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2023 Fiction: Books of the Year

26 amazing books—and every single one is up for giveaway!

Image of a Bookshelf showing 26 different book covers

Books of the Year: where even to start? It's been another incredible year of Canadian books, more than a single person could ever hope to read, let alone encapsulate in a list. But we've done our best with this list of fiction, a list that only just begins to reflect that fascinating work taking place on the CanLit scene with a wide range of mood, genre, and literary approaches, proving that Canadian fiction has something to offer to every kind of reader. And even better? Each and every title is up for giveaway until the end of the month!

Head over to our Giveaways Page for your chance to win!


Book Cover Morse Code for ROmantics

Morse Code for Romantics, by Anne Baldo

About the book: In Anne Baldo's Morse Code for Romantics, patterns of life emerge —and break —in relationships both requited and otherwise. A restaurateur orchestrates a devious punishment for his wife's lover. A desperate mother searches for her missing daughter, a modern-day Persephone who was lured away by a sinister boyfriend. An islander falls under the spell of a visiting researcher, whose insidious smiles and natural sangfroid mirror the serpent-like sea monster he hunts.

These wistful, darkly surreal stories, set in Southern Ontario, suggest that maternal instinct is not just a chemical lie but something bloody and painful; that one person's clouds can rain on generations; and that true loneliness can be as clear as code written on a face, and as ominous as a dark, monstrous shape lurking beneath the surface.

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Check out "Modern Monsters: Books that Explore What Really Scares Us"


Book Cover To the Forest

To the Forest, by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, trans Rhonda Mullins

About the book: When a family is forced to return to the mother’s childhood home, she seeks meaning in her ancestral roots and the violent beauty of the natural world.

Fleeing the city at the beginning of the pandemic, two families are cramped together in a small century-old country house. Winter seeps through the walls, the wallpaper is peeling, and mice make their nest in the piano. Without phones or internet, they turn to the outdoors, where a new language unfolds, a language of fireflies and clover. The five children explore nature and its treasures, while our narrator, Anaïs, turns to the eccentric neighbours and her own family history to find peace and meaning in the middle of her life.

To the Forest is a field guide to a quieter life, a call to return to the places where we can reweave the threads of memory, where existence waltzes with death, where we can recapture what it means to be alive.

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Check out "Books for Women in Translation Month"


Book Cover Your Body Was Made for This

Your Body Was Made for This, by Debbie Bateman

About the book: Eating too much, eating not enough, having sex, not having sex, aging parents, grief, drugs, childhood trauma, and the last call of ovaries—a woman's body at mid-life can get messy.

Debbie Bateman's stories take a clear-eyed look at the largely unexplored private world of a pivotal stage in virtually every woman's life. These stories are linked not only by the characters, but also by the visceral themes of food, sex, exercise, beauty, and aging. The secret clenching of a fist, the unwinding of a silk scarf, the proud refusal to have breast reconstruction, the women in these stories want full authority over their bodies and their lives.

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Check out "Sensational Short Stories"


Book Cover This is How You Start to Disappear

This is How You Start to Disappear, by Astrid Blodgett

About the book: These twelve new short stories from Astrid Blodgett explore the consequences of grief and denial and single moments that change perceptions, lives, and attachments forever. Crisp prose and unexpected plot twists move relatable characters through vivid outdoor settings and interior depths. A child negotiates adult behaviour when an injured dog is put down. An older sister bribes a younger one to go on her first date. A family canoe trip launches from Disaster Point. A woman wants to hurl her granddaughter’s birthday cake out the window. This Is How You Start to Disappear shows all the heartbreaking ways we evolve when coping with change or trauma.

