Books·Fall Book Preview

47 works of Canadian nonfiction coming out in fall 2020

Here are the nonfiction books coming out this season we can't wait to read!

Here are the Canadian nonfiction books coming out this season we can't wait to read! 

This Is Not the End of Me by Dakshana Bascaramurty

This is Not the End of Me is a book by Dakshana Bascaramurty. (McClelland & Stewart, Jenna Marie Wakani)

This Is Not the End of Me is the story of Layton Reid, a young man who lived a life full of adventure and risks — until he was diagnosed with cancer. He changed his life, got married and started a family. And when the cancer returned, Layton did everything he could to find a cure, including risky alternative therapies. Eventually, he comes to terms with the fact that his life is going to end sooner than he'd like and focuses on making sure his young son is ready for life without his father. 

When you can read it: Aug. 18, 2020

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a reporter for the Globe and Mail. Her work has also appeared in the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen and on CBC. This Is Not the End of Me is her first book.

The Smallest Lights in the Universe by Sara Seager

The Smallest Lights in the Universe is a book by Sara Seager. (Doubleday Canada, Justin Knight)

Sara Seager is an astronomer and planetary scientist, who was balancing a fulfilling and demanding career with raising a young family. But when her husband died unexpectedly, leaving her to raise their two children alone, she struggled with her grief, with handling the day-to-day tasks involved in managing a family and with her Asperger's. Her memoir The Smallest Lights in the Universe blends this story with Seager's professional work, searching for other worlds and planets in outer space.

When you can read it: Aug. 18, 2020

Seager is originally from Toronto and currently teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She was a MacArthur Fellow in 2013. She is also the author of the academic books Exoplanet Atmospheres: Physical Processes and Exoplanets.

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: Aug. 25, 2020

Belcourt is a poet, writer and academic from Driftpile Cree Nation in northern Alberta. He is a Rhodes Scholar and earned his PhD in English at the University of 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

The Age of Creativity by Emily Urquhart

The Age of Creativity is a book by Emily Urquhart. (The Walrus Books, Emily Urquhart)

Emily Urquhart is the daughter of writer Jane Urquhart and artist Tony Urquhart. When the family was celebrating her father's 80th birthday, Emily was struck by how her father has continued his daily artistic practice into his old age, and was even trying new forms and styles. The Age of Creativity is Urquhart's exploration into later-in-life creativity, blending the story of her father with research and the stories of other seniors finding new and dynamic creative outlets later in life.

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2020

Urquhart is a writer and folklorist currently living in Kitchener, Ont. She is also the author of the memoir Beyond the Pale.

Forever Terry: A Legacy in Letters, edited by Darrell Fox

Forever Terry: A Legacy in Letters is a book commemorating Terry Fox, edited by his younger brother, Darrell Fox. Darrell, far right, is pictured with his brother during Terry's Marathon of Hope. (Viking, Submitted by Darrell Fox)

Forever Terry: A Legacy in Letters celebrates the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope. In 1980, Terry Fox captured Canada's imagination when he embarked on a run across Canada to raise money for cancer. The 21-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C., had lost part of his right leg to cancer when he was 18. He ran a marathon every day and made it as far as Thunder Bay, Ont., before the cancer spread to his lungs and he had to stop.

The book features 40 letters by 40 prominent Canadians, reflecting on Terry Fox's life and legacy. The book was edited by Terry Fox's younger brother, Darrell Fox.

When you can read it: Sept. 1, 2020

Contributors include hockey player Bobby Orr, actor Shawn Ashmore, Olympian Perdita Felicien, writer Margaret Atwood, basketball star Steve Nash, singer Jann Arden and athlete and activist Rick Hansen. A portion of the book's proceeds will go to the Terry Fox Foundation to support cancer research.

