40 works of Canadian nonfiction to watch for in spring 2020

Here is the Canadian nonfiction we can't wait to read this year.

The CBC Books spring preview is here! Here are 40 works of Canadian nonfiction to watch for in spring 2020.

Successful Aging by Daniel Levitin

Successful Aging is a book by Daniel J. Levitin. (Arsenio Corôa, Allen Lane)

As a neuroscientist, Daniel Levitin found himself stumped by something: why is it that some people in their 90s maintain all their mental sharpness, while others find their cognitive abilities start to dull in their 50s and 60s? When he couldn't find any books about the subject, he decided to write one himself. Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives looks at the science and psychology of growing older and uses that to explore what aging really means — and offers advice for living your best life as you get older.

When you can read it: Jan. 7, 2020

Levitin is a neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist and bestselling author. His books include This Is Your Brain on MusicThe World in Six SongsThe Organized Mind and A Field Guide to Lies.

Activist Desmond Cole speaks with CBC

5 years ago
Duration 7:45
Activist and writer Desmond Cole speaks with CBC about Const. Daniel Montsion's trial for the death of Abdirahman Abdi

Cry Wolf by Harold R. Johnson

Cry Wolf is a book by Harold R. Johnson. (University of Regina Press)

In 2005, 22-year-old University of Waterloo student Kenton Carnegie was killed in a wolf attack near his work camp in northern Saskatchewan. Harold R. Johnson, an experienced hunter and trapper, had been told to stay away from wolves. Johnson takes on wolves and the mythology around them in Cry Wolf. He explores Carnegie's death and other wolf attacks and suggests that we should take wolves more seriously.

When you can read it: Jan. 11, 2020

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Johnson is a former Crown prosecutor who has written several works of both fiction and nonfiction. His book Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours) was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction. His other books include the novel Corvus, the genre-bending memoir Clifford and the nonfiction work Peace and Good Order.

Writer Christina Myers offers a satirical step-by-step guide to eating like a fat girl.

What It Takes by Zahra Al-Harazi, with Sarah J. Robbins

What It Takes is a nonfiction book by Zahra Al-harazi. (HarperCollins Canada)

Zahra Al-harazi was born in Uganda, grew up in Yemen, and eventually came to Canada as the single mother of three young children. Along the way, she survived two civil wars. When she arrived in Canada, she had little education and no business knowledge. But she went on to become one of the country's most successful entrepreneurs, starting Foundry Communications, an award-winning marketing and communications company. She is now a sought-after speaker and consultant . She shares her story in the book What It Takes.

When you can read it: Jan. 21, 2020

Al-Harazi is one of Canada's most successful entrepreneurs, and has been named one of Calgary's top 40 under 40, entrepreneur of the year by Chatelaine and one of Canada's most powerful women. What It Takes is her first book.

Sarah J. Robbins is a writer and editor who also co-authored the book Keeping Hope Alive with Dr. Hawa Abdi.

Out of My Mind by Shalom Camenietzki

Out of My Mind is a book by Shalom Camenietzki. (Walter Psotka, University of Regina Press)

Dr. Shalom Camenietzski is a psychologist whose world was turned upside down when he started to experience symptoms he previously only had heard about from patients: mania, violence and obsessive daydreams. He was developing bipolar disorder — and there was nothing he could do about it. Out of My Mind tells Camenietzski's story of dealing with a disease he understood well professionally, and how he finally managed to take back control of his mental health and his life. 

When you can read it: Jan. 25, 2020

Camenietzki is a psychologist and psychotherapist. His other books include The Atheist's Bible and Nine Ninety Nine.

The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole

The Skin We're In is a nonfiction book by Desmond Cole. (Doubleday Canada, Martin Trainor/CBC)

In The Skin We're In, journalist and activist Desmond Cole looks at what it's like to live in Canada as a black person. In The Skin We're In looks at one year, 2017, and chronicles Coles's personal journalism, activism and experiences alongside stories that made the headlines across the country, including refugees crossing the Canada-U.S. border in the middle of winter and the death of Somali-Canadian Abdirahman Abdi at the hands of the Ottawa police.

When you can read it: Jan. 28, 2020

Cole is a journalist, radio host and activist based in Toronto. His writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Toronto Life, Now Magazine and the Walrus. The Skin We're In is his first book.