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Check out "Stories from the Heart"


Book Cover Places Like These

Places Likes These, by Lauren Carter

About the book: A widow visits a spiritualist community to attempt to contact her late husband. A grieving teenager confronts the unfairness of his small-town world and the oncoming ecological disaster. A sexual assault survivor navigates her boyfriend's tricky family and her own confusing desires. A mother examines unresolved guilt while seeking her missing daughter in a city slum. A lover exploits his girlfriend's secrets for his own purposes. Whether in Ecuador or San Francisco, rural Ontario or northern Manitoba, the landscape in each of Carter's poignant short stories reflects each character's journey.

Psychologically complex and astute, Places Like These plumbs the vast range of human reactions to those things which make us human—love, grief, friendship, betrayal, and the intertwined yet contrasting longing for connection and independence.

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Check out "Around the World with Complex Characters" 


Book Cover Dreaming Home

Dreaming Home, by Lucian Childs

About the book: A queer coming-of-age—and coming-to-terms—follows the aftereffects of betrayal and poignantly explores the ways we search for home.

When a sister’s casual act of betrayal awakens their father’s demons—ones spawned by his time in Vietnamese POW camps—the effects of the ensuing violence against her brother ripple out over the course of forty years, from Lubbock, to San Francisco, to Fort Lauderdale. Swept up in this arc, the members of this family and their loved ones tell their tales. A queer coming-of-age, and coming-to-terms, and a poignant exploration of all the ways we search for home, Dreaming Home is the unforgettable story of the fragmenting of an American family.

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Check out "The Chat with Lucian Childs"


Book Cover The Whole Animal

The Whole Animal, by Corinna Chong

About the book: A refreshingly original debut collection of short stories that grapple with the self-alienation and self-discovery that make us human.

For fans of Souvankham Thammavongsa, Lynn Coady, and Lisa Moore comes a striking debut collection of short stories that explore bodies both human and animal: our fascination with their strange effluences, growths, and protrusions, and the dangerous ways we play with their power to inflict harm on ourselves and on others.

Throughout The Whole Animal, flawed characters wrestle with the complexities of relationships with partners, parents, children, and friends as they struggle to find identity, belonging, and autonomy. Bodies are divided, often elusive, even grotesque. In "Porcelain Legs," a pre-teen fixes on the long, thick hair growing from her mother's eyelid. In "Wolf-Boy Saturday," a linguist grasps for connection with a young boy whose negligent upbringing has left him unable to speak. In "Butter Buns," a college student sees his mother in a new light when she takes up bodybuilding.

With strange juxtapositions, beguiling dark humour, and lurid imagery, The Whole Animal illuminates the everyday experiences of loneliness and loss, of self-alienation and self-discovery, that make us human.

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Check out "The Chat with Corinna Chong"


Book Cover Once Upon an Effing Time

Once Upon an Effing Time, by Buffy Cram

About the book: A quirky, thrilling, darkly-funny page-turner that explores the fuzzy lines between sanity and insanity, magic and reality, love and duty.

It’s 1969. An eight-year-old girl, Elizabeth Squire, has a choice to make: to be disabled by the circumstances of her own botched birth or to become extraordinary.

In Buffy Cram’s captivating new novel, Elizabeth narrates the story of her childhood in the late sixties, describing how she came to be at a Vancouver halfway house at the age of nineteen. Once Upon an Effing Time chronicles the sometimes-exploitative relationship between Elizabeth and Margaret, her mother, and the bizarre and criminal misadventures they have after running away from Ontario’s cheese belt and their “Big Sad Story.”

Attempting to bond with her neglectful mother, Elizabeth learns to adopt personas and live multiple lives, transforms into a fortune teller named MeMe who speaks primarily in Bob Dylan lyrics, and joins an American hippie doomsday cult. Elizabeth’s life is fragmented between ordinary childhood pleasures and indulging her mother’s conspiracy theories about the upcoming moon landing by hiding pamphlets in New York City Public Library books. Throughout, Buffy Cram weaves humour and heartbreak together to form an engaging narrative about cults—the cult of family, the cult of counterculture, the cult of rock ’n’ roll—and the role of story within those cults.