Working in the Bathtub: Conversations with the Immortal Dany Laferrière by Adam Leith Gollner

Working in the Bathtub: Conversations with the Immortal Dany Laferrière is a book by Adam Leith Gollner. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images, Linda Leith Publishing)

In 2015, Adam Leith Gollner interviewed iconic Montreal writer Dany Laferrière for the Paris Review, after Laferrière had been inducted into the Académie française, which is the highest honour in French literature. Over the course of these conversations, they discussed Laferrière's approach to writing and creativity, how he created his breakthrough debut How To Make Love To a Negro Without Getting Tired, and offered advice to other writers and readers of his work. These conversations are collected in full in Working in the Bathtub.

When you can read it: Nov. 4, 2020

Gollner is a writer and musician from Montreal. He is also the author of the nonfiction books The Fruit Hunters and The Book of Immortality.

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: Sept. 8, 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 RunShock Troops and Fight to the Finish. In 2014, he was named to the Order of Canada.

The Baddest Bitch in the Room by Sophia Chang

The Baddest Bitch in the Room is a memoir by Sophia Chang. (Submitted by Sophia Chang, Catapult)

If you've dug into the history of the Wu-Tang Clan, you may have come across a seemingly surprising figure — a petite Korean-Canadian woman named Sophia Chang. Chang worked with the group on a number of projects, including running record labels and managing members RZA, GZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard (ODB). She's also managed D'Angelo, Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest and Raphael Saadiq. She tells the whole story in her new memoir, The Baddest Bitch in the Room.

When you can read it: Sept. 8, 2020

Chang grew up in Vancouver before moving to New York to work in music. The Baddest Bitch in the Room is her first book.

Through the Garden by Lorna Crozier

Lorna Crozier is the author of Through the Garden. (Lorna Crozier, McClelland & Stewart)

Lorna Crozier is one of Canada's most beloved and accomplished poets, as was her long-time partner, Patrick Lane. They met in 1976 and built a life together, publishing more than 40 books between them along the way. But in 2017, Lane became ill and their life changed forever, and eventually Lane died in 2019. Crozier writes about their relationship, their personal and creative partnership, and comes to terms with her grief, in the memoir Through the Garden.

When you can read it: Sept. 8, 2020

Crozier is a Governor General's Literary Award-winning poet who has written more than 15 books. Her poetry collections include The House the Spirit Builds, God of Shadows and What the Soul Doesn't Want.

Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder by Julia Zarankin

Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder is a book by Julia Zarankin. (Douglas & McIntyre, Submitted by Julia Zarankin)

When she was 35, Julia Zarankin was divorced and changing careers. She decided she needed a hobby, and unexpectedly turned to birdwatching. Her memoir, Field Notes from an Unintentional Birderblends together a blossoming love affair with birding with her own biography — she was born in the Soviet Union, grew up in Canada and spent time living in Paris.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2020

Zarankin is a writer and lecturer based in Toronto. She made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize shortlist for Black-legged KittiwakeField Notes from an Unintentional Birder is her first book.

Genocidal Love by Bevann Fox

Genocidal Love is a book by Bevann Fox. (University of Regina Press/ZG Stories)

Writer Bevann Fox blends biography and fiction to tell her story in Genocidal Love. Fox tells her story as "Myrtle," a young girl who is sent to residential school at seven years old, and the abuse she suffers there traumatizes her for years to come. But Myrtle eventually finds healing as she finds her voice and discovers the power of storytelling. She faces her painful past to create a better future for her children and grandchildren.

When you can read it: Sept. 12, 2020

Fox is a member of Pasqua First Nation, originally from Piapot First Nation. She is a writer, broadcaster, artist, motivational speaker and yoga instructor. She self-published her debut novel, Abstract Love, in 2011.

Magdalena by Wade Davis

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

Wade Davis highlights the Magdalena River in Colombia in his latest book, MagdalenaHe 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: Sept. 15, 2020

Davis is a writer, photographer and filmmaker whose work has taken him to the Amazon, Tibet, Polynesia, the Arctic and beyond.  He is a professor of anthropology at the University of British Columbia and a former National Geographic explorer-in-residence. 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.

