25th Trillium Award

Trillium Testimonial: Dalton Higgins

Share |
Trillium Award 25th Anniversary

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Ontario's illustrious Trillium Book Award/Prix Trillium. To celebrate this silver milestone, Open Book has asked members of the literary community to tell us what they love about their favourite award-winning Trillium title. If you're looking for a recommended read (or re-read), follow these Trillium Testimonials on Open Book: Ontario from now until the winners of the 2012 award competition are announced. Today, author and Open Book contributor Dalton Higgins tells us why he's chosen Ian Brown's The Boy in the Moon (Random House Canada), winner of the Trillium Book Award for titles published in 2009.

Open Book:

What do you love about this book?

Dalton Higgins:

I preternaturally tend to gravitate toward outlier-styled narratives, and this one was that. In hip hop culture we obsess over this concept of "keeping it real," which loosely interprets to mean that it's best to keep things raw, authentic, genuine, unfiltered. The Boy in the Moon is very hip hop in that way, as Brown spares no feelings writing about raising his son Walker, who’s born with a rare genetic condition (cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome) that only 100 people in the world have. A few chapters in, I was thinking there’s no way I’d be able to relate directly to Brown and his wife’s struggles to find suitable supports for their high-maintenance son, to simply get a good night’s sleep. By the end, as a father myself, I felt like I was sitting next to Brown on this roller coaster ride of emotions. Like, who doesn’t want their child to be able to live a somewhat normal life, to revel in the daily drudgeries we sometimes take for granted? It’s an exhausting, gripping read.


When did you first read it?


I took it out from the library in 2009, immediately after I sat on a panel discussion with Brown at a TVO show about parenting (Do Dads Matter?). He seemed like a feisty, pompous character on the green room couch. And I was hell bent on digging into some more parent lit. (I was still doing research for my last book, Fatherhood 4.0). It’s funny because at the time I didn’t know Brown’s written work from jack, though we'd appeared at a Saturday Night Magazine contributors reading at Chapters a number of years ago. While I was trolling some news sites years later, I'd actually stumbled into this audio-visual documentary piece on The Globe and Mail website in 2007 called "My sweet sweet lost and broken boy” featuring Brown narrating a story about the toll his son’s illness was taking on his life. It left a deep impression on me, because there’s this saying that many black folk hear growing up, given our struggles, something about The Creator not burdening you with more stress than you can handle. I thought, did Brown and The Creator need to go for an over-priced espresso at Lettieri on this one?

Dalton Higgins is a music programmer, pop culture critic, author, broadcaster and national magazine award-winning journalist. He is Canada’s foremost expert on hip hop culture. In addition to writing numerous articles for Canadian and US print and on-line magazines, he is the author of Hip Hop World (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi) and co-author of Hip Hop (Thomson Nelson) and Much Master T: A VJ’s Journey (ECW Press). As a broadcaster, Dalton has hosted his own TV show and has appeared as a pundit on every major Canadian network. You can visit Dalton at his blog. His most recent book is Fatherhood 4.0: iDad Applications Across Cultures (Insomniac Press). Click here to read Dalton's archived articles on Open Book: Toronto.

You could be reading your top Trillium titles on a new Kobo eReader! Click here for details on our Trillium 25th Anniversary Contest.

Post new comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

Advanced Search