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City Books and Too Much on the Inside, a list by Danila Botha

When I first started writing my novel, Too Much on the Inside, I knew that I wanted to write about four people who were new to Toronto. I was born in South Africa, and had also lived in Israel, and was inspired by the social realities of both. I also had a lot of Brazilian friends from my time teaching English as a second language, and knew that I wanted to write about their experiences. At the time I started writing, I was living in Halifax, a beautiful city, and a city later described in the novel by Lukas, the character from Nova Scotia, but I was homesick for the multiculturalism, vibrancy, energy, and endless possibilities that existed in my adopted hometown. I focused on the characters at first, then quickly realized, as I was writing descriptions of Toronto—from Queen Street to St Clair to Bathurst and Lawrence—that Toronto was becoming the novel’s fifth character. I knew I had to read and reread some of my favourite novels and short stories collections set in Toronto (and in Montreal and Nova Scotia) for more inspiration. Here are some of my favourites. Danila Botha is a fiction author based in Toronto. Her first novel, Too Much on the Inside, was published in June 2015 by Quattro Books. Her first collection of short stories, called Got No Secrets, was published in 2010 by Tightrope Books in Canada and by Modjaji Books in South Africa. She has also guest-edited the National Post’s "The Afterword," and her short stories have appeared in Broken Pencil’s fiction issue, Douglas Glover’s Numero Cinq Magazine, Joyland,The Fix, and the Adroit Journal. Find out more at

by Kerry Clare · Tagged danila botha, city books