Evolving Vegan by Mena Massoud

Evolving Vegan is a book by Mena Massoud. (Alexi Lubomirski, Simon & Schuster)

Actor Mena Massoud chronicles his experiences and discoveries from his recent road trip across North America in Evolving Vegan. The book features 80 international recipes, including dishes like tofu pad thai, fresh chickpea salad and raw sweet potato lasagna, as well as tips for lifelong vegans and people transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle.

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2020

Massoud is an Canadian Egyptian actor, best known for playing Aladdin in the Disney live-action remake of the classic story. He also starred in the film Run This Town.

How to Lose Everything by Christa Couture

How to Lose Everything is a book by Christa Couture. (Douglas & McIntyre, Jen Squires)

Christa Couture has lost a lot over the course of her life: her leg was amputated, her first child died when he was one-day old, her second child died as a baby after a heart transplant, her marriage ended in divorce and a thyroidectomy threatened her music career. But through it all, she has found hope, joy and love and maintains a a perspective filled with compassion and understanding. She shares her journey, and what she's learned along the way, in her memoir, How to Lose Everything.

When you can read it: Sept. 19, 2020

Couture is a writer, musician and broadcaster who is currently based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in CBC Arts and CBC Parents and she has been a columnist on CBC Radio's The Next ChapterHow to Lose Everything 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 — made friends and enemies, had regrettable and memorable relationships, experimented with drugs and alcohol, made music and found freedom. People You Follow is a memoir that captures this pivotal coming-of-age moment.

When you can read it: Sept. 19, 2020

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

Black Water by David A. Robertson

Black Water is a book by David A. Robertson. (Holly Caruk/CBC, HarperCollins Canada)

David A. Robertson is a member of Norway House Cree Nation, but grew up not knowing much about his Indigenous heritage. His father, Don, grew up on the trapline in northeast Manitoba, but lost his connection to his Indigenous roots, language and culture after his family was moved to a reserve, and Don wasn't allowed to speak Cree at school. David decides to go traplining with his father as an adult, as a way to connect to his own Cree heritage and the land, but to also better understand his father. Black Water is the story of these journeys: a father and son heading into the wilderness, and of a son connecting with his father, but also with heritage and, ultimately, himself.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Robertson is a writer based in Winnipeg. He has published more than 25 books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls, a Governor General's Literary Award-winning picture book called When We Were Aloneillustrated by Julie Flett, and the YA book StrangersHe is also releasing a middle-grade novel, The Barren Grounds, in fall 2020. He hosts the CBC Manitoba podcast Kiwew.

An Alphabet for Joanna by Damian Rogers

An Alphabet for Joanna is a book by Damian Rogers. (Knopf Canada, Mike Belitsky)

Poet Damian Rogers was raised by a free-spirited single mother whose past was a mystery shared only in fragmented stories. When Rogers is an adult, and her mother is diagnosed with early onset dementia, she realizes she may never learn the whole story. An Alphabet for Joanna is the story of Rogers' upbringing in suburban Detroit in the 1970s and her unique relationship with her mother. But it's also a meditation on the stories we tell ourselves, and how we create and hold onto memories.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Rogers is a writer from Toronto. She is also the author of two poetry collections, Dear Leader and Paper Radio.

Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty by Hana Shafi

Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty is a book by Hana Shafi. (Dylan van den Berge/CBC, Book*hug Press)

Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty is a collection of essays and artwork that explores self-discovery. Based on the affirmations artist and writer Hana Shafi shares online, this book explores identity, self-discovery, racism, feminism, friendship and the power of creativity through humour, reflection and art.

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Shafi is a writer and artist from Toronto; she illustrates under the name Frizz Kid. She is also the author of the poetry collection It Begins With The Body.

