Books

10 Canadian collections to read for Short Story Month

May is Short Story Month! Celebrate by checking out a great Canadian book.

May is Short Story Month! Celebrate by checking out a great Canadian book.

How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

How to Pronounce Knife is a novel by Souvankham Thammavongsa. (Sarah Bodri, McClelland & Stewart)

How to Pronounce Knife is a collection of idiosyncratic and diverse stories about the daily lives of immigrants. Souvankham Thammavongsa captures their hopes, disappointments, trauma and acts of defiance. From a young man painting nails in a salon, to a housewife learning English from soap-operas, How to Pronounce Knife navigates tragedy and humour. 

How to Pronounce Knife won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Thammavongsa is a writer and poet. Her stories have won an O. Henry Award and appeared in Harper'sGrantaThe Paris Review and NOON. She has published four books of poetry, including 2019's Cluster

Souvankham Thammavongsa on her Giller award winning book, How to Pronounce Knife. A debut work of fiction filled with precise and powerful writing. 16:19

Cascade by Craig Davidson

Craig Davidson is the author of Cascade (Knopf Canada, Kevin Kelly)

Cascade is a collection of short stories from award-winning writer Craig Davidson. The six stories are set in Davidson's hometown of Niagara Falls, known as Cataract City. They explore what it's like to try to make a life in a town that is struggling economically, where its residents feel left behind and where the glorious, touristy waterfalls distract from deep social, economic and political problems.

Davidson has published several books of literary fiction including Cataract City, which was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2013, Rust and Bone, which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name, The Fighter, Sarah Court and The Saturday Night Ghost ClubHis memoir Precious Cargo was defended by Greg Johnson on Canada Reads 2018. 

The 2021 CBC Short Story Prize juror talks to Jeff Douglas about what makes a great short story. 7:26

The Night Piece by André Alexis

The Night Piece is a short story collection by André Alexis. (Chris Young/Canadian Press, McClelland & Stewart)

The Night Piece is a collection of career-spanning stories by Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canada Reads winner André Alexis. Alexis draws from his previous publications, including Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Beauty & Sadness, as well as works that have not been previously published. 

Alexis is the author of Fifteen Dogs, which won Canada Reads 2017 and the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Days by Moonlight, which won the 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

With novels like Childhood and Fifteen Dogs, Toronto’s André Alexis has prestigious literary honours, including the Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers' Trust, the Trillium Book Award and Canada Reads. He joined guest host Talia Schlanger to discuss his new collection of short stories, The Night Piece, and his new audio drama, Metamorphosis: A Viral Trilogy. 17:39

Here the Dark by David Bergen

Here the Dark is a novel by David Bergen. (David Bergen, Biblioasis)

In Here the Dark, David Bergen delivers short stories that interweave across space, exploring faith, loss and complex moral ambiguities. From Danang, Vietnam, to Honduras and the Canadian Prairies, the book collects narratives about place and heart. Here the Dark includes the story that won the 1999 CBC Short Story PrizeHow Can n Men Share a Bottle of Vodka?

Bergen is a Canadian novelist and short story writer. In 2005, his novel The Time in Between won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His other books include The Matter with Morris, and Stranger in 2016. His novel The Age of Hope was defended by Ron MacLean on Canada Reads in 2013.

Winnipeg author David Bergen is on the shortlist for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his short story collection Here the Dark. This segment originally aired in 2014. 4:16

Dominoes at the Crossroads by Kaie Kellough

Dominoes at the Crossroads is a novel by Kaie Kellough. (Pablo Riquelme, Esplanade Books)

In this collection of stories, Dominoes at the CrossroadsKaie Kellough navigates Canada's Caribbean diaspora, as they seek music and a connection to their past. Through a broad cast of characters — including jazz musicians, hitchhikers, suburbanites, student radicals, secret agents, historians and their fugitive slave ancestors — Kellough stretches the stories from Montreal's Old Port to as far as the South American rainforests. 

