Books·Fall Book Preview

57 works of Canadian nonfiction coming out in fall 2021

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

Here are the works of Canadian nonfiction coming out this fall we can't wait to read.

The Last Nomad by Shugri Said Salh

The Last Nomad is a book by Shugri Said Salh. (Algonquin Books, Shugri Said Sahl)

Born in Somalia, Shugri Said Salh was sent to live with her nomadic grandmother in the desert at age six. Even though the desert was a harsh place threatened by drought, predators and enemy clans, it held beauty, innovation, centuries of tradition and a way for a young Sufi girl to learn courage and independence from her fearless relatives. But when she came of age, both her and her country were forced to confront change, violence and instability. In The Last Nomad, Salh writes of trying to break free of her patriarchal culture, her forced female genital mutilation, the loss of her mother and her growing need for independence. 

When you can read it: Aug. 3, 2021

Sahl was born in the Somali desert and immigrated to North America after civil war broke out in her home country. She lives in Sonoma County with her husband and children. The Last Nomad is her first book.

Stories of Métis Women, edited by Bailey Oster and Marilyn Lizee

Stories of Métis Women is an essay collection edited by Bailey Oster and Marilyn Lizee. (Bailey Oster, Durvile Publications, Marilyn Lizee)

Stories of Métis Women is a collection of stories about culture, history and nationhood as told by Métis women. Few really know the story of the Métis. They are a people with a unique and proud history. In this era of reconciliation, this book explains the story of the Métis Nation from the perspective of several Métis women.

When you can read it: Aug. 15, 2021

Bailey Oster is a Métis woman with roots in the Red River Settlement and St. Paul des Métis. She was elected as the youngest ever vice-president of New Dawn, the Métis Women's Organization within Alberta at 19 years old and still currently holds the position.

Marilyn Lizee is a consultant for the Métis Nation of Alberta, creating cultural training programs for the general public as well as for the Métis Nation. 

Missed Connections by Brian Francis

Missed Connections is a book by Brian Francis. (McClelland & Stewart)

In 1992, Brian Francis, a 21-year-old university student, placed a personal ad in a local newspaper. He was still in the closet and looking for love. He received 25 responses, but only responded to half of them. There were 13 letters that went unanswered and spent years forgotten in a cardboard box. Now, almost three decades later, he has written replies to those letters. Missed Connections uses these letters as a starting point to reflect on everything that has changed for him as a gay man, exploring body image, aging, desire, the price of secrecy and the courage it takes to be unapologetically yourself. 

Missed Connections was inspired by Francis's play, Box 4901.

When you can read it: Aug. 17, 2021

Francis is the author of novels Fruit, Natural Order and Break in Case of Emergency. He is a writer and columnist for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio and lives in Toronto.

Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Muller

Life in the City of Dirty Water is a book by Clayton Thomas-Muller. (Allen Lane, Thelma Young Lutunatabua)

Life in the City of Dirty Water is a memoir by Cree activist Clayton Thomas-Muller. It covers his entire life: from playing with toy planes as a way to escape from domestic and sexual abuse and enduring the intergenerational trauma of Canada's residential school system; to becoming a young man who fought against racism and violence, but also spent time in juvenile prison; to becoming a committed activist. Along the way, Clayton remained tied to his Cree heritage and spirituality. Tying together personal stories of survival that bring the realities of the First Nations into focus, Life in the City of Dirty Water is a narrative and vision of healing and responsibility. 

When you can read it: Aug. 24, 2021

Thomas-Muller is a member of the Treaty #6 based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation located in Northern Manitoba. He's campaigned on behalf of Indigenous peoples around the world for more than 20 years, working with numerous organizations. Life in the City of Dirty Water is his first book.

Music, Late and Soon by Robyn Sarah

Music, Late and Soon is a book by Robyn Sarah. (Biblioasis)

After 35 years as an "on-again, off-again, uncoached closet pianist," poet and writer Robyn Sarah called her old piano teacher, whom she had last seen decades ago. Music, Late and Soon is the story of Sarah's return to studying piano with the mentor of her youth. She also reflects on a decade spent at Quebec's Conservatoire de Musique, studying clarinet, preparing for a career as an orchestral musician, but already a writer at heart.

When you can read it: Aug. 24, 2021

Sarah is the author of 11 collections of poems, two books of short stories and a book of essays on poetry. My Shoes Are Killing Me won the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies. She lives in Montreal.

The Moment by Andrea Constand

The Moment is a memoir by Andrea Constand. (Kelley Clayton, Viking)

Andrea Constand was one of more than 60 women who were drugged, raped and assaulted by Bill Cosby. She took Cosby to court, enduring a legal marathon consisting of two criminal trials and a civil suit. She shares her story in the memoir The Moment. The book is about the moment a life changes, as hers did when she was raped. It's also about the moment, nearly a decade later, when she stood up for victims without a voice — later putting herself through an arduous criminal trial — and about the larger cultural moment taking place around the time of the 2018 trial, signified by the #MeToo movement.

When you can read it: Sept. 7, 2021

Constand is now a registered massage therapist in Toronto. She worked as the director of operations for Temple University's women's basketball program, a sports marketing specialist for Nike and a professional basketball player in Europe.

The Shaytan Bride by Sumaiya Matin

The Shaytan Bride is a book by Sumaiya Matin. (GiuliaCiampini, Dundurn Press)

Sumaiya Matin was never sure if the story of the Shaytan Bride was true or not. She always believed the Shaytan Bride to be the monster of fairy tales, a woman possessed or seduced by a jinni. When she moved from Dhaka, Bangladesh to Thunder Bay, recollections of this bride followed her. During a family trip back to Bangladesh, and in the weeks before Matin's own forced wedding, she discovers that the story and the bride are closer than they seem. She shares this journey in The Shaytan Bride.