One Game at a Time by Harnarayan Singh

One Game at a Time is a book by Harnarayan Singh. (CBC, McClelland & Stewart)

Harnarayan Singh is the longtime voice and personality behind Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi. Growing up in small-town Alberta, Singh aspired to a career in hockey, but also saw a lack of representation among the broadcasters who presented the sport. From a childhood calling imaginary hockey games with his plastic toy mic, Singh worked his way to becoming the first Sikh to broadcast an NHL game in English and one of the leading ambassadors of the game. 

In his memoir, One Game at a Time: My Journey from Small-Town Alberta to Hockey's Biggest Stage, the broadcaster charts his life story and highlights hockey's ability to unite people. 

When you can read it: Sept. 22, 2020

Singh is a sports announcer and journalist, and continues to host the Punjabi-language broadcast of Hockey Night in Canada.

Warrior Life by Pamela Palmater

Warrior Life is a book by Pamela Palmater. (Michelle Girourard, Fernwood Publishing)

Warrior Life is a collection of writing from Mi'kmaq lawyer, professor and activist Pamela Palmater. In the book, Palmater explores several contemporary Indigenous issues like racism, genocide, politics, the legal system, decolonization, resistance and reconciliation. Warrior Life is a critique of Canada, and a rallying cry for Indigenous people and allies to find a new way forward

When you can read it: Oct. 23, 2020

Palmater is currently the chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. She has appeared as a commentator on APTN, CTV and CBC and is also the author of the nonfiction books Indigenous nationhood and Beyond Blood.

Missing from the Village by Justin Ling

Missing from the Village is a book by Justin Ling. (McClelland & Stewart, CBC)

Missing from the Village is the story of serial killer Bruce MacArthur, and the eight men he killed over nearly a decade in Toronto's gay village. When the cases of three men who went missing in 2013 — Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan — were left unsolved, journalist Justin Ling decided to investigate, believing the cases could be linked. What unfolded was a tragic story about a serial killer going undetected, a police investigation that failed, and about a community on edge and left to grieve when Bruce MacArthur was finally arrested in 2018, and his horrendous crimes became public.

When you can read it: Sept. 29, 2020

Ling is an investigative journalist from Toronto. He hosted the CBC podcast Uncover: The Village, which is also about his work on the Bruce MacArthur case. Missing from the Village is his first book.

Ice Walker by James Raffan

Ice Walker is a book by James Raffan. (Simon & Schuster, Jason van Bruggen)

In Ice Walker, explorer and adventurer James Raffan asks readers to look at the Arctic through unexpected eyes: the eyes of a polar bear named Nanu and her family. As climate change changes the Arctic, where Nanu's family has lived and hunted for generations, the bear must figure out how to find food and shelter for her family, on a landscape that is warming up, where precious ice is melting rapidly and everything is changing.

When you can read it: Sept. 29, 2020

Raffan is a writer, teacher, geographer and adventurer. He has written more than 20 books, including Circling the Midnight Sun, Emperor of the North and Summer North of Sixty. His work has appeared in several Canadian media outlets, including the Globe and Mail, Canadian Geographic and CBC. In 2020, Canadian Geographic named him one of the "90 most influential explorers in the nation's recorded history."

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: Sept. 29, 2020

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

Field Notes from a Pandemic by Ethan Lou

Field Notes from a Pandemic is a book by Ethan Lou. (Submitted by Ethan Lou, Signal)

When Canadian journalist Ethan Lou left Toronto in January 2020, the novel coronavirus had barely registered in the minds of North Americans and others in the West. Everything was fine — and then it wasn't. In Field Notes from a PandemicLou details witnessing the earliest stages of the COVID-19 crisis when visiting China to see his ailing grandfather — and then unexpectedly travelling to other hot zones around the world, where he repeatedly relives the lockdown he left behind and sees the raw effects of the crisis.

When you can read it: Sept. 29, 2020

Lou has written for the Guardian, the South China Morning Post, the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Maclean's and The Walrus. He is also the author of another forthcoming book, Once a Bitcoin Miner

Falling Into Flight by Kaija Pepper

Falling Into Flight is a book by Kaija Pepper. (Signature Editions)

Kaija Pepper is a teacher and dance historian who delves into her own personal history in her memoir Falling Into Flight. Born to immigrant parents and raised in Canada, Pepper found solace and freedom in dance, first as a dancer herself, then as a critic and historian. But when her parents die and Pepper develops a mysterious illness, she decides to look more closely at her own complicated past, her troubled relationship with her mother and the role dance played in it all.