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Check out "The Chat with Buffy Cram"


Book Cover Mercy Gene

Mercy Gene, by JD Derbyshire

About the book: Told in kaleidoscopic bursts of erratic recollections, daydreams, poetry, and lists, Mercy Gene is the powerful, genre-smashing debut work of auto-fiction by acclaimed writer, playwright, and comedian JD Derbyshire. Inspired by Derbyshire’s critically acclaimed and award-winning stage play, Certified, and anchored by protagonist Janice/Jan/JD, Mercy Gene is a beautiful, humorous, and sometimes brutal look at queerness, gender confusion, institutionalization, addiction, and abuse.

Through flashes of memory and imaginings, Derbyshire illustrates the intense and invisible “side effects” of psychiatric treatment and the unreliability of memory. In a stream-of-conscious narrative that provokes and consoles, eliciting tears and laughter at equal pace, Derbyshire re-examines a life of unspoken and repressed trauma. Between devastating bouts of depression, hilarious side-quests into the author’s dryly sardonic inner monologue, helpless moments at the mercy of their own psyche, and tour-de-force appearances by fictional versions of Miriam Toews and the late, great Margot Kidder, Derbyshire leads readers through a non-linear narrative to treatment, forgiveness, and acceptance.

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Check out "The Chat with JD Derbyshire"


Book Cover The Abduction of Seven Forgers

The Abduction of Seven Forgers, by Sean Dixon

About the book: "One day, not long ago, I was kidnapped by a bitter but fun-loving South Korean art collector named Mr. Jackie Lin who had been burned one too many times by art forgers and wanted a bit of revenge."

So begins The Abduction of Seven Forgers, a brilliant and immensely entertaining novel with a colourful and unforgettable cast of characters. A group of artists are brought together under mysterious circumstances to a leafy London suburb. Once there, they are taken hostage by Mr. Lin, an angry art collector who demands that they create original works that will replace the forgeries he has obtained from each of them in the past.

Over the following days, the hostages discover that a twelve-year-old boy is hiding in crawl spaces behind the walls, and they agree to continue to keep him hidden from Mr. Lin. But things become immensely more complicated once Mr. Lin's daughter appears, purportedly to learn from the forgers—there may be more to Mr. Lin's artistic plan than first meets the eye.

With dazzling inventiveness, Sean Dixon explores the power of art, both in its creation and its acquisition, and creates a vivid world where artworks can—and do—come to life. The Abduction of Seven Forgers brings together the artistic obsession of The Goldfinch, the stakes of Bel Canto, and the intelligent imagination demonstrated by Yann Martel and David Mitchell, with a flair that is all Sean Dixon's own.

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Check out "Dialogue and Imagery"


Book Cover The Clarion

The Clarion, by Nina Dunic

About the book: “We all lined up for our whipping by the shouting beauty and tender traumas of life. All of us so sensitive, and now this beautiful girl, with soft brown hair that was shot with gold in the sun. Another one of us starting to stumble.”

Peter plays the trumpet and works in a kitchen; Stasi tries to climb the corporate ladder and lands in therapy. These sensitive siblings struggle to find their place in the world, seeking intimacy and belonging—or trying to escape it.

A promising audition, a lost promotion, intriguing strangers and a silent lover—in rich, sensual scenes and moody brilliance, The Clarion explores rituals of connection and belonging, themes of intimacy and performance, and how far we wander to find, or lose, our sense of self.

Following the literary realist traditions of Mavis Gallant and Alice Munro, Dunic’s debut novel captures the vague if hopeful melancholy of any generation that believes it was never “called” to something great.

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Check out "On Our Radar: Fall Fiction Special"


Book Cover In a Land Without Dogs

In a Land Without Dogs, the Cats Learn to Bark, by Jonathan Garfinkel

About the book: In his wildly ambitious and darkly funny debut novel, Jonathan Garfinkel probes the fractured nature of identity, the necessity of lies, and the bloody legacy of the Soviet Empire.

