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Canadians on the 2019 Lambda Longlist
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Canadians on the 2019 Lambda Longlist

By 49thShelf
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tagged: Lambda, LGBTQ
Congratulations to the Canadian writers (and publishers ) on the longlists for the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards. (Missing here but also on the list is Body Work, by Emilia Nielsen.
Sodom Road Exit

Sodom Road Exit

also available: Audiobook (CD)

Lambda Literary Award and Sunburst Award finalist; a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

It's the summer of 1990, and Crystal Beach in Ontario has lost its beloved, long-running amusement park, leaving the lakeside village a virtual ghost town. It is back to this fallen community Starla Mia Martin must return to live with her overbearing mother after dropping out of university and racking up significant debt. But an economic downturn, mother-daughter drama, and Generation X disillusionment soon …

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The Tiger Flu

The Tiger Flu

also available: Audiobook

WINNER, Lambda Literary Award

In this visionary novel by Larissa Lai -- her first in sixteen years -- a community of parthenogenic women, sent into exile by patriarchal and corporate Salt Water City, go to war against disease, technology, and an economic system that threatens them with extinction.

Kirilow is a doctor apprentice whose lover, Peristrophe, is a "starfish," a woman who can regenerate her own limbs and organs, which she uses to help her clone sisters whose organs are failing. When a de …

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Jonny Appleseed

Jonny Appleseed

also available: Audiobook


WINNER, Lambda Literary Award; Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

Finalist, Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction; Amazon Canada First Novel Award; Indigenous Voices Award; Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award; Firecracker Award for Fiction

Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

A tour-de-force debut novel about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man and proud NDN glitter princess who must reckon with his past when he returns home t …

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Little Fish

Little Fish

also available: Audiobook

WINNER, Amazon Canada First Novel Award; Lambda Literary Award; Firecracker Award for Fiction

Finalist, Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year

It's the dead of winter in Winnipeg and Wendy Reimer, a thirty-year-old trans woman, feels like her life is frozen in place. When her Oma passes away Wendy receives an unexpected phone call from a distant family friend with a startling secret: Wendy's Opa (grandfather) -- a devout Mennonite farmer -- might have been transgen …

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tagged : gay, literary

Sketchtasy takes place in that late-night moment when everything comes together, and everything falls apart: it's an urgent, glittering, devastating novel about the perils of queer world-making in the mid-'90s.

This is Boston in 1995, a city defined by a rabid fear of difference. Alexa, an incisive twenty-one-year-old queen, faces everyday brutality with determined nonchalance. Rejecting middle-class pretensions, she negotiates past and present traumas with a scathing critique of the world. Drawn …

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I'm Afraid of Men

I'm Afraid of Men


Named a Best Book by: The Globe and Mail, Indigo, Out Magazine, Audible, CBC, Apple, Quill & Quire, Kirkus Reviews, Brooklyn Public Library, Writers’ Trust of Canada, Autostraddle, Bitch, and BookRiot.
Finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award, Transgender Nonfiction
Nominated for the 2019 Forest of Reading Evergreen Award
Winner of the 2018  Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design – Prose Non-Fiction
"Cultural rocket fuel." --Vanity Fair
"Emotional and painful but also layere …

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I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me fear.

I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the word girl by turning it into a weapon they used to hurt me. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to hate and eventually destroy my femininity. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the extraordinary parts of myself.

My fear was so acute that it took almost two decades to undo the damage of rejecting my femininity, to salvage and reclaim my girlhood. Even now, after coming out as a trans girl, I am more afraid than ever. This fear governs many of the choices I make, from the beginning of my day to the end.

In the morning, as I get ready for work, I avoid choosing clothes or accessories that will highlight my femininity and draw unwanted attention. On the hierarchy of harassment, staring is the least violent consequence for my gender nonconformity that I could hope for. And yet the experience of repeatedly being stared at has slowly mutated me into an alien.

If I decide to wear tight pants, I walk quickly to my bus stop to avoid being seen by the construction workers outside my building, who might shout at me as they have on other mornings.

When I’m on a packed bus or streetcar, I avoid making eye contact with men, so that no man will think I might be attracted to him and won’t be able to resist the urge to act upon this attraction. I squeeze my shoulders inward if a man sits next to me, so that I don’t accidentally touch him.

If I open Twitter or Facebook on the way to work, I brace myself for news reports of violence against women and gender-nonconforming people, whether it’s a story about another trans woman of colour who has been murdered, or the missing and murdered Indigenous women, or sexual assault. As important as it is to make these incidents visible by reporting them, sensationalizing and digesting these stories is also a form of social control, a reminder that I need to be afraid and to try to be as invisible as possible.

