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Frying Plantain

Frying Plantain

by Zalika Reid-Benta
  • debut
  • diversity
  • literary
  • short-stories

A stunning debut novel-in-stories about a young Jamaican-Canadian girl that artfully depicts second-generation immigrant and cultural expectations, mother-daughter tension and Black identity.

Frying Plantain follows Kara Davis in twelve interconnected stories rooted in Toronto’s “Little Jamaica” neighbourhood. It is an emotional, heartfelt coming of age story with huge crossover appeal, brilliantly tackling everyday experiences to explore themes of culture and identity – from being shocked at the sight of a butchered pig in her aunt’s freezer, to bracing herself for her mother’s inspection before she goes out as a teenager.


Zalika Reid-Benta, author

Zalika Reid-Benta is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared on CBC Books, in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, and in Apogee Journal. She received an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University in 2014 and is an alumnus of the 2017 Banff Writing Studio. In 2011, George Elliott Clarke recommended her as a “Writer to Watch.”


  • Sharp-witted and sharp-tongued, "Frying Plantain" is written in the indelible ink of memory. Zalika Reid-Benta is a masterful storyteller with a light touch, a photographic recall, and a pitch-perfect ear for the ephemera we’d like to think of as youthful, but just can’t seem to shake. This is an unforgettable debut. - Paul Beatty, Booker Prize–winning author of The Sellout
  • Reid-Benta’s writing is clear, precise, and infused with emotional depth. The characters are complex and well developed – comforting in their familiarity and frustrating in their stubbornness. Reid-Benta masterfully uses Kara’s everyday life to highlight the intimate inner workings of her characters, their family dysfunction, and the juxtaposition of Canadian and Jamaican identities. - Quill & Quire Link to review
  • One of the rare debut short story collections to make it onto must-read lists. - Toronto Star Link to review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: House of Anansi Press



rights sold: UK (Dialogue Books, Hachette); Australia (Scribe)

rights available: World, excl. North America

Additional Information

age range: Adult

number of pages: 272

publication date: 06/04/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book