UBC alumna Silvia Moreno-Garcia tackles micro-aggressions within CanLit

Originally from Mexico, Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a graduate of the master's of arts in science and technology studies program at UBC, a communications coordinator for UBC’s faculty of science, and the author of three fantasy novels, Signal to Noise, Certain Dark Things and The Beautiful Ones.

Moreno-Garcia discussed the difficulty in getting her novels published in Canada given that, “there's no support for commercial literature.” Unlike in the United States, which has a thriving commercial book industry, Moreno-Garcia believes that the Canadian Council for the Arts focuses solely on “serious literature.”

Additionally, as a visible minority, Moreno-Garcia felt that the barrier to enter Canada’s literary scene was greater. On multiple occasions, she was told from Canadian publishing companies that they didn’t know how to market her book.

“It happened with Black romance writers. For a very long time people said, ‘Well, we don't know how to market Black writers. We don't know if there's a demand for Black books.’”

Moreno-Garcia also shared how the micro-aggressions she experienced within the industry took a mental toll.

"There was that basic struggle that there was nobody here who could publish me. There was nobody here who wanted to represent me … I have felt like I am treated worse than white authors — ignored or not given the resources to succeed.”

In response to the discrimination towards marginalized authors within Canada’s literary scene, Moreno-Garcia raised funds for the Emerging Indigenous Voices Awards.

“[I think] the most important thing about this award is that it comes with a good monetary prize. There's not enough funding and Indigenous people struggle more than probably any other group in Canada ... But I also hope it does bring attention to the wide variety of talent [in Canada].”

Her newest book, Gods of Jade and Shadow, will be available come August 2019. More about Moreno-Garcia's work, and where to find her books online or on shelves, can be found on her website.