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The Rage Letters


Written by Valérie Bah, translated by Kama La Mackerel
Fall 2023

Available in paperback and PDF (EPUB coming soon).

Only available to customers in Canada and the US.

An exhausted security guard dreams of home. A sculptor and a pothead have great sex — in the shadow of wax ex-lovers. A diversity workshop devolves into a familiar nightmare.

Throughout this deadpan collection, determined, damned, and triumphant characters appear and reappear, and their links become clear over the course of the fragmented narrative. The author playfully traces the portrait of the intertwined lives of a group of Black queer and trans friends as they navigate the social violence, traumas, and contradictions of their circumstances.

Originally published in French in 2021 by les Éditions du remue-ménage, as part of the Martiales collection, the stories in Bah’s The Rage Letters — set in Montreal and beyond — are sometimes brief, often conversational, and always generative of possibilities through the characters’ desire, rage, and acts of rebellion.

Valérie Bah is a Tiohtià:ke-based filmmaker and writer whose work explores intergenerational trauma & healing, as well as mundane/radical acts of survival. Couched in magical realism, Val’s narratives are driven by Black feminist thought and lived experience.

Kama La Mackerel is an educator, visual artist, performer, writer and translator who works between and across English, French and Mauritian Kreol. They are the author of the award-winning poetry collection ZOM-FAM (Metonymy Press) and have translated works by Canadian writers Vivek Shraya and Kai Cheng Thom. They have lectured, performed and exhibited their work internationally. Find them on social media @kamalamackerel

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Author: Valérie Bah

Translator: Kama La Mackerel

ISBN: 9781777485276 (print)

ISBN: 9781998898091 (PDF)

Cover art and design by CP Simonise

  • Paperback, 168 pages
  • Printed in Quebec
  • Publication date: November 21, 2023

“The Rage Letters is a daring and jubilant work that details the nuanced textures of queer friendship with a discerning, humorous, and powerful voice. Bah is a storyteller like no other.”

—Shazia Hafiz Ramji, Quill & Quire, starred review

The stories … address themes of class, race, gender, and sexuality from the perspective of a queer, Black sensibility. The individual entries are linked by characters that drift in and out among them and by Bah and La Mackerel’s insistence on defamiliarizing – or, to use La Mackerel’s preferred term, ‘creolizing’ – the language. These are stories that exist in the interstices between linguistic, gender, and class groupings.”

—Steven Beattie, That Shakespearean Rag

“The Rage Letters is an invitation to sit with complexity and to savour the intricate ways people come together to bring about an atmosphere of unfurling possibility.”

—Samantha Jones, This Magazine

“My intention was to write stories, construct riddles around liberation. How does someone in a very banal, realist scenario unlock something that gives them more space, or how do they get to see themselves in the front seat?”

—Valérie Bah, from an interview with the Montreal Review of Books

“Rendered in incendiary prose, The Rage Letters is a striking collection of linked stories which astutely and with swift humour explores the lives, identities, relationships, and furies of its characters. Grounded in the enchanting grit of Montreal and elsewhere, these stories take playful and surprising slants as their Black, queer, and trans characters navigate familiar realities with fortitude and, at times, joy.”

—Francesca Ekwuyasi, author of Butter Honey Pig Bread

Dimensions N/A

PDF, Print


Available for purchase in Canada and the United States