When you can read it: Sept. 7, 2021

Matin is a writer, social worker, psychotherapist and strategic advisor for the Ontario government. She lives in Toronto.

Return by Kamal Al-Solaylee

Return is a book by Kamal Al-Solaylee. (Gary Gould, HarperCollins Canada)

Kamal Al-Solaylee yearns to return to his homeland of Yemen, now wracked by war, starvation and daily violence, to reconnect with his family. His childhood homes call to him, even though he ran away from them in his youth and found peace and prosperity in Toronto. In Return, Al-Solaylee interviews people who have returned to their homelands or long to return to them. This book is a chronicle of love and loss, a book for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to return to their roots.

When you can read it: Sept. 7, 2021

Al-Solaylee is a professor and author. His other books include Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes and Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone). Intolerable was defended by Kristin Kreuk on Canada Reads 2015. Al-Solaylee holds a PhD in English and is the director of the University of British Columbia's school of journalism, writing and media. 

This Strange Visible Air by Sharon Butala

This Strange Visible Air is a book by Sharon Butala. (Freehand Books, Jennifer Chipperfield)

In the essay collection This Strange Visible Air, Sharon Butala reflects on the ways her life has changed as she's grown old. She tackles ageism, loneliness, friendship and companionship. She writes about dinner parties, health challenges, complicated family relationships and the pandemic. This book is an expansive look at the complexities and desires of aging and the aged, a stark contrast to the stereotyped and simplistic portrayals of the elderly in our culture. 

When you can read it: Sept. 13, 2021

Butala is a Saskatchewan-based author of 19 novels and nonfiction books, including The Perfection of the Morning, Where I Live Now, Zara's Dead, Fever and Wild Rose. She is a three-time Governor General's Literary Award nominee and received the Marian Engel Award in 1998. She became an officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Pluck by Donna Morrissey

Pluck is a book by Donna Morrissey. (Nicola Davison, Viking)

In the memoir Pluck, writer Donna Morrissey recounts her life from being a grocery clerk to oil fields, from marriage and divorce to working in a fish-processing plant to support herself and her two young children. She layers her account of her life with stories of people who came before her, such as iron-willed mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, teachers and mentors. Pluck shows that even when you're unravelling, you can spin the yarns that will save you.

When you can read it: Sept. 14, 2021

Morrissey is the author of six novels, including Kit's Law, The Fortunate Brother, The Deception of Livvy Higgs and Sylvanus Now. She has also written the children's book Cross Katie Kross, which was illustrated by her daughter, Brigitte Morrissey. Born and raised in Newfoundland, Morissey now lives in Halifax.

On Opium by Carlyn Zwarenstein

On Opium is a book by Carlyn Zwarenstein. (Goose Lane Editions, Melissa Capararelli)

On Opium is Carlyn Zwarenstein's exploration into the opioid crisis in North America. She shares her own experience coping with disease and explores how trauma comes to the forefront as intersections of race, class and gender are examined. Zwarenstein argues for solidarity and radical drug legislation, and proposes a world where suffering is no longer lauded and opioids are no longer demonized.

When you can read it: Sept. 14, 2021

Zwarenstein is a writer and journalist based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. Her first book, Opium Eater: The New Confessions, was published in 2016.

Flower Diary by Molly Peacock

Flower Diary is book by Molly Peacock. (ECW Press, Candice Ferreira)

Flower Diary is Molly Peacock's biography of renowned painter Mary Hiester Reid. Born into a noble American family in the middle of the 19th century, Reid was determined to be an artist. She married fellow artist George Reid and followed him to his home in Canada. There, she created over 300 stunning still life and landscape paintings. In the process, she dealt with a rich but difficult marriage, coped with a younger rival, exhibited internationally and became well-reviewed.

When you can read it: Sept. 14, 2021

Peacock is a biographer and poet. She's also the author of The Paper Garden: Mrs Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72, as well as seven volumes of poetry, including The Analyst: Poems and The Second Blush. Peacock divides her time between Toronto and New York City.

Mennonite Valley Girl by Carla Funk

Mennonite Valley Girl is a book by Carla Funk. (Greystone Books, Lance Hesketh)

Mennonite Valley Girl is Carla Funk's second memoir about growing up Mennonite. Coming of age in a remote and forested valley filled with Mennonites, loggers and dutiful wives who submit to their husbands, Funk knows her destiny is to marry, have babies and join the church ladies' sewing circle. But she wants to push the limits of her religion and seek independence from the isolated Mennonite community in the small town. 

When you can read it: Sept. 14, 2021

Funk was born and raised in Vanderhoof, one of the earliest Mennonite settlements in British Columbia. Her memoir Every Little Scrap and Wonder was a finalist for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. She has also authored five poetry collections and is the former poet laureate for Victoria.

Made-Up by Daphné B., translated by Alex Manley

Made Up is a book by Daphné B. (Coach House Books, JF Lemire from Shoot Studio)

Made-Up brings us an anti-capitalist look at a supremely capitalist industry and an intersectional feminist look at a practice many consider misogynistic. The book explores the complicated world of makeup, from how it's made to how we wear it, talking about gender, identity, capitalism and pop culture in the process. Makeup doesn't get a lot of serious attention, it's often labelled shallow, but the author proves it's worth looking a little more in depth at it.

When you can read it: Sept. 14, 2021

Daphné B is a poet and literary translator who lives and works in Montreal. She published Bluetiful in 2015 and Delete in 2017. She writes for numerous magazines such as Nouveau Projet, Liberté, Spirale, Zinc and Estuaire and co-founded the feminist platform Filles Missiles. She is a regular contributor to the radio show Plus on est de fous, plus on lit on Radio-Canada.

