"Diane Carley is a lean, strong writer—every word matters. She's the love child of Raymond Carver and Alice Munro. Sharp, sensitive, excellent stories full of emotion, like putting your hand over a racing heart. This writing is as vivid as it gets." —Lisa Moore, author of This is How We Love
We, Jane, by Aimee Wall
We, Jane beautifully conveys the nuances of a complicated friendship between two women and the ways in which a whisper network helps provide much-needed women’s health support in rural Newfoundland. The novel captures the complications of loving a flawed and stunning place with its flawed and complicated people, and how it can be a long and circuitous route to finding your way home.
Butter Honey Pig Bread, by Francesca Ekwuyasi
A story that beautifully captures the essentials of life—food, love, desire, family, frien …
Of the collection, the Globe and Mail says, “Plett has a characteristic style that manages to merge tenderness with Prairie toughness—a style on display in these stories of trans women seeking something—groundedness, maybe, but that dreamlike quality of desire, too.”
Casey Plett is the author of A Dream of a Woman, Little Fish, A Safe Girl to Love, and the co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy From Transgender Writers. She has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the Winnipeg Free Press, and other publications. A winner of the Amazon First Novel Award, the Firecracker Award for Fiction, and a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award, her work has also been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She splits her time between New York City and Windsor, Ontario.
Trevor Corkum: The stories in the collection span a wide geographic range—Portland, New York, Winnipeg, Windsor, southern Manitoba. Can you share a bit about how geography and movement has in …
Exciting new releases by Alexander MacLeod, Heather O'Neill, Lesley Crewe, Kim Fu, Lisa Moore, Rawi Hage, and more, plus great debuts that are going to knock your literary socks off.
A Knife in the Sky (June) is Haitian-Québécoise writer Marie-Célie Agnant’s most recent novel, translated by Katia Grubisic, a book preoccupied with colonial imposition and its weight specifically on women. In The Swells (January), a darkly hilarious satire by Will Aitken, class war erupts aboard a luxury cruise ship. A story of identity, connection and forgiveness, Anita Anand's A Convergence of Solitudes (May) shares the lives of two families across Partition of India, Operation Babylift in Vietnam, and two referendums in Quebec. Bestseller Kelley Armstrong returns to the captivating town of Rockton in The Deepest of Secrets (February), the next instalment in her celebrated crime series. Armstrong also releases A Rip Through Time (May), a series debut in which a modern-day homicide detective finds herself in Victorian Scotland—in an unfamiliar body—with a killer on the loose.
Writing in Atlantic Books Today, Chris Benjamin says “Huebert is a gifted short story writer. His characters do contain multitudes, each story a set of worlds. Collectively, they reflect our times, and help us contemplate the most dire of threats to our singular habitable planet.”
David Huebert’s writing has won the CBC Short Story Prize, The Walrus Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2020 Journey Prize. David’s fiction debut, Peninsula Sinking, won a Dartmouth Book Award, was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Prize, and was runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. David’s work has been published in magazines such as The Walrus, Maisonneuve, enRoute, and Canadian Notes & Queries, and anthologized in Best Canadian Stories and The Journey Prize Stories. David teaches at The University of King’s College in K’jipuktuk/Halifax, where he lives and writes.
Trevor Corkum: Chemical Valley is your sophomore collection of short fiction, coming on the heels of your award-winning debut, Peninsula Sinking. What were you ho …
"Tainna: The Unseen Ones is an explosive force of sadness, anger, humour and beauty, full of moments that surprise and pummel and still provide hope. This collection is both vivid and raw but infused with a sparkling poetry and the wisdom of the old ways. Like the spirits Norma Dunning describes in these stunning and original stories, this is a book that will never leave you.” – 2021 Peer Assessment Committee
Dr. Norma Dunning is a writer as well as a scholar, researcher, professor, and grandmother. Her first book, the short story collection, Annie Muktuk and Other Stories (University of Alberta Press, 2017), received the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story and the Bronze for short stories in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. She is also the author of the bestselling poetry collection, Eskimo Pie (Bookland Press, 2020). She lives in Edmonton, AB.
Tainna: The Unseen Ones is a collection of stories featuring a range of Inuk characters who “meet the prejudice, misogyny and inequity of the Canadian South with humour and tenacity.” Tell us more about how the collection and how it came together.
This collection was written in opposition to Annie Muktuk and Other Stories, in that, it was intentional to have modern-da …
According to the Giller Prize jury, “Menopausal gods, procreating droids and boys born as foxes are only a modest few of the glorious frazzled beings that populate Angelique Lalonde’s astonishing story collection. Many of the ever-present concerns of the contemporary world—ecology, capital, conservation, gender fluidity, addiction, inequality, indigenous displacement, and the eternal limits of human perspective—find in Lalonde a beguiling literary voice equal to the age, pushing not only at the boundaries of literature but at those of articulation and being. Lalonde gravitates here to the fable and the fairy tale, familiar and estranging in equal measure, to claw at the divide between our world and others—the animal, the alien—while inevitably falling back on, and forgiving, the ever-flawed human being.”
