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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > March 2018 > Christopher Paul Curtis

Christopher Paul Curtis

How the former Michigan autoworker became a beloved chronicler of Canadian history

I always wanted to write about slavery”,says Christopher Paul Curtis. “But I like writing in the first person and when I thought about what a slave has been through, I couldn’t imagine it. What it takes to think of yourself as subhuman, as an animal. And how if you wanted your kids to survive you have to teach them that they are subhuman, too.”

It was Buxton, Ontario, that gave Curtis a way in to the topic. Growing up in Flint, Michigan, in the 1950s and ’60s, Curtis heard about a small town across the border where runaway and freed slaves had settled – and prospered – in the mid-1800s, before the Civil War. Then, while driving on the 401 decades later, he saw the sign for the Buxton Museum and decided to stop. “I just wanted to get a feel for the land”,he says. “It was something magical to think that people who had been enslaved were free for the first time.”

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Christopher Paul Curtis; His journey from autoworker to bestselling author page 14 Kidlit Spotlight; Writers are throwing the book at bullying page 21