Writer Lauren McKeon grew up assuming she'd have kids. After she divorced in her early-thirties, McKeon began to question that old social script and decided children weren't for her. She says a childless life can be rich and meaningful too.

Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End by Liz Levine

Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End is a book by Liz Levine. (@thelizlevine/, Simon & Schuster)

In 2016, Liz Levine's sister Tamara committed suicide. In the memoir Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End, Levine tells the story of her sister alongside the story of another death that had a huge impact on her life: that of her childhood sweetheart Judson to cancer. Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End is a book about grief, and it's messiness, but it's also a book about life and its beauty. 

When you can read it: Jan. 28, 2020

Levine is a television and film producer who has worked on Story of a Girl and jPod. Her writing has appeared in the National Post, The Walrus and the Vancouver Sun. Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End is her first book.

How to Die by Ray Robertson

How to Die is a book by Ray Robertson. (Biblioasis)

In How to Die, Ray Robertson makes the argument that we should not avoid death. We should embrace it, discuss it and even celebrate it. After all, it is through death that life gets purpose. How to Die uses both personal anecdotes and explores writing from Michel de Montaigne, Flannery O'Connor, Charles Baudelaire, Martin Heidegger and several others to make a compelling case for how to live a meaningful life.

When you can read it: Jan. 28, 2020

Robertson has written several works of both fiction and nonfiction. His book Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. His other books include the novels 1979 and Moody Food.

Imperilled Ocean by Laura Trethewey

Imperilled Ocean is a book by Laura Trethewey. (Goose Lane Editions, Stuart Isett)

Imperilled Ocean by Laura Trethewey follows several different people and their remarkable stories, but they all have one thing in common: the ocean. Imperilled Ocean combines remarkable stories — such as a community living on the water battling eviction to a Ghanian teenager trying to make it to Europe on a life raft — with deep research to paint a portrait of a place that takes up most of the space on this planet, yet we know so little about, in a time when climate change is rapidly changing the ocean and humanity's relationship to it.

When you can read it: Feb. 4, 2020

Trethewey is a science journalist who specializes in oceans. She is a writer and editor for Vancouver Aquarium's website Imperilled Ocean is her first book.

Disfigured by Amanda Leduc

Disfigured by Amanda Leduc. Illustrated book cover of green leaves with a house in the centre, a crutch, an ear, a foot, a hand and an eye. Headshot of the author.
Disfigured is a book by Amanda Leduc. (Trevor Cole, Coach House Books)

In most fairy tales, characters who have disabilities or look different are often mocked or are the villain. In Disfigured, Amanda Leduc looks at fairy classics, from the classic Brothers Grimm to the modern Disney films, and explores how the representation of disability has informed how we see the world around us from a very young age and makes a case for a new set of tales, ones that celebrate difference and inclusivity. 

When you can read it: Feb. 4, 2020

Leduc is the communications and development coordinator for the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) in Brampton, Ont. She is also the author of the novel The Miracles of Ordinary Men. She was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize.

Big, edited by Christina Myers

Big is a book by Christina Myers. (Caitlin Press, Twin Lens Photography)

Big is a collection of essays from 26 writers exploring all facets of our bodies: body image, fat activism, physical fitness, fashion, diet culture and more. Along the way, the reader is challenged to question society's obsession with thinness, and with women's bodies at large.

When you can read it: Feb. 14, 2020

Contributors to Big include Dr. Rohini Bannerjee, Amanda Scriver, Cassie Stocks, Jo Jefferson, Layla Cameron, Rabbit Richards, Sonja Boon, Simone Blais and Tracy Manrell. 

Julie Lalonde was stalked by her ex-partner for a decade. Although she's an outspoken advocate for women's safety from violence, she didn't speak about it publicly (and seldom even privately) while it was happening. Julie tells Piya why she doesn't think stalking will ever have a #MeToo moment, and what changes she wants to see among law enforcement and in our culture at large in order to take its effects more seriously.

No More Nice Girls by Lauren McKeon

No More Nice Girls is a book by Lauren McKeon. (Yuli Scheidt, House of Anansi Press)

In No More Nice Girls, journalist Lauren McKeon looks at how far we still have to go when it comes to gender equality. She highlights how social and economic systems are designed to keep women out while highlighting those who are creating spaces for women both within patriarchal systems and outside them. McKeon's core argument is that we need to stop trying to play a game that's designed for women to lose, and start breaking the rules in order to get ahead.

