Jael Ealey Richardson grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, in a predominately white neighbourhood where writing took a backseat to athletics - that is until she stumbled upon a playwriting class at university. With an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph, Richardson's writing continues to reflect the rumblings of her African-American ancestry.
The Stone Thrower
A daughter discovers herself while uncovering her fatherâ€™s legendary past in football.
At the age of thirty, Jael Ealey Richardson travelled with her father â€“ former CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey â€“ for the first time to a small town in southern Ohio for his fortieth high school reunion. Knowing very little about her fatherâ€™s past, Richardson was searching for the story behind her fatherâ€™s move from the projects of Portsmouth, Ohio to Canadaâ€™s professional football league in the early 1970s. At the railroad tracks where her father first learned to throw with stones, Jael begins an unexpected journey into her familyâ€™s past.
In this engaging father-daughter memoir, Richardson records some of her fatherâ€™s never-before told stories: his relationship with his absentee father, memories of his high school and college football victories â€“ including a winning record that remains unbroken to this day â€“ and his up-and-down relationship with the woman he would one day marry.
As Richardson begins unravelling the story of her fatherâ€™s life, she begins to compare her own childhood growing up in Canada, with her fatherâ€™s US civil rights era upbringing. Along the way, she also discovers the real reason â€“ despite his athletic accomplishments â€“ her father was never drafted into the National Football League.
The Stone Thrower is a moving story about race and destiny written by a daughter looking for answers about her own black history. Using insightful interviews, archival records and her personal reflections, Richardsonâ€™s journey to learn about her fatherâ€™s past leads her to her own important discoveries about herself, and what it really means to be black in Canada.
... a rare beast in the world of Canadian literature.
... a remarkable read.
... a deeply personal and deeply passionate story.