Kellough is a writer based in Montreal. His novel Accordéon was a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award in 2017. He is also the author of the poetry collection Magnetic Equatorwhich is currently a finalist for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Montreal author Kaie Kellough weaves together a series of interconnected short stories from different narrators from the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, with common themes around identity, belonging, coming of age and revolution. He shared his inspiration for the award-winning book and performed a reading as part of Imagination, the literary festival hosted by Quebec City’s Morrin Centre. 13:55

We Two Alone by Jack Wang

We Two Alone is a book by Jack Wang. (House of Anansi Press, Mike Grippi)

Set over a century and spanning five continents, We Two Alone traces the evolution of the Chinese immigrant experience. Tracing various people, families and professionals across the globe, Jack Wang creates a tapestry of experience that encompasses the trials and tribulations of a diaspora trying to find its place in the world. 

Wang's short stories have been published in Joyland Magazine, The Humber Literary Review and The New Quarterly. We Two Alone is his first book.

Author Jack Wang's short story collection, We Two Alone, takes readers on a journey around the world, and through time. The B.C.-born author, who lives in New York, says he wasn't seeing stories about the global Chinese diaspora - so he wrote them himself. All Points West host Kathryn Marlow spoke to Jack Wang before he appeared at the Victoria Festival of Authors. 9:27

Fontainebleau by Madeline Sonik

Fontainebleau is a book by Madeline Sonik. (Anvil Press)

Fontainebleau is a linked short story collection by Madeline Sonik. Each story is set in the city of Fontainebleau, which is beside the Detroit River. There's something in the water in this river, and it results in a set of unsettling, surreal stories that combine comedy and tragedy.

Sonik is a writer and teacher from Victoria. Her essay collection Afflictions & Departures was a finalist for the Taylor Prize. Her other books include the poetry collection Stone Sightings, the novel Arms and the short story collection Drying the Bones.

Love After the End, edited by Joshua Whitehead

Love after the End is an anthology edited by Joshua Whitehead. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Joshua Whitehead)

Love after the End is an anthology of speculative fiction that imagines a utopian future for LGBTQ and Two-Spirit people, curated and edited by poet and novelist Joshua Whitehead.

Contributors include Nathan Adler, Darcie Little Badger, Gabriel Castilloux Calderon, Adam Garnet Jones, Mari Kurisato, Kai Minosh Pyle, David Alexander Robertson, jaye simpson and Nazbah Tom.

Whitehead is an Oji-nêhiyaw, two-spirit writer, poet and Indigiqueer scholar from Peguis First Nation. His book, full-metal indigiqueer, is a collection of experimental poems that aim to provoke discussion and debate. Jonny Appleseed, his debut novel, is about a two-spirit person trying to put his life back together following the death of his stepfather. 

Joshua Whitehead and Darcie Little Badger talk to Shelagh Rogers about Love After The End. 17:19

Fauna by Christiane Vadnais, translated by Pablo Strauss

Fauna is a book by Christiane Vadnais, translated by Pablo Strauss. (Coach House Books, Radio-Canada)

Fauna is a linked collection of speculative fiction stories about a biologist named Laura who is trying to understand the changing world around her, and her changing body, while facing a climate apocalypse and possibly the end of the human race.

The French version of Fauna won the City of Quebec book award and was named one of 2018's best books by Radio-Canada.

Christiane Vadnais is a writer from Quebec City. Radio-Canada named her a writer to watch in 2020. Fauna is her first work of fiction.

Pablo Strauss is an editor and translator from Quebec. He was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translations for his work on Synapses by Simon Brousseau and The Longest Year by Daniel Grenier.

Quebec City author Christiane Vadnais’s fiction book Fauna was recently translated into English by Pablo Strauss. She’ll tell us what inspired this dreamlike apocalyptic look at climate change and the relationship between humans, other animals and nature. 13:26

Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning

Tainna: The Unseen Ones is a short story collection by Norma Dunning. (Emily Weisz Studios, Douglas & McIntyre)

Tainna: The Unseen Ones is a collection of six stories from Inuk writer Norma Dunning. Each of the stories focuses on a contemporary Inuk character, and explores themes such as homelessness, spirituality, death, displacement, loneliness, alienation and community connection.

Dunning is an Inuk writer who currently lives in Edmonton. She is also the author of the short story collection Annie Muktuk and Other Stories and the poetry collection Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit IdentityAnnie Muktuk and Other Stories won the 2018 Danuta Gleed Literary Award, which recognizes the best debut short story collection of the year.

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