Spanning generations, continents, and cultures, In a Land without Dogs the Cats Learn to Bark is an electric tale about a nation trying to emerge from the shadow of the Soviet Union to embrace Western democracy. Driven by a complexly plotted mystery that leads from Moscow to Toronto to Tbilisi, punctuated by wild car chases and drunken jazz reveries, and featuring an eccentric cast of characters including Georgian performance artists, Chechen warlords, and KGB spies, Garfinkel delivers a story that questions the price of freedom and laughs at the answer.

With exhilarating prose reminiscent of Rachel Kushner and more twists than a John le Carré thriller, In a Land without Dogs the Cats Learn to Bark is a daring, nuanced, and spectacularly entertaining novel by an exceptional talent.

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Check out "The Long-Covid Book List"


Book Cover The Twistical Nature of Spoons

The Twistical Nature of Spoons, by Patti Grayson

About the book: Blisse has guarded the family secret for her entire childhood. No one can know the origin of her unconventional birthday gifts Her mother, Ina, has insisted that Blisse never tell a soul—believing it's the only way to keep her daughter safe from a dire fate. Together, mother and daughter must sift through their own versions of events to understand how the secret has led to the unravelling of their lives. Chock-full of masks and curses, art and magic, seduction and spoons, their stories are both fraught with misdirection and awash in whimsy. Can their revelations negate a tragic prediction? Or is the dissolution of love and family inevitable?

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Check out the "Complicated Family Dynamics" list


Book Cover Survivors of the Hive

Survivors of the Hive, by Jason Heroux

About the book: Loss. Grief. Centipedes. Silence. The word "no." The word "yes." A high school poetry contest that may or may not be linked to the end of the world. The characters in this collection are under attack. A grief-baffled son hopes to save an innocent insect from a toxic genocide, a daughter struggles to accept loss while visiting a community overwhelmed by denial, a sorrow-stricken father recalls his bizarre final conversation with his only child; the individuals in these stories discover how difficult it can be to let go of what's gone in order to live with what's left.

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Check out "My Kind of Strange: a Surreal Six-Pack"


Book Cover The Broken Heart of Winter

The Broken Heart of Winter, by Judy LeBlanc

About the book: Lise, Appoline and Anne are related, though they live on opposite coasts at different moments of time, with the vast geography of Canada and decades of change in between. The three women are linked by generations of hardship, displacement, and an eighteenth-century French musket that has been passed down through the LeBlanc family since the time of the Acadian expulsion. In contemporary Victoria, BC, Lise’s estranged son, Daniel, reappears in Nova Scotia just when she’s making significant changes in her life, including a nasty divorce from Daniel’s father. Upon learning that her son is living with a distant relative Lise barely knows and causing enough trouble to draw the attention of the authorities, Lise goes to him and begins to unravel a family history that brings about unintended consequences. In 1832, on Isle Madame, Nova Scotia, eighteen-year-old Appoline is left by her older brother to overwinter in an isolated cove, where she’s in charge of five members of her family ranging in age from ten to ninety-nine. Grand-mère, the family matriarch, refuses to leave despite the wishes of her family. Tension grows between Appoline and her younger sister, coming to a head when the sister brings home a young ‘Jersey man.’ Finally, Grand-mère tells her own story of the Acadian expulsion of 1755. Her memories follow a group of Acadian fugitives on their flight into what is now northern New Brunswick, seeking refuge at the infamous Camp D’Espérance. In each successive generation, the imprint of the expulsion perpetuates further suffering, severs a connection to the past and contributes to the gradual erosion of cultural identity. Nevertheless, these three women are resilient in the face of great obstacles. The Broken Heart of Winter speaks to the capacity of the human spirit to love, to adapt, and to carry on.