Alex Manley is a writer and translator from Montreal. They are also the author of the poetry collection We Are All Just Animals & Plants.

My Mother, My Translator by Jaspreet Singh

My Mother, My Translator is a book by Jaspreet Singh. (Oaana Marian, Vehicule Press)

In 2008, Jaspreet Singh told his mother that he would give her the go-ahead to publish her significantly altered translation of a story from his collection, Seventeen Tomatoes, if she promised to write her memoirs. After her death in 2012, he decided to finish the memoir she had started. My Mother, My Translator is a personal dive into a complex relationship, a family history, a work of mourning, a meditation on storytelling and silence and a reckoning with trauma. 

When you can read it: Sept. 15, 2021

Singh is a writer from Calgary. He has published two novels, Chef and Helium, the story collection Seventeen Tomatoes and the poetry collection November.

Richard Wagamese Selected, edited by Drew Hayden Taylor

Richard Wagamese Selected is a collection of essays by Richard Wagamese. (Yyvette Lehman, Douglas & McIntyre)

Richard Wagamese Selected is a collection of nonfiction works by Richard Wagamese, one of Canada's most celebrated Indigenous authors and storytellers. The book, edited and curated by Drew Hayden Taylor, brings together more of his short writings, many for the first time in print. 

When you can read it: Sept.18, 2021

Wagamese, an Ojibwe author from the Wabaseemoong First Nation, was one of Canada's most prominent writers. His novels included Medicine Walk and Indian Horse. His memoirs include One Native Life and One Story, One Song. He died in March 2017.

Taylor is an Ojibwe playwright, author and journalist from Curve Lake First Nations in Ontario. He has worked on over 17 documentaries examining Indigenous experiences. His books include Motorcycle and Sweetgrass and Take Us to Your Chief.

Disorientation by Ian Williams

Disorientation is a book by Ian Williams. (Random House Canada, Justin Morris)

In Disorientation, Ian Williams captures the impact of racial encounters on racialized people, especially when one's minding their own business. Sometimes, the consequences are only irritating, but sometimes they are deadly. Driven by the police killings and street protests of 2020, Williams realized he could offer a Canadian perspective on race. He explores things such as, the unmistakable moment when a child realizes they're Black, the ten characteristics of institutional whiteness, how friendship helps protect against being a target of racism and blame culture.

When you can read it: Sept. 21, 2021

Williams is a poet, novelist and professor from Brampton, Ont., who is currently teaching at the University of British Columbia. His debut novel Reproduction won the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize. He is also the author of the poetry collection Personals, which was a finalist for the 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Unreconciled by Jesse Wente

Unreconciled is a work of nonfiction by Jesse Wente. (Red Works/CBC Media Centre, Allen Lane)

Unreconciled is a memoir from Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster and arts leader Jesse Wente. It weaves together Wente's personal story with a larger exploration of society and culture and examine sports, art, popular culture and more. He explores his family's history, including his grandmother's experience in residential school, and shares his own frequent incidents of racial profiling by police and argues that the notion of reconciliation between First Nations and Canada is not a realistic path forward.

When you can read it: Sept. 21, 2021

Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster and arts leader. He's best known for the more than two decades he's spent as a columnist for CBC Radio's Metro Morning. He has also worked at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2018, he was named the first executive director of the Indigenous Screen Office and in 2020, he was appointed chair of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Praying to the West by Omar Mouallem

Praying to the West is a book by Omar Mouallem. (Simon & Schuster)

In Praying to the West, Omar Mouallem explores the unknown history of Islam across the Americas. He travelled to 13 mosques to figure out how the religion has survived and thrived so far from the place of its origin. All over the continent, he met the members of fascinating communities and all of them provide different perspectives on what it means to be Muslim. Mouallem comes to understand that Islam has played a role in how the America's were shaped, from industrialization to politics.

When you can read it: Sept. 21, 2021

Mouallem is a writer, journalist and filmmaker living in Edmonton. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Maclean's, and Wired. He co-authored Inside the Inferno: A Firefighter's Story of the Brotherhood that Saved Fort McMurray. He also co-directed Digging in the Dirt, a documentary about mental health in the Alberta oil patch. In 2020, he founded the Pandemic University School of Writing.

The Weight of Sand by Edith Blais

The Weight of Sand is a book by Edith Blais. (Greystone Books, Krystel V. Morin)

Edith Blais made headlines in January of 2019 when she and her partner were kidnapped while travelling in Africa's Sahel region, but little was heard of her until she reappeared in Mali over a year later. In the memoir The Weight of Sand, Blais fills in the gap of that lost year, describing the terror and inhuman conditions she endured before escaping her captors. Her writings during her 15 months of captivity became the basis for The Weight of Sand.

When you can read it: Sept. 21, 2021

Blais is a chef, writer, and artist currently living in Sherbrooke, Que.

Open Every Window by Jane Munro

Open Every Window is a book by Jane Munro. (Douglas & McIntyre)

When Jane Munro's husband, Bob, is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, both their lives unravel. Open Every Window charts a path through sorrow, detailing the pain of seeing a partner age and approach death, the exhaustion of caretaking and the regret in seeing life's scope narrow and diminish. Munro grapples with what it means to care for a husband who is gradually deteriorating while her identity is overshadowed by a single word, caregiver.