When you can read it: Oct. 1, 2020

Pepper is an expert in dance history and currently lives in Vancouver. She is also the author of the books The Man Next Door Dances: The Art of Peter Bingham, The Dance Teacher: A Biography of Kay Armstrong and Theatrical Dance in Vancouver: 1880s–1920s

Peace by Chocolate by Jon Tattrie

Peace by Chocolate is a book by Jon Tattrie. (Goose Lane Editions, CBC)

When Tareq Hadhad's family came to a small town in Nova Scotia as refugees in 2015, they didn't know what to do, or how to support themselves. Hadhad's father had been a chocolate maker in Syria, and so Hadhad convinced his dad to make chocolate again, this time in their tiny Antigonish kitchen. That enterprise grew into a large scale chocolate company, Peace by Chocolate, and the family inspired Canadians across the country. In Peace by Chocolate, journalist Jon Tattrie shares this inspiring story, and the family's message of the power of community and positivity.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

Tattrie is a journalist with CBC News, currently based in Nova Scotia. He is also the author of two novels, Black Snow and Limerence, and several other nonfiction books.

Reset by Ronald J. Deibert

Ron Deibert is the founder and director of Citizen Lab, a research centre based at the University of Toronto, which studies technology, surveillance and censorship. His 2020 Massey Lectures will focus on the societal impact of the internet and social media. (House of Anansi Press)

In Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society, technology and security expert Ronald J. Deibert argues that the internet, especially social media, has an increasingly toxic influence in every aspect of life. Drawing from his work as the director of Citizen Lab, which has made headlines for its cyber espionage research, Deibert explores the personal, social, political, economic and ecological implications of social media.

Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society are the 2020 Massey Lectures. They will be broadcast on CBC Radio in the fall.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

Deibert is the director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. He is also the author of the books Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia and Black Code.

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories by Michael Posner

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories is a book by Michael Posner. (Simon & Schuster, CBC still photo collection)

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories is the first of three volumes in a planned biography of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. This first edition focuses on the early years of the Montreal poet's life — covering his youth, his university years and the beginning of his musical and literary careers, set against the backdrop of the social, political and cultural revolutions that would define the 1960s. Journalist Michael Posner interviewed Cohen's friends, families, business partners and more to paint a complete portrait of the Canadian icon.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

Posner is a playwright, journalist and author. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail and Toronto Life. His other books include All of Me, a biography about singer Anne Murray, and The Last Honest Man, a biography about writer Mordecai Richler.

War: How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan

War: How Conflict Shaped Us is a book by Margaret MacMillan. (Viking, Allen Lane)

Historian Margaret MacMillan looks at how conflict has shaped human society and culture over the centuries in her new book, War: How Conflict Shaped Us. Tracing conflict from ancient Greece to modern times, MacMillan looks at how war was often a catalyst for political upheaval, scientific developments and more — showing readers that war's long shadow over history is darker, bigger and murkier than we can even imagine.

When you can read it: Oct. 6, 2020

MacMillan is a historian, and an emeritus professor of international history at Oxford University and professor of history at the University of Toronto. She is the author of several books, including Paris 1919 and The War that Ended Peace. Paris 1919 won the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction in 2003. She gave the 2015 Massey Lectures, which were titled History's People.

Love Her Madly by Bill Cosgrave

Lover Her Madly is a book by Bill Cosgrave. (Dundurn Press)

In 1965, Bill Cosgrave followed his friend Mary to Los Angeles. There, Mary introduced Bill to her boyfriend, and the two men spent the summer hanging out, smoking pot and enjoying being young and free. That friend was Jim Morrison, who would later find fame as the lead singer for the Doors. Bill lost touch with both Mary and Jim. His book Love Her Madly chronicles that unforgettable summer, and Bill's quest to track Mary down after more than 40 years of wondering where she ended up.

