.
Amani Omar is an artist, writer and spoken word poet based in Hamilton, Ontario, whose work focuses around black representation, social issues and Somali culture, her goal is to create and inspire young creatives to explore their voices and bring about more diversity in the media. She created the comic stirps for the prologue.
Special thank you to Tine Ndhlovu who supported as a research assistant helping us uncover all the creatures from their resting places.