When you can read it: Sept. 21, 2021

Munro is a writer from Vancouver. Her poetry books include Active Pass, Point No Point, and Grief Notes & Animal Dreams. Her poetry collection Blue Sonoma won the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Among Silent Echoes by Phyllis Dyson

Phyllis Dyson is the author of Among Silent Echoes. (Caitlin Press/Clara Dyson)

Decades after her mother's death, Phyllis Dyson is unearthing the truth about her mother's illness. By chronicling the events of her childhood, uncovering family secrets and betrayals and gaining access to government documents, Dyson has captured the heart of her family's tragedy with memoir Among Silent Echoes

When you can read it: Sept. 24, 2021

Dyson is an elementary school teacher who is a member of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society and has promoted mental health awareness in her community through a program called Partnership. Dyson lives in a small town on B.C.'s West Coast.

Spílexm by Nicola I. Campbell

Spílexm is a book by Nicola I. Campbell. (Highwater Press)

Spílexm is a memoir that tells the story of one Indigenous woman's journey to overcoming adversity and colonial trauma to find strength and resilience through creative works and traditional perspectives of healing, transformation and resurgence. Nicola I. Campbell weaves poetry and prose into what it means to be an intergenerational survivor of residential schools. 

When you can read it: Sept. 27, 2021

Campbell is the Nłeʔkepmx, Syilx and Métis author of Shi-shi-etko, Shin-chi's Canoe, Grandpa's Girls and Stand Like a Cedar. Shin-chi's Canoe won the 2009 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award for children's literature — illustration.

Permanent Astonishment by Tomson Highway

Permanent Astonishment is a book by Tomson Highway. (Doubleday Canada, Sean Howard)

Permanent Astonishment is acclaimed writer Tomson Highway's memoir. Highway was born the 11th of 12 children in a nomadic caribou-bunting Cree family. Surrounded by the love of his family and the vast landscape of his home, he lived an idyllic far-north childhood. But five of his siblings died in childhood, and his parents wanted their two youngest sons, Tomson and Rene, to get big opportunities. Tomson and Rene attended residential school when Tomson was six. This memoir offers insight into the Cree experience of culture, conquest and survival.

When you can read it: Sept. 28, 2021

Highway is a Cree novelist, children's author, playwright and musician. Born in Manitoba, he is a member of the Barren Lands First Nation. His work includes Canadian theatre classics The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, novel Kiss of the Fur Queen and children's novels Caribou Song, Dragon Fly Kites and Fox on the Ice.

China Unbound by Joanna Chiu

China Unbound is a book by Joanna Chiu. (House of Anansi Press, Jennifer Osborne)

As the world's second-largest economy, China is extending its influence across the globe. Joanna Chiu has spent a decade tracking China's rise, from the "New Silk Road" global investment project to a growing sway on foreign countries and multilateral institutions through "United Front" efforts. In China Unbound, Chiu provides background on the Hong Kong protests, underground churches in Beijing and the exile Uygur communities in Turkey and exposes Beijing's high-tech surveillance and aggressive measures that result in human rights violations against those who challenge its power. 

When you can read it: Sept. 28, 2021

Chiu is currently a senior journalist at the Toronto Star. She was previously the bureau chief of the Star Vancouver. Chiu has also reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur, South China Morning Post, The Economist and The Associated Press. 

All Over the Map by Ron James

All Over the Map is a book by Ron James. (Doubleday Canada)

Ron James is a Canadian stand-up comedian who has toured across the country. In the memoir All Over the Map, James reminisces about growing up in Nova Scotia, his early struggles as an aspiring comic, and includes reflections on family, country, celebrity and lessons learned.

When you can read it: Sept. 28, 2021

James is a comedian from Nova Scotia who now lives in Toronto. He had a CBC series, The Ron James Show, for five years, from 2009 to 2014. 

Out of the Sun by Esi Edugyan

Acclaimed Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan will deliver this year's Massey Lectures. (Tamara Poppitt, Alysia Shewchuk/House of Anansi Press)

In Out of the Sun, the 2021 Massey Lectures, Esi Edugyan delivers an analysis on the relationship between race and art. She poses questions such as what happens when we begin to consider stories at the margins and grant them centrality? How does doing that complicate our understanding of who we are? Through the lens of visual art, literature, film and the author's lived experience, this book examines the depiction of Black histories in art, offering new perspectives to challenge the accepted narrative.

When you can read it: Sept. 28, 2021

Edugyan is a writer living in Victoria. Her other books include Half-Blood Blues, Dreaming of Elsewhere, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne and Washington Black. She won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues, and again in 2018 for Washington Black.

Peacekeeper's Daughter by Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt

Peacekeeper's Daughter is a book by Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt. (Thistledown Press, Emma Allatt)

Peacekeeper's Daughter is Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt's memoir, chronicling a lifetime of being uprooted in the name of her father's peacekeeping career. When Bellehumeur-Allatt is 12 years old, they transfer from a military base in Yellowknife to Israel, for her father to serve a one-year posting with the United Nations. While they're packing, the Middle East explodes into waves of violence. In the midst of this, the family arrives in Israel and settles into an apartment. The simple act of walking down the street is fraught with peril. 

When you can read it: Sept. 30, 2021

Bellehumeur-Allatt is a writer currently living in Quebec's Eastern Townships. She grew up on various army bases across Canada, from Quebec's North Shore to Yellowknife. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Chronicling the Days, Emergence and Best Canadian Essays 2019.

A Womb in the Shape of a Heart by Joanne Gallant

A Womb in the Shape of a Heart is a book by Joanne Gallant. (Nimbus Publishing, Katie Tower)

When she first conceives twins, Joanne Gallant dreams of motherhood are tested, as her pregnancy is riddled with dangerous complications, and eventually ends in a miscarriage. After emergency surgery, Gallant is diagnosed with bicornuate uterus, a rare condition also known as a heart shaped womb. Navigating infertility, Gallant and her partner are astonished when she prematurely gives birth to a son, leading to months of post-partum anxiety and post-traumatic stress. A Womb in the Shape of a Heart chronicles Gallant's journey through miscarriage and motherhood, grief and gratitude.