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Holy Wild

Holy Wild

also available: eBook

In her third collection of poetry, Holy Wild, Gwen Benaway explores the complexities of being an Indigenous trans women in expansive lyric poems. She holds up the Indigenous trans body as a site of struggle, liberation, and beauty. A confessional poet, Benaway narrates her sexual and romantic intimacies with partners as well as her work to navigate the daily burden of transphobia and violence. She examines the intersections of Indigenous and trans experience through autobiographical poems and co …

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The God Game

The God Game

A Dan Sharp Mystery
also available: Paperback

2019 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Mystery — Finalist

Private investigator Dan Sharp finds himself caught up in a political murder.

When the husband of a Queen’s Park aide runs off to escape his gambling debts, private investigator Dan Sharp is hired to track him down. As the city’s political landscape verges on the bizarre — with a crack-using mayor and a major scandal looming — Dan finds himself pitted against a mysterious figure known for making or breaking the reputations of upcoming …

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Things weren’t going well for private investigator Dan Sharp. He had just spilled coffee on his new suit, and he sat dabbing ineffectually at the stain with a damp cloth. Just five minutes ago, he’d learned the warehouse that housed his investigations office would close permanently come summer, to be gutted for condominiums. This was prime real estate overlooking the Don River; it was bound to happen sooner or later. Like it or not, he had three months to find a reasonable substitute for the place he’d thought of as a second home for the past five years.
On top of that, the food for the wedding had come in priced at nearly twice what he was expecting. They’d already tossed out the idea of flowers as an unnecessary expense, but this was a gay wedding and food was a must. It went without saying that theirs had to be a spectacular menu.
Weddings were not Dan’s idea of fun. Not because he was afraid of commitment; he just didn’t like circuses, whether three-ring or of the domestic variety. For Dan, a vow meant giving your word and sealing it in your heart. Ceremonies were for the crowning of monarchs, the consecration of altars, and the opening of shopping malls and theme parks.
Getting married was Nick’s idea. At first, Dan had laughed. He thought his partner was joking. They’d barely known each other a year then. He shook his head and said, “Thanks, but I’m not the marrying kind.” Nick had stared him down. “Well, I am.” Then he got up and left the room, leaving Dan sitting there dumfounded.
That wasn’t the end of the subject. Not by a long shot. Dan wasn’t sure whether they were having an argument or just a difference of opinion. Nick could be garrulous one moment and silent as the grave the next. Something about him demanded attention. Put it down to all the police training. Even off duty, cops commanded authority; they didn’t confer it on others. Any time they disagreed, Dan felt as if he were being given the third degree by an officer of the law investigating with probable cause.
For Dan, it boiled down to whether he wanted to buy into an institution that had long denied the validity of non-traditional relationships. But he hedged, couching it in material terms when they next discussed it: “It’s a racket, Nick. Thousands of dollars for what? To say ‘I love you’ in a church?”
“How much is my love worth to you?” Nick asked.
Low blow,” Dan countered. Still, he knew better: to give Nick an inch was dangerous. He went in for the kill. “As an institution, marriage is conservative and backward thinking. I’ve given you my word. Do you need to own me on paper like some sort of real estate transaction?”
“It’s a statement, Dan. A very radical statement. It says we’re willing to stand up and be counted in a world that denies our legitimacy. They hate us. They outlaw and kill us in many places around the globe. Why not say we’re proud of who we are in one of the few countries where we can do that? And in case you’re wondering, I wouldn’t marry just anyone. It’s you or no one.”
In the end, they had compromised: a small ceremony, but legal. Not much pomp and lots of standing up to be counted among those who mattered to them. Which still didn’t mean Nick was willing to settle for cheap, Dan reminded himself. And that was why he found himself staring at a quote from a very chic catering company offering a menu created by a three-Michelin-starred chef for twenty-five people at four hundred bucks a plate. Maple-glazed bison on black truffle pasta, grilled Mission figs stuffed with Stilton and wrapped in prosciutto, wild boar meatballs in almond sauce, an arugula-walnut-cranberry salad, and lemon tiramisu with white chocolate lace pastry to finish. All this with hand-selected cheeses and wines. Nothing but the best. Yes, it was more than impressive, but was it worth it? Dan struggled with that. Ten thousand dollars would go a long way toward paying for his son Kedrick’s education, for instance. Or feeding a homeless person or getting LGBT youth off the street and into safe living conditions.
Being conscientious had its price.