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Check out "Books That Trace Aftermaths"


Book Cover The Family Code

The Family Code, by Wayne Ng

About the book: Every family has rituals and routines holding them together. But sometimes they are the very things that tear them apart. The Family Code is a gritty family drama featuring the troubled life of Hannah Belenko, a young single mother dogged by the brutality of past traumas and a code of silence that she must crack in order to be free—or else lose everything.

Hannah was raised by this code and rules her own family by it. When she loses her daughter to the state and her boyfriend threatens her, she flees from Ottawa to Halifax with her remaining son, six-year-old Axel. While she bulldozes her way through everything and schemes to protect him, Axel flounders in the chaos. He begins to doubt his mother and her dream of a way out. With her life crashing down, Hannah is driven by desperation to survive yet hangs on to elusive hope.

With unvarnished and high-voltage prose, The Family Code unabashedly reveals the power and perils of parenting, but also the longing and vulnerability of children.

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Check out "Families, It's Complicated"


Book Cover Sunshine Nails

Sunshine Nails, by Mai Nguyen

About the book: A tender and funny debut about a Vietnamese Canadian family who will do whatever it takes to keep their no-frills nail salon afloat after a multimillion-dollar chain opens across the street.

Vietnamese refugees Debbie and Phil Tran have made a good life for themselves in Toronto, but their landlord has just jacked up the rent of their family-run nail salon, Sunshine Nails, and it’s way more than they can afford. When Take Ten, a glamorous chain offering a more luxurious salon experience, moves into the neighborhood, the Tran family is terrified of losing their business—and the community they’ve built around them.

But daughter Jessica comes to their rescue. She’s just moved back home after a messy breakup and an even messier firing. Together with her workaholic brother, Dustin, and recently immigrated cousin, Thuy, they devise some good old-fashioned sabotage. But as the line between right and wrong gets blurred, relationships are put to the test, and Debbie and Phil must choose: Do they keep their family intact or fight for their salon?

Full of memorable manicures and even more memorable characters, Sunshine Nails is a humorous and heartfelt novel about family, resilience, and what it means to start over.

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Check out "8 Books to Beat Summertime Sadness"


Book Cover A History of Burning

A History of Burning, by Janika Oza

About the book: India, 1898. Pirbhai is the thirteen-year-old breadwinner for his family when he steps into a dhow on the promise of work, only to be taken across the ocean to labour on the East African Railway for the British. With no money or voice but a strong will to survive, he makes an impossible choice that will haunt him for the rest of his days and reverberate across generations.

Pirbhai’s children go on to thrive in Uganda during the waning days of British colonial rule. As the country moves towards independence and military dictatorship, Pirbhai’s granddaughters—sisters Latika, Mayuri, and Kiya—come of age in a divided nation, each forging her own path for the future. Latika is an aspiring journalist with a fierce determination to fight for what she believes in. Mayuri’s ambitions will take her farther away from her family than she ever imagined. And fearless Kiya will have to bear the weight of their secrets.

Forced to flee Uganda during Idi Amin’s brutal expulsion of South Asians in 1972, the family must start their lives over again in Toronto. Then one day news arrives that makes each generation question how far they are willing to go, and who they are willing to defy, to secure a place of their own in the world.

A masterful and breathtakingly intimate saga of colonialism and exile, complicity and resistance, A History of Burning is a radiant debut about the stories our families choose to share—and those that remain unspoken.

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Check out "The Chat With Janika Oza"


Book Cover Uncontrolled Flight

Uncontrolled Flight, by Frances Peck

About the book: Wildfire season in the British Columbia Interior. Experienced firefighting pilot Rafe Mackie loses control of his airplane while doing a routine drop and plummets to his death.

The investigation that follows unleashes revelations that forever change the lives of three people: Will, the pilot who watched his mentor crash; Sharon, the widow struggling to come to terms with her loss; and Nathalie, an accident investigator with shadowy connections to the incident. As a form of the truth emerges, these three are drawn into a tangle of secrets and lies, passion and grief, blame and forgiveness that forces them to confront the actions that brought one man's life crashing to an end.