When you can read it: Sept. 30, 2021

Gallant is a pediatric nurse and writer currently living in Halifax. A Womb in the Shape of a Heart is her first book.

Pandemic Spotlight by Ian Hanomansing

Pandemic Spotlight: Canadian Doctors at the Front of the COVID-19 Fight is a book by Ian Hanomansing. (Douglas & McIntyre/CBC)

One of the most remarkable features of the COVID-19 pandemic are the previously low-profile doctors who took to the public stage with strength and compassion to lead Canada through the pandemic. They counteracted misinformation and gave the most up-to-date medical advice on avoiding infection. In Pandemic Spotlight, Ian Hanomansing profiles Canadian doctors, such as Dr. Bonnie Henry, Dr. Zain Chagla and Dr. Sumon Chakrabati, who stepped up to guide the nation through its worst medical crisis in a century.

When you can read it: Oct. 2, 2021

Hanomansing is a host and reporter who has been a journalist for more than 30 years. He currently co-hosts The National and is an interim host on CBC Radio's Cross Country Checkup.

Three Funerals for My Father by Jolie Phuong Hoang

Three Funerals for My Father is a book by Jolie Phuong Hoang. (Tidewater Press, Jolie Phuong Hoang)

During the communists' takeover in Vietnam in 1975, Jolie Hoang and her family lived in constant fear of being sent to the dreaded "new economic zone." Desperate to ensure the family's safety and to provide a future for his children, Hoang's father arranged three escapes. The first was a failure that cost most of their fortune, but the second was successful — six of his children reached Indonesia and ultimately Canada. He and his youngest daughter drowned during the disastrous third attempt. Three Funerals for My Father tells this story, alternately from the author's perspective and that of her father's ghost.

When you can read it: October 2021

Hoang arrived in Canada in 1984 after escaping from Vietnam as a teenager. She has written one other memoir, Anchorless. She lives in Fonthill, Ont.

Nothing Ordinary by Larry Krotz

Nothing Ordinary is a book by Larry Krotz. (Stephanie Leontowitsch, Cormorant Books)

Nothing Ordinary is the story of how 800,000 citizens of northern Ontario created their own school of medicine, and what it has meant for the region and the people living there. As Ontario's north is rural and remote, there were difficulties attracting and keeping doctors, so the hardy people there decided to train their own. Over the course of twenty years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine has brought change to healthcare and has created a legacy. 

When you can read it: Oct. 2, 2021

Larry Krotz is a writer and documentary filmmaker who has authored 10 nonfiction books, a novel and a picture book. He has worked with the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Literary Review of Canada, the National Film Board of Canada and PBS. He lives in Toronto.

A Tale of Two Omars by Omar Sharif Jr.

A Tale of Two Omars is a book by Omar Sharif Jr. (Catapult Press, Thomas Synnamon)

Omar Sharif Jr.'s name always protected him wherever he went, until he made the difficult decision to come out in the pages of The Advocate. He knew his life would never be the same, but he didn't expect the backlash that followed. He endured bullying, illness, attempted suicide, becoming a victim of sex trafficking, death threats by the thousands, and never being able to return to a country he once called home. Drawing on the lessons he learned from both sides of his family, A Tale of Two Omars charts the course of an unconventional life, revealing in the process the struggles and successes of a public journey of self-acceptance and a life dedicated in service to others.

When you can read it: Oct. 5, 2021

Sharif Jr. is an Egyptian Canadian actor and model who lives in the U.S. He is the grandson of actor Omar Sharif. He is widely considered to be the first openly gay person in the Arab world.

Bloodroot by Betsy Warland

Bloodroot: Tracing the Untelling of Motherloss is a book by Betsy Warland. (Inanna Publications)

Originally published 20 years ago, Bloodroot tracks how a fraught and disconnected mother-daughter relationship was given an odd opening after the author's mother awakens and tells her a bizarre story. She's had another daughter, a secret one. This conversation was the opening to a deeper and compassionate relationship between the mother and daughter. This new edition includes a foreword by Susan Olding and a new introduction by Warland that explores the questions and insights she's learned over the years.

When you can read it: Oct. 3, 2021

Warland is the author of 14 books of creative nonfiction, essays and poetry. Her work includes Lost Lagoon/lost in thought, Oscar of Between, Breathing the Page and What Holds Us Here. She was the former director and mentor of the Writer's Studio and Vancouver Manuscript Intensive. The VMI Betsy Warland Between Genres Award, an annual book award honouring Warland, is launching in 2021.

An Embarrassment of Critch's by Mark Critch

An Embarrassment of Critch's is a book by Mark Critch. (Viking, Aaron McKenzie Fraser)

An Embarrassment of Critch's is the second memoir by Canadian comedian Mark Critch. It follows Critch's journey from Newfoundland to the national stage and back again. Critch's earliest acting gigs was in a Newfoundland tourist production. Since then, he's found more opportunities to take his show on the road. He revisits some of his career's biggest moments in this memoir, revealing all the things that have happened along the way.

When you can read it: Oct. 5, 2021

Critch is a Canadian comedian. For 14 years, he has starred on CBC's flagship show, This Hour has 22 Minutes. He's the host of CBC's Halifax Comedy Festival and has written for and appeared in CBC's Just for Laughs series. He is also the author of the memoir Son of a Critch.

