Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, by Megan Gail Coles, begins with a warning: "This might hurt a little. Be Brave." But oh, the rewards for the reader who dares to venture forth: Coles' fresh and vibrant storytelling is stirring and unforgettable, and this novel that's set over the course of a single day proves to be so much more expansive in terms of time and place. It's a literary tour de force, and one of the most powerful books you'll read this season.
We're pleased to feature Coles' recommended reading list, "Writing Through Risk."
The books on this list challenge literary expectations and community norms while demanding artistic honesty and human compassion. This is fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama from the whole of our country written by individuals taking creative risks. Some of these are small linguistic risks, forcing the structure of a sentence into a new shape. Others are grand demonstrative risks, urging the industry to move beyond traditional gatekeeping. Still others are risking more, risking everything, even safety and wellbeing, to speak their truth rather than sit silent and unseen. These books, to varying degrees, have given me courage to write as I do about things I feel are important to the place and people I love. I am …
Swirling headlines, new revelations, another story breaking.... You know what the #MeToo movement needs right now? It needs books. Books to make us think deeper, ask questions, make connections, and figure out not only what's happening now, but also what needs to happen next.
Ascent of Women, by Sally Armstrong
Why we're taking notice: From our 2013 Q&A with Armstrong, "Look at the story of Malala, look at the one about the young woman who was gang raped to death in India, the one about Sahar Gul in Afghanistan. The stories about these girls make the front page. The world doesn't let go. We used to look the other way. Not anymore. These girls have become our daughters. Their case is our case. The issues affecting women and girls today are all over the news—on the front page. Yes—we're winning. Big time."
Putting Trials on Trial, by Elaine Craig
Why we're taking notice: "In pursuit of trial practices that are less harmful to sexual assault complainants as well as survivors of sexual violence more broadly, Putting Trials on Trial makes serious …
B. Denham Jolly arrived in Canada from Jamaica to attend university in the mid-1950s and worked as a high school teacher before going into the nursing and retirement-home business. Though he was ultimately successful in his business ventures, Jolly faced both overt and covert discrimination, which led him into social activism. The need for a stronger voice for the Black community fuelled Jolly’s 12-year battle to get a licence for a Black-owned radio station in Toronto. At its launch in 2001, Flow 93.5 became the model for urban music stations across the country, helping to launch the careers of artists like Drake.
In his new memoir, In the Black: My Life, Jolly chronicles not only his own journey; he tells the story of a generation of activists who worked to reshape the country into a more open and just society. While celebrating these successes, In the Black also measures the distance Canada still has to travel before we reach our stated ideals of equality.
When you are Black in Canada, the arrival of the police on the scene is not always, or even often, reassuring.
Three years ago, on Parliament Street in Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood, not far from where I live, I had a fender bender. I was exchanging insurance information with the other driver whe …
Vivek Shraya’s first collection of poems, even this page is white, is a bold, powerful work of art, addressing questions of racism, whiteness, and marginalization in social, creative, political, and intimate spaces.
Praising the collection, Shani Mootoo says, “this brave and very contemporary lyrical collection dares to ask the unspoken yet screaming questions, to finish the sentence that hurts, that reveals, that provokes, that celebrates. Like a Durga goddess, Shraya juggles with deft hands the multiple aspects of desire, race, gender, queerness, and contemporary pop culture.”
The Toronto Arts Council says, “Shraya’s voice is valuable to the future of poetry in Canada because of her undeniable strength, honesty, perception, and innovation."
Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. She is also one half of the music duo Too Attached and the Associate Editor of Heartbeats, a website that features racialized artists and stories. Her first novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of …
In Talking History, Canada's foremost historians and history experts show that Canada's history is essential to our understanding of our country and the world today. The series is made possible through a special funding grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Paul Yee was born in Saskatchewan, grew up in Vancouver and moved to Toronto in 1988. He has written about Chinese Canadians, in fiction and non-fiction, for young readers as well as for adults. His first novel for adults, A Superior Man, was recently published by Arsenal Pulp Press.
In 1950, my mother fled China to Hong Kong, fearful of the new Communist regime. She was married to an overseas Chinese, so she would have been labelled a landlord and tortured for crimes against the peasantry.
But she didn’t come to Canada as a refugee. In the view of the United Nations, she failed to qualify as a refugee; the UN did not consider her unable or unwilling to return home and receive state protection. Refugees from China, it was argued, also belonged to the Republic of China (Taiwan), so they could go there. But Taiwan, in the throes of post-war re-building, could only offer limited help.
My mother reached Canada only after this country had repealed its law banning Chinese immi …