When you can read it: March 3, 2020

McKeon is an editor at the Walrus and is also the author of the book F Bomb: Dispatches on the War on Feminism. Her writing has appeared on CBC, Toronto Life, Hazlitt and Chatelaine. 

Don't let the title scare you. 'Dead Mom Talking' is a tender and loving tale of a mother and daughter who re-connect through the magic of radio.

Resilience is Futile by Julie S. Lalonde

Resilience is Futile is a book by Julie S. Lalonde. (Taylor Hermiston, BTL Books)

For more than 10 years, Julie S. Lalonde kept a terrifying secret: she was being stalked by her ex. At 20 years old, Lalonde left an abusive relationship, and he would go on to stalk her for the following decade. While Lalonde rose to national prominence as a women's rights advocate, writer and speaker, she would ask herself the same question at every event, rally or conference: Was he here? Resilience is Futile is about this terrifying experience, and also about how we handle trauma and find the strength to not only survive, but thrive. 

When you can read it: March 17, 2020

Lalonde is a women's rights advocate and public educator. Her writing has appeared on CBC, Wired and Flare. Resilience is Futile is her first book.

Emma Hansen's stillborn blog draws worldwide support

9 years ago
Duration 2:57
Emma Hansen's stillborn blog draws worldwide support

Shame on Me by Tessa McWatt

Shame on Me is a book by Tessa McWatt. (Christine Mofardin, Random House Canada)

Tessa McWatt was born in Guyana and came to Canada when she was three years old. She grew up in Toronto and spent years living in Montreal, Paris, Ottawa and London. Her heritage is Scottish, English, French, Portuguese, Indian, Amerindian, African and Chinese. Shame on Me is a memoir about identity, race and belonging by someone who spent a lot of time trying to find an answer to the question, "Who are you?" and who has endured decades of racism and bigotry while trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs. 

When you can read it: March 24, 2020

McWatt is the author of several works of fiction. Her novels include Dragons Cry, Vital Signs and Higher Ed. She is also the co-editor of the anthology Luminous Ink: Writers on Writing in Canada. Shame on Me is her first work of nonfiction.

An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading by Dionne Brand

An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading is a book by Dionne Brand. (Jason Chow, University of Alberta Press)

In An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading, Dionne Brand examines early colonial literature and all its racism, colonialism and imperialism. She looks at the practice of reading and writing and the structure of the works and how this has rendered black lives in the literature of the time invisible or stereotypical. An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading is the latest CLC Kreisel Lecture.

When you can read it: March 27, 2020

Brand is an award-winning poet and novelist. She won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry and the Trillium Book Award for her 1997 collection Land to Light On. She won the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize for Ossuaries. Her other books include the poetry works thirstyThe Blue Clerk and the novel What We All Long ForIn 2017, she was named to the Order of Canada.

'I never talked about it and I am now:' Perdita Felicien on growing up poor

4 years ago
Duration 5:44
Two-time Canadian World Champion Perdita Felicien opens up about growing up poor and why as an adult, she's found strength in her mother's wisdom.

Overdose by Benjamin Perrin

Overdose is a book by Benjamin Perrin. (Claudia Ho Lem, Viking)

Overdose looks at today's opioid crisis, and attempts to understand why and how people become addicted to fentanyl, how our medical system has failed them, and what solutions will actually work. Benjamin Perrin interviews those at the front lines of the crisis — police officers, health care workers, prosecutors and more — to paint a portrait of a crisis that not only needs to be dealt with, but is poorly understood by the public.

When you can read it: March 31, 2020

Perrin is a law professor at the University of British Columbia. He is also the author of two other works of nonfiction, Invisible Chains: Canada's Underground World of Human Trafficking and Victim Law: The Law of Victims of Crime in Canada.

They Said This Would Be Fun by Eternity Martis

They Said This Would Be Fun is a book by Eternity Martis. (McClelland & Stewart,

Eternity Martis was smart, bookish and excited to go to university. But once she got to campus, life wasn't what she imagined. She was often the only student of colour in classes, at parties and in dorms, and had to face racial slurs, students in blackface at parties and more on a regular basis. They Said This Would Be Fun is a memoir about the difficulty of navigating through white spaces as a student of colour and asks us to confront the systemic issues that define the college experience for racialized and marginalized students.