Off the Record by Peter Mansbridge

Off the Record is a book by Peter Mansbridge. (Simon & Schuster, CBC)

Peter Mansbridge is one of the most recognized faces and voices in Canadian news, and he's finally sharing his story in a new memoir. Off the Record chronicles his 50-year career, from hosting a local late night music program in Manitoba to becoming the chief correspondent and anchor of The National. He shares never-before-told stories from his career, including reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the horror of 9/11, walking the beaches of Normandy and talking with Canadian prime ministers.

When you can read it: Oct. 5, 2021

Mansbridge is the former chief correspondent for CBC News, anchor of The National, where he worked for 30 years and host of Mansbridge One on One. He is also the author of the Peter Mansbridge One on One: Favourite Conversations and the Stories Behind Them and co-author of Extraordinary Canadians: Stories from the Heart of Our Nation.

The Whisper on the Night Wind by Adam Shoalts

The Whisper on the Night Wind is a book by Adam Shoalts (Adam Shoalts, Allen Lane)

In the early 1900s, the isolated little settlement of Traverspine, a place you will not find on most maps, was the scene of an extraordinary haunting by large creatures none could identify. Strange tracks were found in the woods and cries were heard in the night. Sled dogs went missing and children reported being stalked by a terrifying grinning animal. As a result, families slept with their cabin doors barred and weapons by their bedsides. Explorer Adam Shoalts picks up the trail left by eye-witness accounts and sets off into the Labrador wild to investigate the tale. He chronicles what he finds in The Whisper on the Night Wind.

When you can read it: Oct. 5, 2021

Shoalts has been called one of Canada's greatest living explorers. In 2018, was named an explorer-in-residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He has written three other books, Alone Against the North, Beyond the Trees and A History of Canada in Ten Maps

The Light Streamed Beneath It by Shawn Hitchins

The Light Streamed Beneath It is a memoir by Shawn Hitchins. (Jen Squires Photography, ECW Press)

Comedian and writer Shawn Hitchins suffered the loss of two great loves, five months apart, to sudden death. His memoir The Light Streamed Beneath It explores his queer identity through the lens of love, death, pain and community. The Light Streamed Beneath It is a personal look at emotion and how the loss of loved ones affect the people left behind.

When you can read it: Oct. 12, 2021

Shawn Hitchins is a Toronto-based comedian, author, media personality and actor. The Light Streamed Beneath It is his latest memoir, following his 2017 nonfiction book A Brief History of Oversharing. His one-man show Ginger Nation toured extensively before being filmed in concert and aired on television.

Over the Boards by Hayley Wickenheiser

Over the Boards is a book by Hayley Wickenheiser. (Viking, Ceilidh Price)

Hayley Wickenheiser is one of the greatest hockey players of all time. She's played at 13 world championships, six Olympics and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. She holds multiple university degrees and is a medical doctor, all while raising a child. In the memoir Over the Boards, Wickenheiser shares her story and reflects on what the game gave her. 

When you can read it: Oct. 12, 2021

Wickenheiser has represented Canada at 13 world championships and made six Olympic appearances, bringing home four gold medals. She's been inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame, Hockey Hall of Fame and is the founder of Canadian Tire WickFest. She's currently the senior director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs and a medical doctor.

Persephone's Children by Rowan McCandless

Persephone's Children is a book by Rowan McCandless. (Dundurn Press)

Persephone's Children tells the story of Rowan McCandless escaping the stranglehold of a long-term abusive relationship and rediscovering her voice and identity. Through a series of thematically linked and inventive essays, including a contract, a crossword puzzle and a metafictional TV script, she explores the relationship between memory and trauma. 

When you can read it: Oct.12, 2021

McCandless is a writer from Winnipeg. She has won the Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize and has been longlisted for the Writers' Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. 

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: From This Broken Hill, Volume 2 by Michael Posner

Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: From This Broken Hill, Volume 2 is a book by Michael Posner. (Etye Sarner, Simon & Schuster)

This second of three volumes in the Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories series follows Leonard Cohen from the conclusion of his first international music tour in 1971 as he continued to compose poetry, record music and search for meaning into the late 1980s. From This Broken Hill looks at Cohen's romantic relationships, his career stumbles and the start of his 40 year immersion in Zen Buddhism, which inspired some of his most profound and enduring art.

When you can read it: Oct. 12, 2021

Michael Posner is a writer, playwright and journalist. He's the author or co-author of eight previous books, including Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years, Vol. 1, the Mordecai Richler biography The Last Honest Man and the Anne Murray autobiography All of Me

Any Kind of Luck at All by Mary Fairhurst Breen

Any Kind of Luck at All is a book by Mary Fairhurst Breen. (Second Story Press, Maggie Knaus)

In the memoir Any Kind of Luck at All, Mary Fairhurst Breen details scenes from a life darkened by four generations of mental illness and addiction. Her sense of humour and willingness to practice "radical acceptance" help her cope with the chaos and lead a life full of friends, art and the joys of being a grandmother. Ultimately, Breen faces the greatest challenge of all when her daughter becomes one of the countless people each year to die of opioid poisoning. 

When you can read it: Oct. 12, 2021

Breen is a writer and translator. She spent 30 years in the not-for-profit sector, managing small organizations with big social-change mandates. Any Kind of Luck at All is her first book.

Once a Bitcoin Miner by Ethan Lou

Once a Bitcoin Miner is a book by Ethan Lou. (ECW Press, Ke Yan)

Journalist Ethan Lou recounts his experiences with Bitcoin in Once a Bitcoin Miner. He started by investing in bitcoin in university, then wrote for Reuters, then tried his hand at mining the digital asset. He's met the likes of Gerald Cotten, CEO of QuadrigaCX, and a co-founder of Ethereum and hung out in North Korea with Virgil Griffith, the man arrested for teaching blockchain to the totalitarian state. This book is both a personal story of adventure and fortune, and a deep dive into all things bitcoin.