When you can read it: Oct. 10, 2020

Cosgrave is the founder of the travel company Fun Seekers. He currently lives in Kelowna, B.C. Love Her Madly is his first book.

Approaching Fire by Michelle Porter

Approaching Fire is a book by Michelle Porter. (Breakwater Books)

Michelle Porter's great-grandfather was Métis fiddler and performer Léon Robert Goulet. In her book, Approaching Fire, she tells his story, and her own story of connecting with her family history through poetry, photographs, musicology and more. Approaching Fire is a creative biography about family connection, history and how we tell stories to each other and to ourselves.

When you can read it: Oct. 14, 2020

Porter is a Red River Métis poet, journalist and editor who currently lives in St. John's. She is also the author of the poetry collection Inquiries.

Balancing Bountiful by Mary Jayne Blackmore

Balancing Bountiful is a book by Mary Jayne Blackmore. (Caitlin Press, Starla Roundy)

Mary Jayne Blackmore grew up in Bountiful, the polygamist community in British Columbia. In fact, she was the fifth of community leader Winston Blackmore's 150 children. Blackmore grew up observing a fundamentalist Mormon faith and was married before she was 17 years old, and had two children before she was 20. After her father was convicted of polyagamy in 2017, Blackmore had to confront her own relationship with her faith, her family and her community. She shares her story in the memoir Balancing Bountiful.

When you can read it: Oct. 16, 2020

Blackmore grew up in the polygamist community of Bountiful. She is now a traveller, activist and environmentalist. Balancing Bountiful is her first book.

Willie by Willie O'Ree with Michael McKinley

Willie is a book by Willie O'Ree, pictured, with Michael McKinley. (Viking, Presley Ann/Getty Images)

In 1958, Willie O'Ree stepped on the ice for the Boston Bruins, becoming the first Black player to play in the NHL. For the next 20 years, he would continue to play, facing racist taunts from fans and fellow players. After he retired from playing, he would build an even bigger legacy as an advocate for diversity in sport, helping more than 40,000 kids discover the game he loved. Willie, a memoir written with journalist Michael McKinley, looks back on O'Ree's life, legacy and career.

When you can read it: Oct. 20, 2020

O'Ree was the first Black player in the NHL. He is also the subject of the documentary WillieWillie is his first book.

McKinley is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and screenwriter from Vancouver. He is also the author of the nonfiction book Hockey: A People's History and the novel The Penalty Killing.

Canadarm and Collaboration by Elizabeth Howell

Canadarm and Collaboration is a book by Elizabeth Howell. (ECW Press, Danielle Donders)

The Canadian astronaut program began in 1981. In the nearly 30 years since, it has developed some of the world's most influential astronauts, including Chris Hadfield, governor general Julie Payette and several top ranking officials at NASA. Canadarm and Collaboration is the story of Canada's space program and how we've contributed people, ideas and technology — and yes, the iconic Canadarm — to the global quest to better understand outer space.

When you can read it: Oct. 20, 2020

Elizabeth Howell is a teacher, consultant and writer from Ottawa. She is also the author of the books The Science of Time Travel and The Search for Life on Mars.

Like a Boy but Not a Boy by andrea bennett

Like a Boy but Not a Boy is a book by andrea bennett. (CBC, Arsenal Pulp Press)

Like a Boy but Not a Boy is a collection of essays by non-binary poet and writer andrea bennett as they explore parenthood, gender, mental illness, creativity, mortality and identity and how it all interconnects. Like a Boy but Not a Boy is about forging your own path and accepting yourself, and finding family, love and faith on your own terms.

When you can read it: Oct. 20, 2020

bennett is an editor, journalist and poet from Montreal. Their work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Walrus and Reader's Digest. Like a Boy but Not a Boy is their first book.