When you can read it: March 31, 2020

Martis is a Toronto-based journalist, author and senior editor at Xtra. Her work focuses on issues of race and gender and has been featured in Vice, Salon, Hazlitt,, The Walrus, Huffington Post and CBC. They Said This Would Be Fun is her first book.

Dead Mom Walking by Rachel Matlow

Dead Mom Walking is a book by Rachel Matlow. (Viking, Tanja Tiziana)

Rachel Matlow's mom Elaine was a creative free-spirit, personality traits Rachel celebrated. This was until Elaine is diagnosed with cancer and decides to treat her illness with natural remedies, leaving Rachel to face the fact that what made her mom so special is what's going to kill her. Dead Mom Walking is the story of Rachel, Elaine and Elaine's cancer — based on Rachel's memories, Elaine's journals and the hours of tape they recorded together as they prepared to say goodbye.

When you can read it: March, 31, 2020

Matlow was a producer at CBC Radio and worked on several programs including q, Spark and The Sunday EditionDead Mom Walking is her first book and is inspired by Matlow's documentary Dead Mom Talking, which aired on The Sunday Edition.

Nova Scotia's isolated French

4 years ago
Duration 1:37
In Cheticamp, N.S., many Acadians are feeling the sting of isolation.

Still by Emma Hansen

Still is a book by Emma Hansen. (Greystone Books, Aaron Vandenbrink)

Emma Hansen was almost 40 weeks pregnant when her baby died. But since she was so far along in her pregnancy, she had to carry her son to term and deliver him. After she gave birth to her son Reid, and said goodbye to him, she wrote an essay online about her experience, and the complicated grief that came with it. The essay went viral, and inspired Still, a memoir about the same experience, and an attempt to start a conversation about a devastating loss that two million women experience annually, but is rarely talked about.

When you can read it: April 4, 2020

Hansen is a blogger, model and doula who writes and speaks about stillbirth and child loss. Still is her first book.

Last week's historic vote to overturn Ireland’s ban on abortion grabbed attention around the world. And it reminded us of a gem in our documentary vault. Almost 50 years ago, a group of Canadian women set out on a cross-country trek to Ottawa in what became known as the abortion caravan. They took Parliament by a storm, literally. We’ll taste of Karin Wells's 2010 documentary "The women are coming".

Moments of Glad Grace by Alison Wearing

Moments of Glad Grace is a book by Alison Wearing. (ECW Press)

When Alison Wearing's father, Joe, is diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, he decided to travel to Ireland to learn about his family's heritage, and invites his daughter along. Their trip ends up not only being an exploration of their family history, but also their own relationship as they grapple with Joe's declining health. Moments of Glad Grace is a memoir that chronicles this pivotal moment in both their lives.

When you can read it: April 7, 2020

Wearing is playwright, performer and author. Her other books include Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey and Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter. Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter was shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize.

Nerve by Eva Holland

Nerve is a book by Eva Holland. (Eva Holland, Allen Lane)

Eva Holland explores fear in her first book Nerve. After losing her mother suddenly, Holland decides it's time to face her fears and dives headfirst into tackling them. Along the way, she explores the science of fear and tries to get answers to questions like: Can you really smell fear? What causes fear? Is it possible to be truly fearless?

When you can read it: April 7, 2020

Holland is a writer and editor based on Whitehorse. Her work has appeared in Outside, Wired, the Walrus and Canadian Geographic.

Magdalena by Wade Davis

Magdalena is a book by Wade Davis. (Adam Dillon, Knopf Canada)

National Geographic's explorer-in-residence Wade Davis highlights the Magdalena River in Colombia in his latest book, Magdalena. He tells the story of the river and, along the way, the story of Colombia and the people who rely on the river for their livelihood through a combination of personal travel memoir, journalism and biography. 

When you can read it: April 14, 2020

Davis is a writer, photographer and filmmaker whose work has taken him to the Amazon, Tibet, Polynesia, the Arctic and beyond. He has written several books, including Into the Silence and One River. He was the CBC Massey Lecturer in 2009, giving a talk called The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World.

My Mother's Daughter by Perdita Felicien

My Mother's Daughter is a memoir by Canadian Olympian Perdita Felicien. (Martin Brown, Doubleday Canada)

Perdita Felicien's mom Catherine was a poor young woman in St. Lucia when she is given a seemingly random, but ultimately life-changing opportunity: to come to Canada with a wealthy white family and become their nanny. But when she gets to Canada, life is tougher than she expected, as she endures poverty, domestic violence and even homelessness. However, she still encouraged and supported her youngest daughter's athletic dreams. Perdita would go on to be a world-class hurdler and one of Canada's greatest track athletes. My Mother's Daughter is the story of these two women, and how their love for each other got them through difficult times and changed their lives.

