14 books by Canadian LBGTQ writers and illustrators to celebrate Pride Month
June marks Pride Month in Canada! Celebrate by reading one of these 14 books by Canadian LGBTQ creators.
A Boy at the Edge of the World by David Kingston Yeh
This debut novel follows Daniel Garneau, a gay hockey player who leaves his small hometown for university in Toronto. There, Daniel entangles himself in a love triangle — caught between his ex-boyfriend Marcus and a magnetic bike mechanic named David.
Yeh is a published writer of short fiction and counsellor for LGBTQ youth in downtown Toronto.
Little Fish by Casey Plett
Casey Plett's novel tells the story of Wendy Reimer, a 30-year-old transgender woman living in Winnipeg. Readers meet Wendy in a bar, eight years post-transition, conversing with three friends on the precariousness of transgender life. On Wendy's mind is a family secret freshly revealed: her Mennonite grandfather may have been transgender too.
Plett's previous book is a short story collection called A Safe Girl to Love.
This Wound is a World by Billy-Ray Belcourt
The poetry collection This Wound is a World envisions, celebrates and manifests a "decolonial kind of heaven that is searchable, findable," says Billy-Ray Belcourt of his debut book. The collection won the 2018 Indigenous Voices Award for most significant work of poetry in English and is nominated for the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Raymond Souster Award.
From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea by Kai Cheng Thom
In this picture book by Kai Cheng Thom and illustrated by Kai Yun Ching and Wai-Yant Li, a child named Miu Lan struggles to decide what shape they should take — boy or girl? Bird or fish? Flower or shooting star? Each time, Miu Lan's mother lovingly responds: "whatever you dream of / i believe you can be / from the stars in the sky to the fish in the sea."
Kai Cheng Thom won the 2017 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ emerging writers and is also the author of Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars and a place called No Homeland.
Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
The titular character of the novel Jonny Appleseed is a self-styled "NDN glitter princess" who works as a cybersex worker in the city. Preparing to head home for his stepfather's funeral, Jonny reflects on his decision to leave his reserve and the life he's led since moving to the city.
Sodom Road Exit by Amber Dawn
Crystal Beach, Ont. is mourning the closure of their beloved amusement park when protagonist Bailey Enrica Martin returns home in this novel by Amber Dawn. Martin moves in with her mother after dropping out of university, and ends up being possessed by a ghost in the abandoned theme park.
Dawn is a Lambda Award-winning writer whose work includes Sub Rosa and How Poetry Saved My Life.
Liminal by Jordan Tannahill
Liminal, playwright Jordan Tannahill's first novel, takes place over the span of a single second. At precisely 11:04 a.m. on a January day, a young man named Jordan sees his mother lying in bed, unmoving, and is uncertain whether she is alive or dead. This moment sets Jordan up on a winding, tumultuous journey exploring the nature of consciousness.
Tannahill won the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for drama for his play Age of Minority.
Moondragon in the Mosque Garden by El-Farouk Khaki and Troy Jackson, illustrated by Katie Commodore
In this picture book by El-Farouk Khaki and Troy Jackson with illustrations by Katie Commodore, three friends explore their mosque's old garden and meet a new friend.
El-Farouk Khaki is an immigration lawyer and Troy Jackson is an artist from Toronto. Together they run the El-Tawhid Juma Circle, a gender-equal LGBTQ affirming mosque.
The Philistine by Leila Marshy
In this novel, a young woman named Nadia Eid leaves Montreal for Cairo in search of her missing father. Nadia unexpectedly falls passionately in love with an Egyptian artist named Manal, who's on the brink of a career breakthrough. Just as Nadia uncovers the reasons behind her father's disappearance, the First Intifada erupts across the border.
Leila Marshy is a Palestinian Canadian filmmaker and editor of the journal Rover Arts. The Philistine is her first novel.
Forward by Lisa Maas
Forward revolves around two women coping with loss — one is reeling from a bad breakup and the other is trying to recover from the death of her wife. In this time of grief, the pair connect over their shared vulnerability.
Lisa Maas is a writer based in Victoria, B.C. Forward is her first graphic novel.
What the Mouth Wants by Monica Meneghetti
What the Mouth Wants is the story of Monica Meneghetti's upbringing in a traditional Italian-Catholic family, a life shaped by intimate family meals and a love of food passed down from generations. In this memoir, Meneghetti tells of the early tragic loss of her mother to cancer and, later, coming out as bisexual in a small Canadian town.
Meneghetti's book is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award — Bisexual Nonfiction category.
A Brief History of Oversharing by Shawn Hitchins
Comedian Shawn Hitchins became an accidental media sensation when he started the Ginger Pride Walk at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013. In his hilarious and touching memoir, A Brief History of Oversharing, Hitchins writes about everything from his childhood in Egypt, Ont., to adult life in Toronto and describes how comedy got him through the ups and downs of life. He calls it a work of "neurotica."
The Way Back Home by Allan Stratton
This YA novel by Allan Stratton follows a free-spirited teenager named Zoe, whose parents think of her as a "bad girl" and have decided to put her beloved grandmother in a senior's home. Instead, Zoe absconds with her grandmother on a journey to Toronto to seek out answers about her mysterious uncle Teddy — who may or not be dead.
The Way Back Home was a finalist for the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Emily Carroll
The graphic novel Speak is an adaptation of American author Laurie Halse's Anderson's classic YA novel. Illustrated by Stratford, Ont.'s Emily Carroll, this graphic novel tells the harrowing story of a high school freshman's rape by an upper classman and subsequent alienation by her classmates. The book follows Melinda throughout the school year as she grieves alone and slowly finds her strength again.
Carroll is also the creator of the horror comics collection Through the Woods.