ANGÉLIQUE LALONDE was the recipient of the 2019 Journey Prize, has been nominated for a National Magazine Award, and was awarded an Emerging Writer’s residency at the Banff Centre. Her work has been published in numerous journals and magazines. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Victoria. Lalonde is the second-eldest of four daughters. She dwells on Gitxsan Territory in Northern British Columbia with her partner, two small chil …
Householders, by Kate Cayley
The stories in Householders are haunting and enigmatic, with a clarity of emotion that cuts through the dreamlike atmosphere Cayley has crafted. With the first sentence of the opening story, “A Crooked Man,” we are introduced to the feeling of isolation that runs throughout the book: “Martha regarded herself skeptically and assumed skepticism from the other mothers at the table.” In “A Beautiful Bare Room” a strange infectious rash spreads among Palo Alto. A woman in a bunker considers whether she is “there to be amusing to languid virtual people, if the distinction between virtual and actual was meaningful anymore.” With incredible attention to the nuance of interpersonal relationships—whether familial, romantic, situational, dysfunctional—each story in Householders is a window into an eerie but …
In Quick Hits, we look through our stacks to bring you books that, when they were published, elicited a lot of reaction and praise. Our selections will include books published this year, last year, or any year. They will be from any genre. The best books are timeless, and they deserve to find readers whenever and wherever.
Annie Muktuk and Other Stories, by Norma Dunning
Genre: Short stories
Publisher: University of Alberta Press
What It's About
I woke up with Moses Henry’s boot holding open my jaw and my right eye was looking into his gun barrel. I heard the slow words, “Take. It. Back.” I know one thing about Moses Henry; he means business when he means business. I took it back and for the last eight months I have not uttered Annie Mukluk’s name.
In strolls Annie Mukluk in all her mukiness glory. Tonight she has gone traditional. Her long black hair is wrapped in intu’dlit braids. Only my mom still does that. She’s got mukluks, real mukluks on and she’s wearing the old-style caribou parka. It must be something her grandma gave her. No one makes that anymore. She’s got the faint black eyeliner showing off those brown eyes and to top off her face she’s put pretend face tattooing on. We all know it’ll wash out tomorrow.
— from "Annie Muktuk"
When Se …
I’ve been a migrant for as long as I can remember.
All my life, I have grappled with the notions of borders, boundaries and belonging. I left my country of birth Bangladesh at the age of one and moved to Saudi Arabia, where I spent twelve years of my life. Thereafter, my family and I immigrated to Canada. As a Bangladeshi Canadian Muslim woman, the search for home is an integral part of my existence. For this reason, I’ve not only been interested in writing stories about the immigrant experience, but also reading them.
Books that portray the richness and challenges of a hyphenated existence, that explore the questions of identity and belonging have always fascinated me and comforted me. Through them, I have felt less alone.
Here are seven books by Canadian authors that I have personally enjoyed and have been moved by.
Jasmine, by Bharati Mukherjee
I remember reading Jasmine in high school for a book project. I had picked it up at the library and was instantly engrossed by the story and Mukherjee’s elegant prose. Jasmine is the story of an India …
Islands offer wonderful settings for stories, real and imagined. They’re enisled, separate, away. They inspire intriguing metaphors. They attract interesting, some might say “quirky,” people. Surrounding waters present lulling beauty and hidden danger. And when things happen on islands, insularity stirs up complex social dynamics and demands local solutions. With islands on three coasts and scattered throughout rivers and lakes, it’s hardly surprising that these compelling literary devices have a powerful presence in Canadian fiction and creative non-fiction.
As a rule of thumb (grounded in observation, rather than any systematic analysis) the size of an island tends to shape the nature of the story. Large islands are settings for tales of distinctive communities, defined at least in part by their distance from urbanity. Lucy Maude Montgomery placed her stories of Anne of Green Gables on Prince Edward Island as it encapsulates a nurturing rural lifestyle preserved in a changing world by its sandy shorelines. As Anne says, “Look at that sea, …
Ever since I was a three-year-old in a small English town, tracing the letters on the greengrocer’s orange crates—or so my mother told me—I’ve loved words. I was brought up on British fairy tales and animal stories—Wind in the Willows, Beatrix Potter, Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book—a tamed and domesticated landscape that was nevertheless full of mystery and yearning. We moved to Canada when I was nine, pitching me into exile. As Doris Lessing says, “When you leave one country, you leave them all.”
So it’s probably not surprising that themes of home and exile imbue my stories in Hour of the Crab, along with the presence of other dimensions where trees can communicate with humans and the world is filled with mysterious presences. Such fiction, for me, is not so much magic realist as heightened realism, an acknowledgement of how little we really know and how much wiser the older beings on our planet are. I’m trying, in my latest stories, to find ways to allow those voices to enter, voices we’ve shut out in our techno-industrial world but that we are in desperate need of listening to.
Such fiction, for me, is not so much magic realist …
New books by Camilla Gibb, Marissa Stapley, Wayne Grady, Uzma Jalaluddin, and more! These are some of the novels and short fiction collections we're excited about reading this spring
Bleeding Light, by Rob Benvie
About the book: A howl into the void, a ghost story, and a bit of a metaphysical hellride.
A misanthropic ghostwriter roams an island off the Kenyan coast. An Arizona teenager awaits the next stage in a secretive covenant. A renowned poet retraces her past amid a baffling netherworld. An international arms dealer’s son drifts through time, atoning for the death of the man he loved.
For readers who take their contemporary fiction with a tinge of the otherworldly, Bleeding Light is about mystical experiences, the symbolic fabric connecting us all, and desperate people seeking affirmation—through religious, cosmic, chemical and other means—of a world beyond their own. It’s a grimly funny and often trippy take on transcendence in a hypercommodified age.
Constant Nobody, by Michelle Butler Hallett
About the book: The time is 1937. The pla …