When you can read it: April 14, 2020

Felicien was a 10-time national champion, a two-time Olympian and became the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal at a world championships. She now works as a sports broadcaster and is part of the CBC's team covering the Olympics. My Mother's Daughter is her first book.

Michelle Parise answers 10 questions about Alone: A Love Story

5 years ago
Duration 6:48
Michelle Parise answers 10 questions about Alone: A Love Story

Nishga by Jordan Abel

Nishga is a book by Jordan Abel. (McClelland & Stewart, Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Nishga is a memoir by Griffin Poetry Prize winner Jordan Abel. In it, Abel grapples with his identity as a Nisga'a writer, with being an intergenerational residential school survivor and with his own Indigenous identity while consistently being asked to represent Nisga'a language and culture. Blending memoir, transcriptions and photography, Nishga is an exploration of what it means to be a modern Indigenous person and how both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people engage with the legacy of colonial violence and racism.

When you can read it: April 14, 2020

Abel is a Nisga'a writer from British Columbia. He is the author of the poetry collections The Place of ScrapsUn/inhabited and Injun. In 2017, he won the Griffin Poetry Prize for Injun.

Acadian Driftwood by Tyler LeBlanc

Acadian Driftwood is a book by Tyler LeBlanc. (Goose Lane Editions)

Tyler LeBlanc grew up on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and only vaguely knew his family had Acadian heritage. But once he decided to investigate, he learned his family's history traced back to the Acadian Expulsion in the mid-1700s, when hundreds of Acadians were sent from the Maritimes to the United States, Britain and France.  Some stayed and tried to forge new lives wherever they ended up, while some returned to the Maritimes to face the difficult task of rebuilding their lives. In Acadian Driftwood, LeBlanc traces this family history and the legacy the expulsion had on the Maritimes today.

When you can read it: April 14, 2020

LeBlanc is a writer from the South Shore of Nova Scotia. His work has appeared in This Magazine, Modern Farmer and the Coast. Acadian Driftwood is his first book.

Ryerson University assistant professor Cheryl Thompson has traced the roots of black and brownface performances in Canada back to the 1840s.

I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder by Sarah Kurchak

I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder is a book by Sarah Kurchak. (Jenna Marie Wakani, Douglas & McIntyre)

Sarah Kurchak has autism. While she was growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, she realized she was different from her peers — and did everything to overcome it. She changed everything about herself to fit in. It worked, but along the way, she developed anxiety and depression. I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder is a memoir about how Kurchak became an "autism" success story, how it almost ruined her life, and what she did to reclaim her identity and her health.

When you can read it: April 18, 2020

Kurchak is a writer whose work has appeared in the Guardian, CBC, Vox and Electric Literature. I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder is her first book.

Silver Donald Cameron

13 years ago
Duration 21:25
Silver Donald Cameron is an author and environmentalist.

Aftermath by Bryan Ratushniak

Aftermath is a book by Bryan Ratushniak. (Cormorant Books)

Bryan Ratushniak was a firefighter for over 30 years, working at some of the busiest firehouses in Canada. Aftermath is about what it's like to be a firefighter, but it's also about the toll the job takes on your mental health and life outside the job.

When you can read it: April 19, 2020

Ratushniak is a former firefighter and bodybuilder who now works as a screenwriter and producer. Aftermath is his first book.

Natural Killer by Harriet Alida Lye

Natural Killer is a book by Harriet Alida Lye. (@harrietalida/, McClelland & Stewart)

When Harriet Alida Lye was 15 years old, she was diagnosed with a deadly form of leukemia. She later learned that the life expectancy of those with Natural Killer leukemia is 58 days. No one previously had survived this diagnosis. But Lye did. And 15 years later, Lye became pregnant — but she was told it would be unlikely that she'd ever have a child.. Natural Killer is a memoir about surviving cancer and becoming a mother and about learning to trust your body once more.

When you can read it: April 21, 2020

Lye is a writer whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the National Post and Vice. She is also the author of the novel The Honey Farm.