In her second novel, Frances Peck creates another explosive literary page-turner, one that probes love, loyalty, and the ways we try to conceal and redeem our lives.

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Check out "Wildfire Reading"


Book Cover Moon of the Turning Leaves

Moon of the Falling Leaves, by Waubgeshig Rice

About the book: In the years since a mysterious cataclysm caused a permanent blackout that toppled infrastructure and thrust the world into anarchy, Evan Whitesky has led his community in remote northern Canada off the rez and into the bush, where they’ve been rekindling their Anishinaabe traditions, isolated from the outside world. As new generations are born, and others come of age in a world after everything, Evan’s people are stronger than ever. But resources around their new settlement are drying up, and elders warn that they cannot stay indefinitely.

Evan and his teenaged daughter, Nangohns, are chosen to lead a scouting party on a months-long trip down to their traditional home on the shores of Lake Huron—to seek new beginnings, and discover what kind of life—and what danger—still exists in the lands to the south.

Waubgeshig Rice’s exhilarating return to the world first explored in Moon of the Crusted Snow is a brooding story of survival, resilience, Indigenous identity, and rebirth.

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Check out "Speculative Fiction of the 2020s"


Book Cover If We Caught Fire

If We Caught Fire, by Beth Ryan

About the book: If We Caught Fire brings two families together for a wedding in St. John’s, an event that sets off a summer of fireworks in the lives of the people around them.

Edie’s calm and contained life is knocked awry when her mother decides to marry a man she met online after just a few months of dating. The groom’s son, Harlow, is a joyful adventurer who shows up for the wedding and quickly recruits Edie as his sidekick.

Harlow runs toward risk and adventure with arms wide open, unconcerned about what other people expect from him. Edie plans every step carefully and keeps her dreams small and attainable, even when others encourage her to want more. Over a few months, they develop a connection that defies definition, a situation that leaves Edie queasy with fear and tingly with possibility.

Edie and Harlow (and the rest of their new unwieldy family) do an elaborate dance, trying to discover just what they are to one another. When Edie thinks she’s figured him out, Harlow reveals a depth and darkness she didn’t see coming. By Labour Day, they’ve created connections, tested boundaries, and found they've come together and apart in unexpected ways.

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Check out "The Writers Who Showed Me What a Novel Could Be"


Book Cover Semi-Detached

Semi-Detached, by Elizabeth Ruth

About the book: Hearts may freeze or thaw, but love never dies.

In December 2013, an ice storm buries Toronto as realtor Laura Keys prepares to sell a one-of-a-kind house on behalf of its comatose owner. Haunting Laura, and longing to be invited in, is a mysterious teenage girl with a Scottish terrier tucked into her coat.

As Laura readies the house for showing, she learns more about its owner, Edna “Eddie” Ferguson. Leading up to the Great Snowstorm of 1944, Eddie, a brickmaker, enters into a passionate yet ill-fated affair with her boss’s daughter. While uncovering the past, Laura navigates both the death of her mother and a troubled marriage straining under the weight of her infertility.

Across two paralyzing winter storms, set nearly seventy years apart and connected by a house and a murder, Semi-Detached contends with living after loss, love, and the meaning of home.

Insightful and evocative, emotionally intelligent and propulsive, this is a novel from a writer at the top of her game.

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Check out "Craving Connection"


Book Cover the Cobra and the Key

The Cobra and the Key, by Sam Shelstad

About the book: To the untrained eye, Sam Shelstad may look a lot like a Value Village cashier who shares an apartment with his Uncle Herman and has just emerged from a failed relationship with a woman forty years his senior whom he met at his mother’s book club. But Sam is a successful novelist—or will be soon, he’s certain. The manuscript of his debut novel, The Emerald, is currently on the desk of a celebrated indie publisher. While he waits to hear back, he’s hard at work on two ambitious writing projects. The first is the Molly novel, a fictional rendering of Sam’s newly defunct relationship. The second is a guide for aspiring fiction writers like yourself. The two have much to teach one another, and much to teach you.