Dan pushed the quote aside and picked up the phone to tell Nick they needed to find another caterer. He was interrupted by a knock. A shape hovered over the frosted glass like a milky alien outline. Cold calls were rare in Dan’s world. Most first-time clients were either fearful of consulting a private investigator or else so obsessed with their privacy that they contacted him by phone or email.
This one apparently wasn’t put off by such concerns. The door opened on a big man with a bulky torso, bristling with energy. On seeing Dan, he entered without waiting to be asked and offered a large, furry hand. “Peter Hansen.”  The name sounded vaguely familiar.
“Dan Sharp.”
Hansen’s gaze went around the office, gauging and appraising: old furniture, raw brick, original art, classic texts on the bookshelf. A man in a hurry. Better to make your assessment first and then decide what you want.
“You come recommended,” he said, seemingly satisfied. “Yeah, you’re the one I want.”
It wasn’t much of a compliment, but Dan could tell a man like Peter Hansen wouldn’t have come had the recommendation been half-hearted.
He named a client Dan had worked for several years previously. The case hadn’t been unusual or noteworthy, but Dan’s results were both quick and decisive. That, more often than not, was why people kept coming to him.
Hansen placed a valise on Dan’s desk, snapped it open, and slid a black-and-white photograph under Dan’s gaze.
“My husband,” he said in a tone that suggested a deep ambivalence.
Dan looked down at a thin, handsome face whose expression hovered somewhere between uncertain and fearful. A man trying to escape notice.
“Tony Moran.”
“How long has he been missing?”
Peter regarded him warily. “How did you know he was missing?”
Dan looked him up and down. “You don’t look like the kind of man who would pay someone to sort out his domestic affairs if you thought you could do it yourself.”
“Fair enough. Tony’s been missing since the weekend. Friday, probably. I was away for the evening. He wasn’t home when I got back in the early hours on Saturday.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“I don’t want sympathy. I want you to find him.”
Dan overlooked Peter’s abruptness. “Do you suspect foul play? Kidnapping? Anything dire?”
Peter shook his head. “Not at this point.”
“Where do you think he might be?”
“He’s got a fear of flying and he doesn’t drive, so chances are he’s right here in the city. I’ve cut off his credit cards.”
“Any obvious reasons for disappearing? An affair, perhaps?”
“No.” Peter paused. “Maybe. We had an argument. Over money.”
“Did you hit him?”
Hansen made a face. “No.”
Dan pushed the photo back and looked at Peter. “Well, then that pretty much covers it. My guess is he’ll come home when he cools off and runs out of places to stay.”
“I’m not so sure,” Peter added. “He’s a gambler. He lost a lot of my money and doesn’t want to have to confront me over it.”
Nor would I, Dan thought. “How long have you been married?”
“Three years.”
“I still say he’ll be back when he’s ready.”
Peter stabbed Dan’s desktop with an angry finger. “I came here to hire you.”
“And do you want your husband back or just the money?”
Peter bristled. “Just find him. Please. Before he causes me any more embarrassment.”
“Have you been on my website? Do you know my terms?”
Peter nodded. “I have. I do.”
“Okay. I’ll take a look around. If I agree to take on the case, I’ll draw up a contract and we can set up a time to go over it together in the next couple of days.”
Peter shook his head. “No contract. I don’t want anything on paper.”
Before Dan could protest, Hansen put up his hand. “I’m in politics, Dan. My boss is a high-profile minister at Queen’s Park and there’s an election coming up. I can’t have a whiff of this hitting the street. I want no paper trails. I need your absolute discretion.”
He reached into his case, drew out an envelope and placed it on the desk.
“Here’s your retainer. I don’t want a receipt. All I care about is results. Everything you need to know about Tony is in here.” He glanced down at the caterer’s quote on Dan’s desk. His eyebrows went up. “Thinking of getting married?”
Dan nodded.
“My advice? Don’t do it. They’re always more trouble than they’re worth.”
He turned and strode to the door. Then, with one hand on the knob, he looked back at Dan. “If you need more money, let me know.”
The door opened and closed. The whirlwind subsided.  Dan waited till Hansen’s footsteps receded, then slit open the envelope. He thumbed through a pile of thousand-dollar bills, ten in total, wrapped in a sheet containing Tony Moran’s particulars. His eyes ran down the page. Tony was a high school graduate, with a further couple years at a business college. A few of his past jobs were noted, including a stint as assistant manager of a Wendy’s franchise.  Not a big achiever, then.
Dan glanced at the picture again. Despite Tony’s good looks, there was something skin-deep about them suggesting he might attract a certain type of partner quickly, but not stay the term. His polo-shirt-and-sweater combo smacked of conservative taste, but with a narcissistic undertone. Then again, he had a low-rent sort of sex appeal. The sort of man a Peter Hansen might look on as material for moulding, someone to impress with a helping hand out of the gutter. Pygmalions were a dime a dozen.
Three local addresses were listed at the bottom of the sheet. Dan suspected they would turn out to be gambling dens. He picked up the bills again. It was a lot of money, far more than what he normally asked for as a retainer. It seemed Peter Hansen was serious about wanting his husband returned. Maybe Nick would have his chi-chi caterer after all.

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