The Fight for History by Tim Cook

The Fight for History is a book by Tim Cook. (Allen Lane, Marie-Louise Deruaz)

The Fight for History is a book by renowned historian and professor Tim Cook about the Second World War. But it's also about our relationship with the war after it ended: how the stories we told about the war have changed over time and how the war has shaped Canada's sense of identity and nationhood.

When you can read it: April 21, 2020

Cook is a professor at Carleton University and the Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum. He has written several books about military history, including No Place to Run, Shock Troops and Fight to the Finish. In 2014, he was named to the Order of Canada.

The Abortion Caravan by Karin Wells

The Abortion Caravan is a book by Karin Wells. (Second Story Press)

In 1970, 17 women set out for Ottawa from Vancouver to protest for women's reproduction rights. They were called the Abortion Caravan. They occupied the front lawn of Parliament Hill, protested loudly and successfully got the House of Commons shut down — the first and only protest so far to do so. They ignited a national conversation. May 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of this history-changing movement. Karin Wells made a CBC documentary about it, and now she's written the definitive book: The Abortion Caravan.

When you can read it: April 21, 2020

Wells is a CBC Radio documentary maker. She has reported from more than 50 countries. The Abortion Caravan is her first book.

Authors : Timothy Findley

12 years ago
Duration 24:49
Joyce Davidson interviews Timothy Findley, Canadian scriptwriter, novelist, and winner of the Governor General's Literary Award.

Relax, Dammit! by Timothy Caulfield

Relax, Dammit! is a book by Timothy Caulfield. (@caulfieldtim/, Allen Lane)

In Relax, Dammit!, health expert Timothy Caulfield looks at a day in the modern life and the habits and decisions we make daily. He digs into the science behind many of our mindless day-to-day tasks and argues that many of the things we think makes our lives easier, more convenient and more manageable actually don't. He also argues that there is a way for us to become more relaxed, more at ease and less busy.

When you can read it: April 28, 2020

Caulfield is a professor at the University of Alberta, the host of the TV series A User's Guide to Cheating Death and the author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?

Choosing Hope by Munira Premji

Choosing Hope is a book by Munira Premji. (@PremjiMunira/, Mawenzi House Publishers Ltd.)

Munira Premji was diagnosed with three different kinds of cancers in five years: Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Stage 3 multiple myeloma, and Stage 3 breast cancer. Choosing Hope: One Woman, Three Cancers is the story of the treatment of her cancers, her ultimate survival and how she found resilience and even hope in the face of death, over and over again.

When you can read it: April 30, 2020

Premji is a leadership expert, human resources practitioner and executive coach. She is also a cancer survivor. Choosing Hope is her first book.

Alone: A Love Story by Michelle Parise

Alone: A Love Story is a book by Michelle Parise. (Pascal Chiarello, Dundurn)

Alone: a Love Story is a successful CBC podcast about learning to love yourself in the wake of an unexpected breakup. CBC Radio producer Michelle Parise had it all: a career, a house, a husband, a kid. But when her husband ends things, Parise's world is turned upside down and she questions everything she knew about life, love and success. Alone: A Love Story is the unpublished book that inspired the podcast, now available for the first time.

When you can read it: May 2, 2020

Parise has worked at CBC, in radio and television for more than 20 years. The film and TV rights to Parise's story were sold to Sienna Films in 2018. Alone is her first book.

Take Back the Tray by Joshna Maharaj

Take Back the Tray is a book by Joshna Maharaj. (@joshnamaharaj/, ECW Press)

Joshna Maharaj is a chef on a mission: to make the food offers at institutions — schools, hospitals, cafeterias — better, healthier, more nourishing, more sustainable and more delicious. She's been doing it for over a decade. Take Back the Tray is Maharaj's story about how she became an activist-chef, but it's also a manifesto for why we should make institutional food better and a blueprint for how we can go about making it happen.

When you can read it: May 5, 2020

Maharaj is a chef, food expert and activist who has appeared on CBC and TVO. Take Back the Tray is her first book.

The Devil's Trick by John Boyko

The Devil's Trick is a book by John Boyko. (Knopf Canada, Simon Spivey)

The Devil's Trick looks at Canada's involvement in the Vietnam War. Through the stories of six people, historian John Boyko tells a story of a moment in Canadian history often overlooked. A soldier in Vietnam before war broke out, a diplomat, a frontline hospital worker, a draft dodger, a Canadian who signed up to serve and a Vietnamese refugee who came to Canada share their stories, and what comes of it is a portrait of a war that's not well understood — and its impact on a country that thinks it wasn't involved in it in the first place..