When you can read it: Oct. 19, 2021

Lou is a journalist and writer. He is also the author of Field Notes from a Pandemic: A Journey Through a World Suspended. He is a former Reuters and Toronto Star reporter and writes regularly in publications including the Washington Post, the Guardian and CBC. 

Shut Out by Bernie Saunders

Shut Out is a book by Bernie Saunders, pictured, written with Barry Meisel. (HarperCollins Canada/Lisa Young)

Bernie Saunders was one of the few Black hockey players in the NHL, and he shares his story for the first time in the memoir Shut Out. Saunders was talented at hockey, but because he was Black, he was obstructed at every turn and experienced taunting from opponents, spectators, coaches and even his own teammates. Despite this, he continued to play. He was signed by the Quebec Nordiques for two years, but spent most of his career playing collegiately at Western Michigan University and in minor leagues across North America. In the end, the racism became too much and he left hockey to work in the corporate sector. 

When you can read it: Oct. 19, 2021

Saunders is a retired professional hockey right winger who played two seasons in the National Hockey League for the Quebec Nordiques. 

The Wolfpack by Peter Edwards & Luis Nájera

The Wolfpack is a book by Peter Edwards and Luis Nájera. (Denise Grant, Random House Canada, Luis Horacio Nájera Durán)

In The Wolfpack, organized-crime author Peter Edwards and journalist Luis Nájera reveal would-be successors to Vito Rizzuto's crime dominance, a group of millennial bikers, gangsters and mafia whose bloody trail of murders and schemes gone wrong led to the drug cartels of Mexico arriving on Canada's doorstep. 

When you can read it: Oct. 26, 2021

Edwards is the author of 15 nonfiction books and one YA novel. He is the executive producer for the CityTV series Bad Blood, based on his book Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War

Luis Nájera is an acclaimed journalist and crime analyst from Mexico who has lived in exile in Canada since 2008.

Nothing Will Be Different by Tara McGowan-Ross

Nothing Will Be Different is a book by Tara McGowan-Ross. (Dundurn Press)

Tara McGowan-Ross has a nice job, a writing career and a forgiving boyfriend. She has it pretty good and she should be happy. Yet, she can't stay sober and she's terrible at monogamy. She's always feeling sick and tired. In the autumn after she turns 27, an abnormal lump discovered in her left breast becomes the catalyst for a journey of rigorous self-questioning. She shares this story in her memoir Nothing Will Be Different.

When you can read it: Oct. 26, 2021

McGowan-Ross is an urban Mi'kmaw artist and writer. She's the author of Girth and Scorpion Season and the host of Drawn & Quarterly's Indigenous Literatures Book Club. She's also a critic of experimental and independent Montreal theatre and an editor for Insomniac Press. 

Tongues, edited by Eufemia Fantetti, Ayelet Tsabari & Leonarda Carranza

Tongues is a book edited by Ayelet Tsabari. (Book*Hug Press)

In the essay collection Tongues, 26 writers examine their intimate relationship with language, which opens up a dialogue about this unique language diversity and questions the importance of language in our identity and the ways in which it shapes us.

When you can read it: Oct. 26, 2021

Eufemia Fantetti is an Italian-Canadian fiction writer, essayist and teacher based in Toronto. Her short story collection, A Recipe for Disaster and Other Unlikely Tales of Love, was the runner up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and winner of the F.G. Bressani Prize. 

Ayelet Tsabari is the author of The Art of Leaving, which won the Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Memoir and was a finalist for the Writer's Trust Hilary Weston Prize and the Vine Awards for Nonfiction. 

Leonarda Carranza olds a PhD in social justice education from the University of Toronto. Her children's book, Abuelita and Me, will be published in 2022. She is the winner of Briarpatch Magazine's Writing in the Margins contest and won Room's 2018 short forms contest.

My Best Mistake by Terry O'Reilly

My Best Mistake is a book by Terry O'Reilly. (HarperCollins Canada)

In My Best Mistake, Terry O'Reilly recounts how some of the biggest breakthroughs and best-loved products began with a mistake. Some mistakes lead to dramatic life changes and new opportunities and others seem minor, almost insignificant, until they lead to a famous brand, band or work of art. And occasionally, a mistake saves lives. This book will change how you think about screwing up and will encourage you to accept mistakes. 

When you can read it: Oct. 26, 2021

O'Reilly is an advertising expert, broadcaster and the author of two other books,The Age of Persuasion and This I Know. His radio shows have been broadcast on CBC Radio since 2005. He currently hosts Under the Influence. He lives near Huntsville, Ont.

No One Wins Alone by Mark Messier

No One Wins Alone is a book by Mark Messier. (John Ulan/Canadian Press, Simon & Schuster)

Mark Messier, one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of professional sports, tells his inspiring story in the memoir No One Wins Alone. He shares the lessons about leadership and teamwork that defined his career. He recounts his early years with his tight-knit family, learning from his father Doug, who was a hockey player, coach and teacher. He describes what it was like to enter the NHL as an 18-year-old and growing close with teammates during their high-flying years with the Edmonton Oilers. He shares the highs, lows and hard work that brought the New York Rangers to the ultimate moment, lifting the Stanley Cup.

When you can read it: Oct. 26, 2021

Messier is a former professional hockey player from Alberta. He played in the NHL for 25 years and won six Stanley Cups, five with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the New York Rangers. He's the only player to have captained two NHL franchises to championships. In 2007 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That same year, the NHL introduced the Mark Messier Leadership Award, given annually to the player who's a great leader to his team, on and off the ice. 