Drawing on examples from the work of greats like George Orwell, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice Munro, Kazuo Ishiguro, Clarise Lispector, and Sam Shelstad, The Cobra and the Key takes the novice through aspects of character, detail, plot, style, point of view, dialogue, and meaning. Before long, you’ll be ready to print off your first draft and embark on revisions. Then it’s time to learn some of the tricks of the publishing biz. Having just been threatened with legal action by his soon-to-be publisher for stalking said publisher’s son via Instagram, Sam knows a thing or two about that too. Are you ready to get serious about your writing?

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Check out "8 Books to Read While Paddling Down the River Tweed"


Book Cover Roar

ROAR, by Shelley Thompson

About the book: A novel inspired by the original screenplay for the award-winning feature film Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, about a young trans woman who returns to her family farm in the wake of her mother's death, written by celebrated actor and screenwriter Shelley Thompson.
The MacInnes family is grieving. The loss of Miranda has devastated her husband, John Andrew, her eldest daughter, Tammy, and her youngest child, Dawn. Not Donnie anymore but Dawn, like sunrise, who transitioned while her mother received cancer treatment — without the rest of the family knowing. Now, when Dawn leaves Halifax for rural Nova Scotia to attend her mother's funeral, she knows she'll be meeting her sister and father for the first time as herself.

With Dawn's revelation, John Andrew and Tammy find themselves grieving for the son and brother they once knew, while Tammy's fiancé, Byron, becomes an unexpected ally. Between the complicated reaction from her family, unwanted attention from local bigots, and whispers from curious neighbours, Dawn wonders if she can ever really come home.

A work of fierce allyship, of enduring love, and of gentle hope, ROAR follows a family through grief and estrangement as they become catalysts for change in their rural community. Told from multiple points of view, with confidence and tenderness, actor and screenwriter Shelley Thompson's debut novel is profoundly authentic, drawing on her own experience as the mother of a trans child and a fierce activist for the trans community.

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Check out "Powerful Female Writers"


Book Cover Lump

Lump, by Nathan Whitlock

About the book: A dark, satiric novel about a woman whose attempt to escape crises in her health and marriage ends up causing more chaos.

Cat's career has stalled, her marriage has gone flat, and being a stay-at-home mom for two young kids has become a grind. When she finds out, all within a few days, that she is pregnant, that a lump in her breast is the worst thing it could be, and that her husband has done something unforgivably repulsive, she responds by running away from her marriage and her life — a life that, on the outside, looks like middle-class success. Her actions send waves of chaos through the lives of multiple characters, including a struggling house cleaner, a rich and charismatic yoga guru, and even an ailing dog. What follows is a dark comedy about marriage, motherhood, privilege, and power.

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Check out "Anti-Domestic Bliss"


Book Cover Denison Ave

Denison Ave, by Christina Wong and Daniel Innes

About the book: A moving story told in visual art and fiction about gentrification, aging in place, grief, and vulnerable Chinese Canadian elders

Bringing together ink artwork and fiction, Denison Avenue by Daniel Innes (illustrations) and Christina Wong (text) follows the elderly Wong Cho Sum, who, living in Toronto’s gentrifying Chinatown–Kensington Market, begins to collect bottles and cans after the sudden loss of her husband as a way to fill her days and keep grief and loneliness at bay. In her long walks around the city, Cho Sum meets new friends, confronts classism and racism, and learns how to build a life as a widow in a neighborhood that is being destroyed and rebuilt, leaving elders like her behind.

A poignant meditation on loss, aging, gentrification, and the barriers that Chinese Canadian seniors experience in big cities, Denison Avenue beautifully combines visual art, fiction, and the endangered Toisan dialect to create a book that is truly unforgettable.

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Check out "Grief and Loss in Toronto"

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