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.”


  • This novel brought to mind Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women: the writing is similarly assured, the excavation of the inner lives of the characters equally complete, the reading experience wholly satisfying and masterful. [...] There is not a single false note or misstep in this debut novel, which is as close to perfect as any I have read. - Kobo Emerging Writer Prize jury citation
  • 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
  • Fluid and immersive, with developed characters and tension that pulses from the pages. [...] "Frying Plantain"[...] brims with wit and compassion. STARRED REVIEW. - Foreword
  • This splendid collection marks [Zalika Reid-Benta] as a writer to watch. STARRED REVIEW - Booklist


  • Winner, 2020 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize
  • Winner, Danuta Gleed Literary Award
  • Finalist, Trillium Book Award
  • Finalist, Forest of Reading Evergreen Award
  • Finalist, 2020 Toronto Book Award
  • A CBC Book of the Year, 2019
  • Writers Trust Best Books of 2019

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: House of Anansi Press



rights sold: Russia (Polyandria No Age)

rights available: World, excl. North America; Russian

Additional Information

age range: Adult

number of pages: 272

publication date: 06/04/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book