Books

10 Canadian short story collections to read this summer

Celebrate summer by checking out one of these great Canadian short story collections.

Celebrate summer by checking out one of these great Canadian short story collections.

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

Frying Plantain is a short story collection by Zalika Reid-Benta. (House of Anansi Press)

Frying Plantain follows Kara Davis through elementary school to her high school graduation, as she comes of age while being perennially caught between her Canadian nationality and Jamaican heritage. Over a series of 12 stories, Davis visits her great aunt in Jamaica, endures a cruel prank by close friends and deals with her stubborn grandparents. Frying Plantain is Zalika Reid-Benta's first book.

Use Your Imagination! by Kris Bertin

Use Your Imagination! is a short story collection by by Kris Bertin. (krisbertin.com, Nimbus Publishing )

The seven stories in Use Your Imagination!, Bertin's second collection, explore how we tell our own stories — through personal history, memories, observing others, telling lies and more — and how those stories make us who we are. In one story, a comedian watches a close friend die of cancer, in another a prisoner participates in a creative writing program, and in another, neighbours spy on a family new to the community. Use Your Imagination! is funny, unsettling and observant. Bertin is also the author of Bad Things Happen, which won a ReLit Award and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award.

Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis

Immigrant City is a short story collection by David Bezmozgis. (HarperCollins Canada)

In the stories of Immigrant City, a wannabe boxer finds work as a security guard in the Toronto suburbs, a father and daughter end up in a strange rendition of his immigrant childhood and a young man unwittingly makes contact with the underworld. David Bezmozgis's previous books include the short story collection Natasha and Other Stories and the novel The Betrayers.

The Forbidden Purple City by Philip Huynh

The Forbidden Purple City is a short story collection by Philip Huynh. (Goose Lane)

Philip Huynh's short fiction collection dives into the Vietnamese diaspora, following the burgeoning bond of private school outcasts, the discovery of a father's terrible secret and the isolation of a young bride on a distant island, among other stories. The Forbidden Purple City is B.C.-based lawyer Philip Huynh's debut collection.

Coconut Dreams by Derek Mascarenhas

Coconut Dreams is a short story collection by Derek Mascarenhas. (Book*hug, derekmascarenhas.ca)

Coconut Dreams, Derek Mascarenhas's debut short story collection, follows the lives of one family through a series of linked stories. The Pinto family immigrated from Goa, India to suburban Canada. The book focuses on the siblings, Aiden and Ally Pinto, who are growing up as first generation Canadians in the 1990s. It also weaves in stories from other family members to paint a portrait of what it's like to bring your family to a new and foreign country and create a new identity, both as individuals and as a family.

Something for Everyone by Lisa Moore

Something for Everyone is a short story collection by Lisa Moore. (Heather Barrett, House of Anansi Press)

Something for Everyone is a collection of short fiction by Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore. With a knack for exploiting beauty in bleak circumstances, Moore writes of shoe store employees contemplating lust and loss, a middle-aged woman conned out of her life savings and a grief-stricken young woman concerned that her neighbour is a serial rapist. The book was longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and won both the 2019 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Alistair MacLeod Prize for short fiction.

Shut Up, You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji

Shut Up You're Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Sandro Pehar)

Shut Up, You're Pretty is a short fiction collection that tells stories of young women coming of age in the 21st century. Téa Mutonji's characters include a young woman who shaves her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, a mother and daughter who bond over fish and a teenager seeking happiness with her pack of cigarettes. Shut Up, You're Pretty is Mutonji's first short story collection.

Guestbook by Leanne Shapton

Guest Book is a book by Leanne Shapton. (Robbie Lawrence/Penguin Random House Canada)

Guestbook collects over two dozen short stories, vignettes and images from visual artist Leanne Shapton, who explores the uncanny experience of being haunted. Her characters include a tennis player who attributes his successes to an invisible entity, ghosts who visit their old beds and a woman who leaves Alcatraz with a peculiar feeling. Shapton's previous books include the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award winner Swimming Studies.

Divided Loyalties by Nilofar Shidmehr

Divided Loyalties is a short story collection by Nilofar Shidmehr. (House of Anansi Press)

Divided Loyalties is a collection of stories about the diverse lives of Iranian women through the past several decades and across Iran and Canada. Nilofar Shidmehr's stories follow young girls and women as they look beyond their designated roles as mothers, daughters, sisters and wives in times of war, refuge and reflection. Divided Loyalties is poet and essayist Shidmehr's debut collection of short fiction.

Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp

Moccasin Square Gardens is a short story collection by Richard Van Camp. (Douglas & McIntyre, Laughing Dog Photography)

Moccasin Square Gardens is a collection of humorous short fiction set in Denendeh, the land of the people north of the 60th parallel. Richard Van Camp's stories involve extraterrestrials, illegal wrestling moves and the legendary Wheetago, human-eating monsters who have come to punish the greed of humanity. Van Camp is a prolific novelist, comic writer and children's book writer whose work includes The Lesser BlessedA Blanket of Butterflies and Little You.

Calling all Canadian short story writers! The 2020 CBC Short Story Prize opens Sept. 1, 2019. The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have their story published on CBC Books and will have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their story published on CBC Books.

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