We the North by Doug Smith

We the North is about the first 25 years of the Toronto Raptors by veteran reporter Doug Smith. (Viking, Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

NBA reporter Doug Smith has covered the Toronto Raptors for 25 years, and has written the team's definitive history. We the North will cover the team's lows and highs, including Vince Carter's iconic dunk contest performance, the departure of stars like Carter and DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors taking down the Warriors dynasty for their first championship.

When you can read it: Oct. 20, 2020

Smith is a sports journalist with the Toronto Star.

Fight or Submit by Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson

Fight or Submit is a book by Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson (ECW Press, Suzanne Le Stage Photography)

Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson is a successful community leader, entrepreneur and author. Born in a tarpaper shack, Derrickson grew up to be elected chief of his Westbank First Nation six times. He was a successful and engaging community leader, turning the community's revenues around and engaging in battles over land and logging rights. His businesses thrived and he's considered one of the most successful Indigenous businesspeople in Canada. He's sharing his story in the memoir Fight or Submit.

When you can read it: Oct. 27, 2020

Derrickson is a community leader, political leader and author. His books include Unsettling Canada and The Reconciliation Manifesto.

Off Script by Marci Ien

Off Script is a book by Marci Ien. (Andrew Holmes, HarperCollins Canada)

Marci Ien is one of Canada's best known broadcasters, working as a reporter for CTV News, co-anchoring the morning show Canada AM and now as one of the co-hosts on the daytime talk show The Social. When she was on Canada AM, she was the first Black woman to co-host a national morning show. Off Script is Ien's memoir, which chronicles her rise to the top of Canadian broadcasting, and what it was like being one of few journalists of colour on air — and how that meant she felt pressure to be her very best.

When you can read it: Oct. 27, 2020

Ien is a broadcast journalist based in Toronto. She currently is a co-host for the CTV show The SocialOff Script is her first book.

The Company by Stephen R. Bown

The Company is a book by Stephen R. Bown. (Doubleday Canada,

The Company is the definitive history of one of Canada's most iconic businesses: Hudson's Bay Company. Hudson's Bay Company began in 1670, when British colonizers traded manufactured goods for fur with Indigenous people. Over the next 400 years, the company would influence and shape western business practices, economy and culture, and would arguably become one of the most important organizations in the history of North America.

When you can read it: Oct. 27, 2020

Stephen R. Bown is a writer from Canmore, Alta. He writes primarily historical nonfiction. His previous books include Island of the Blue Foxes, Scurvy, The Last Viking and 1494.

If I Knew Then by Jann Arden

If I Knew Then is a book by Jann Arden. (Random House Canada)

Jann Arden is one of Canada's best known singer-songwriters. But when she reached her 50s, her life changed in unexpected ways: she became the caregiver for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she became the star of the sitcom Jann and she realized that getting older doesn't mean who can't grow, change and celebrate. If I Knew Then is Arden's memoir looking back on this journey, and how she learned to free herself from other's expectations and not only live her life, but revel in it.

When you can read it: Oct. 27,2020

Arden is a multi-platinum recording artist and has won eight Juno Awards over her celebrated career. She recently starred in the fictional television series Jann on CTV. She is also the author of Feeding My Mothera memoir of caring for her mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Close to the Bone by Lisa Ray

Close to the Bone is a memoir by Lisa Ray. (Doubleday Canada, submitted by Lisa Ray)

Lisa Ray is one of India's most successful cover models, has been a host of Top Chef Canada and an actor in the Oscar-nominated film Water, the Amazon Prime series Four Shots More Please and the upcoming A.R. Rahman film 99 Songs. In 2009, she was diagnosed with the rare blood cancer multiple myeloma. She revealed her diagnosis on the red carpet at the Toronto International Film Festival, and shared her journey on a blog called The Yellow Diaries. Ray shares her story in her memoir, Close to the Bone.

When you can read it: Nov. 3, 2020

Ray is a model, TV personality and actor. She defended Brother by David Chariandy on Canada Reads 2018. Close to the Bone is her first book.