Me Tomorrow edited by Drew Hayden Taylor

Me Tomorrow is a book by Drew Hayden Taylor. (Douglas & McIntyre)

Me Tomorrow features essays by First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists, activists, educators and writers who discuss everything from language renewal to sci-fi. This collection is a powerful and important expression of imagination rooted in social critique, cultural experience, traditional knowledge, activism and the experiences of Indigenous people on Turtle Island. The book features Darrel J. McLeod, a Cree author from Treaty-8 territory in Northern Alberta, Autumn Peltier, an Anishinaabe water-rights activist and Lee Maracle, acclaimed Stó:lō Nation author and educator. 

When you can read it: Oct. 30, 2021

Drew Hayden Taylor is a playwright, novelist, script-writer and journalist from the Curve Lake First Nation in Central Ontario. He has authored nearly 30 books. He has also edited the anthologies Me Funny, Me Sexy and Me Artsy

Standoff by Bruce McIvor

Bruce McIvor is the author of Standoff. (Harbour Publishing, Kathryn Langsford)

In the essay collection Standoff, lawyer and historian Bruce McIvor explains why reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is failing and what needs to be done to fix it. McIvor reports from the front lines of legal and political disputes that have affected the country, from Wet'suwet'en opposition to a pipeline in northern B.C., to Mi'kmaq exercising their fishing rights in N.S.. 

When you can read it: Oct. 31, 2021

McIvor is one of Canada's leading lawyers in Indigenous law. He represents First Nations across Canada and teaches at the University of British Columbia's Allard School of Law. He is a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation.

My Privilege, My Responsibility by Sheila North

My Privilege, My Responsibility is a book by Sheila North. (Great Plains Publications)

In September 2015, Sheila North was the first woman to be declared the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. North is the creator of the widely used hashtag #MMIW for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and her work in advocacy journalism, communications, and economic development has harnessed her passion for drawing focus to systemic racism faced by Indigenous women and girls. My Privilege, My Responsibility tells of the events that shaped North and the violence that nearly stood in the way of her achieving her dreams.

When you can read it: Nov. 1, 2021

North is a member of the Bunibonibee Cree Nation, the director of strategic partnerships at Legacy Bowes, a former CBC and CTV journalist, and winner of a Radio Television Digital News Association Award. She was featured in Chatelaine magazine as one of the top 30 women of 2015.

This is My Real Name by Cid V Brunet

This is My Real Name is a book by Cid V Brunet. (Arsenal Pulp Press)

In the memoir, This is My Real Name, Cid V Brunet chronicles the 10 years they spent working as a dancer at strip clubs, using the name Michelle. From her very first lap dance in a small town bar to her work at high end clubs, she learns she must follow the unspoken rules that will allow her to succeed in the competitive industry. Michelle and her friends rely on each other's camaraderie and strength in an industry that is both toxic and deeply rewarding. 

When you can read it: Nov. 2, 2021

Brunet is a writer living in Montreal. This Is My Real Name is their first book.

The Call of the Red-Winged Blackbird by Tim Bowling

The Call of the Red-Winged Blackbird is a book by Tim Bowling. (Wolsak & Wynn, Brick Books)

In the essay collection The Call of the Red-Winged Blackbird, Tim Bowling examines closely the common questions and beauties of life. From questions of love and money, to the search for solitude in a busy world, to poetry and the place of art today, he writes thoughtfully on what it means to be alive now. 

When you can read it: Nov. 2, 2021

Bowling is the author of 21 works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction including The Dark Set, The Heavy Bear and The Lost Coast. He's won numerous awards, including two Edmonton Artist Trust Awards, five Alberta Book Awards, two Writers' Trust Prizes and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Talking to Canadians by Rick Mercer

Talking to Canadians is a book by Rick Mercer. (John Sturge, Doubleday Canada)

For the first time, Rick Mercer, the most private of public figures, has turned the spotlight on himself. When the beloved comedian retired from his hugely successful TV show after 15 seasons, at the peak of its popularity, everyone wondered what he was going to do next. The answer came not long after, when he became a stand-up comedian, playing to sold-out houses wherever he appeared. 

When you can read it: Nov. 2, 2021

Rick Mercer rose to fame with his one-man show that toured across Canada, Show Me the Button I'll Push It, or Charles Lynch Must Die. He co-created and was a resident performer on CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes and was co-host of The Rick Mercer Report for fifteen seasons. His book Final Report,was longlisted for the 2019 Leacock Medal for Humour. Mercer currently lives in Toronto.


Rez Rules by Clarence Louie

Rez Rules is a book by Clarence Louie. (Clarence Louie, McClelland & Stewart)

 Clarence Louie was elected Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band in 1984 at 24-years-old. Nineteen elections later, he has led his community for nearly four decades and transformed his community into an economic powerhouse, which he believes is the key to self-sufficiency, reconciliation and justice for First Nations people. Louie shares his remarkable journey and his lessons on leadership in the memoir Rez Rules.

When you can read it: Nov. 9, 2021

Louie has been chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band in the south Okanagan Valley of B.C., for almost four decades. He is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia. In 2019, he was the first First Nations person to be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

All We Want by Michael Harris

All We Want is a book by Michael Harris. (Hudson Hayden, Doubleday Canada)

From the early ad men who learned to stir up desire to the politicians who promised endless material growth, we have been trained to endlessly consume. Michael Harris explores alternatives to the consumer story in the book All We Want. Through interviews with philosophers, scientists, artisans and economists, Harris pulls apart the narrative of consumerism and hands us new ways to measure our lives.

When you can read it: Dec. 28, 2021

Harris is the author of two books, The End of Absence and Solitude. The End of Absence won the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, Time, The Walrus, Wired and Salon. He lives in Vancouver.


  • This list has been updated with the author image and bio for Luis Nájera.
    Aug 24, 2021 4:12 PM ET

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