When you can read it: May 12, 2020

Boyko is the author of eight books, including Cold Fire: Kennedy's Northern Front and Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation. His work has also appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald and Maclean's.

This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart by Madhur Anand

This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart is a book by Madhur Anand. (Karen Whylie, Strange Light)

This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart is the story of poet and ecology professor Madhur Anand's family. Her parents grow up in India. Her father had polio, which gives him a lifelong disability. Her mother loved education, and chose it over marriage. They meet, marry and come to Canada after British India was divided in India and Pakistan. Anand grows up in Canada, but is influenced by her parents, their traumas, their values, and their lived experiences. This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart poetically weaves all these narratives together to tell one story about truth, resilience, adaptation and love.

When you can read it: May 12, 2020

Anand is a poet and professor of ecology at the University of Guelph. She is also the author of the poetry collection A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes.

A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt

A composite image of an Indigenous man in a black tank top and a grey winter hat looking into the distance and a black book cover with the words A History of my Brief Body written on it.
A History of My Brief Body is a book by Billy-Ray Belcourt. (Tenille Campbell, Hamish Hamilton)

Billy-Ray Belcourt was the youngest-ever winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize. He was also the first First Nations Rhodes scholar from Canada. But he was once a young boy, growing up in Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta. A History of My Brief Body tells his story: how his family was impacted by colonialism and intergenerational trauma and yet still hold joy and love in their hearts and lives, how he came into his queer identity and how writing became both a place of comfort and solace and a weapon for a young man trying to figure out his place in the world.

When you can read it: May 19, 2020

Belcourt is a Rhodes Scholar and PhD student from Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta. His debut collection of poetry, This Wound is a Worldwon the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize. He is also the author of the poetry collection NDN Coping Mechanisms

What I Remember, What I Know by Larry Audlaluk

What I Remember, What I Know is a book by Larry Audaluk. (Inhabit Media)

Larry Audlaluk was born in Inukjuak in northern Quebec, but his family was relocated to Grise Fiord in the High Arctic in the 1953, where they found a polar desert not fit to build a community. Audlaluk was sent to residential school, survived, and returned to his community to become a leader and advocate for it in the face of colonialism and lack of resources. He finally shares his remarkable story in What I Remember, What I Know.

When you can read it: May 19, 2020

Audlaluk is a community leader for Grise Fiord and for the High Arctic. What I Remember, What I Know is his first book.

Where Things Touch by Bahar Orang

Where Things Touch is a book by Bahar Orang. (@baharoh/, Book*hug Press)

Bahar Orang is a physician-in-training. She's also a poet. In Where Things Touch, Orang tries to find the beauty in her clinical encounters and redefines and reimagines what beauty is and how it's defined. She explores intimacy, queerness, love, memory and asks what makes beauty — from physical attributes to human connection.

When you can read it: May 28, 2020

Orang is a writer and physician-in-training. Her writing has appeared in Arts Medica, Hamilton Arts & Letters and Guts. Where Things Touch is her first book.

People You Follow by Hayley Gene Penner

People You Follow is a book by Hayley Gene Penner. (@HayleyGPenner/, Dundurn)

Hayley Gene Penner is a singer-songwriter — and she's children's performer Fred Penner's daughter. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her own music career and along the way, did what most 20-somethings trying to find themselves do: make friends and enemies, have regrettable and memorable relationships, experiment with drugs and alcohol, make music and find freedom. People You Follow is a memoir that captures this pivotal coming-of-age moment.

When you can read it: July 4, 2020

Penner is a singer-songwriter who got her start performing with her father, Fred Penner. People You Follow is her first book.

Uncle by Cheryl Thompson

Uncle is a book by Cheryl Thompson. (Coach House Books)

Uncle Tom is the titular character in the seminal anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. He was a loyal Christian who died a martyr. But he was quickly parodied by theatre troupes and minstrel shows, often with white performers performing in blackface. In Uncle, Cheryl Thompson explores this history and re-writing of the character, and along the way explores how racial stereotypes are produced, permeate society and harmfully misinform our larger culture.

When you can read it: Aug. 11, 2020

Thompson is a professor at Ryerson University. Her work has appeared in the Toronto Star, the Montreal Gazette and Spacing. She is also the author of Beauty in a Box: Detangling the Roots of Canada's Black Beauty Culture.