Reaching Mithymna by Steven Heighton

A book cover featuring an overhead photo of a beach.
Reaching Mithymna is a book by Steven Heighton. (Mary Huggard, Biblioasis)

In 2015, writer Steven Heighton made a sudden decision: he would travel to Greece and volunteer at the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis. Once there, he found himself working in a transit camp offering support to refugees who recently made the harrowing journey across the the sea from Turkey, and alongside the refugees and the aid workers stationed there, finds himself overwhelmed. Heighton shares this story in the memoir Reaching Mithymna.

When you can read it: Nov. 10, 2020

Heighton is a novelist, short story writer and poet from Toronto. His other books include the poetry collection The Waking Comes Late, which won the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry, and the novel The Nightingale Won't Let You Sleep.

Extraordinary Canadians by Peter Mansbridge with Mark Bulgutch

Extraordinary Canadians is a book by Peter Mansbridge with Mark Bulgutch. (Simon & Schuster, CBC)

In Extraordinary Canadians: Stories from the Heart of Our Nation, former host of CBC's The National Peter Mansbridge and former CBC producer Mark Bulgutch spotlight remarkable Canadians. The collection features first-person stories from advocates, politicians, veterans, immigrants, business leaders and healthcare workers, including a nurse fighting on the frontlines of COVID-19 and the rabbi whose family fled Nazi Germany and now gives the Remembrance Day benediction on Parliament Hill each year.

When you can read it: Nov. 10, 2020

Mansbridge is also the author of the national bestseller Peter Mansbridge One on One: Favourite Conversations and the Stories Behind Them.

Bulgutch is also the author of That's Why I'm a Journalist and That's Why I'm a Doctor.

Because They Were Women by Josée Boileau, translated by Chantal Bilodeau

Because They Were Women is a book by Josée Boileau, translated by Chantal Bilodeau. (Second Story Press, Radio-Canada)

On Dec. 6, 1989, a man entered École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal, and murdered 14 female students. The tragedy, known now as the Montreal massacre, remains one of the worst mass shootings in Canadian history. 30 years after this horrific event, Because They Were Women memorialises the victims, and offers a definitive account of what happened that day.

When you can read it: Nov. 10, 2020

Josée Boileau is a journalist from Montreal. She is a columnist for CBC/Radio Canada, Chatelaine and Journal de Montréal. Because They Were Women ​​is her first book to be translated into English​​​​.

Chantal Bilodeau is a playwright and translator from Montreal who now lives in New York. She has translated more than 20 plays.

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 regular day in modern life and the habits and decisions we make. He digs into the science behind many of our mindless day-to-day tasks and argues that many of the things we think make 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: Dec. 1, 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?

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, becoming a mother and learning to trust your body once more.

When you can read it: Dec. 29, 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.

Saga Boy by Antonio Michael Downing

Saga Boy is a book by Antonio Michael Downing. (Viking)

Musician and writer Antonio Michael Downing shares his story in the memoir Saga Boy. Downing was born in Trinidad and raised there by his grandmother until he was 11 years old — after she dies, he is sent to rural Ontario to live with a strict aunt. There, Downing and his brother are the only Black kids in town. Creative and inquisitive, Downing tries to find himself and escape his difficult home life by imagining different personas. But when he hits rock bottom, and finds himself in jail, he knows it is time to build a life for himself, for real, and to embrace his heritage instead of trying to escape it.

When you can read it: Jan. 19, 2021

Downing is a musician, writer and activist who now lives in Toronto. He published his first book, the novel Molasses, in 2010. In 2017, he was named one of five writers to participate in the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Mentorship Program.


  • The post has been updated to reflect the correct release date for Warrior Life by Pamela Palmater.
    Aug 27, 2020 2:07 PM ET
  • An earlier version of this story stated Wade Davis was currently the explorer-in-residence at National Georgraphic. He no longer holds that position.
    Aug 31, 2020 1:23 PM ET

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