86 works of Canadian fiction to read in the first half of 2023

Check out the great Canadian novels and short story collections coming out from January to July!

Check out the great Canadian novels and short story collections coming out from January to July!

Bad Cree by Jessica Johns

Composite image of a red book cover and a woman with dark hair and glasses.
Bad Cree is a novel by Jessica Johns. (HarperCollins Canada)

Bad Cree is a horror-infused novel that centres around a young woman named Mackenzie who is haunted by terrifying nightmares and wracked with guilt about her sister Sabrina's untimely death. The lines between her dreams and reality start to blur when she begins seeing a murder of crows following her around the city — and starts getting threatening text messages from someone claiming to be her dead sister. Looking to escape, Mackenzie heads back to her hometown in rural Alberta where she finds her family still entrenched in their grief. With her dreams intensifying and getting more dangerous, Mackenzie must confront a violent family legacy and reconcile with the land and her community.

Bad Cree is available now.

Jessica Johns is a Vancouver-based writer, visual artist and member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 Territory in northern Alberta. Johns won the 2020 Writers' Trust Journey Prize for the short story Bad Cree, which evolved into the novel of the same name.

Really Good Actually by Monica Heisey

A composite photo of a cook cover featuring an illustration of a woman with lots of red hair crying and a photo of the author, a young woman with a lot of red hair and bangs.
Really Good, Actually is a novel by Monica Heisey. (Yuli Scheidt, HarperCollins)

Really Good, Actually follows Maggie, a 20-something woman trying to navigate heartbreak, divorce and online dating at a young age. Inspired by her personal experiences, Heisey explores the art of moving on, proving the process is a lot messier, nonlinear and interdependent than many of us would like to admit. 

Really Good, Actually is available now.

Monica Heisey is a comedian who has written for print and television, including shows like CBC's Schitt's Creek and Baroness von Sketch Show.

Hold My Girl by Charlene Carr

An author book composite image of Charlene Carr's novel Hold My Girl.
Hold My Girl is a novel by Charlene Carr. (HarperCollins Publishers)

Hold My Girl is a dual narrative novel about two women, Katherine and Tess, whose eggs are switched during IVF. Hold My Girl, which explores the complexities of love, motherhood and racial identity, was optioned in 2023 by production company Blink Studios for a series adaptation. 

Hold My Girl is available now.

Charlene Carr is a Toronto-raised writer and author based in Nova Scotia whose work explores truth in fiction. She is the author of several independently published novels and novellas. Hold My Girl is her first novel with a major publisher.

What Remains of Elsie Jane by Chelsea Wakelyn

An illustrated book cover featuring a space-like blue and spiral galaxy spiral. A black & white photo of a woman with curly shoulder-length hair.
What Remains of Elsie Jane is a book by Chelsea Wakelyn. (Dundurn Press)

What Remains of Elsie Jane is a story about the power of grief and the depths to which love and loss can mystify and embolden us. In the wake of her partner's death, Elsie Jane must navigate the fog of grief, single parenting and work. Coping sometimes looks like speaking to her partner's ghost, reading old love letters, becoming deeply invested in a local murder mystery, bad dates and seeking out the expertise of someone who can collapse space and time so she can contact to loved one again. Through it all, author Chelsea Wakelyn's book is both heartbreaking and humorous. 

What Remains of Elsie Jane is available now.

Wakelyn is a writer and musician. She lives on Vancouver Island.

Strange Loops by Liz Harmer

A book cover with a blue and white painting of a woman's back as she lies on her side and the book's author, a woman with long blonde hair wearing a light blue top.
Strange Loops is a book by Liz Harmer. (Knopf Canada, Scott Nichols)

Strange Loops tells the story of two twins, Francine and Philip, who, at one time, were inseparable but have since grown apart. The disconnect began in adolescence when Philip discovered Francine in a forbidden relationship. Since then, Francine believes Philip's religious views and insistence on her moral inferiority have only amplified their distance. 

Now in her 30s, Francine once again finds herself attracted to a man she knows her brother would disapprove of. The problem is, as the tension between the twins escalates, so too does Francine's fears that Philip will discover her relationship and sever ties for good. 

Strange Loops is available now.

Liz Harmer's debut novel, The Amateurs, was a finalist for the 2019 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. She has been a fellow at both the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers' Conferences. Raised in Hamilton, she now lives in Southern California.

Falling Hour by Geoffrey D. Morrison

A sparse yellow and green book cover with black text and a photo of the book's author, a man with longer brown hair and wire-rim glasses.
Falling Hour is a book by Geoffrey D. Morrison. (Coach House Books)

Falling Hour follows Hugh Dalgarno around a public park as he tries to determine the contents of his mind. An early 30's clerical worker, Dalgarno spends all day and night with his thoughts, walking through the park ruminating on such topics as the theory of quantum morality, nosiness, the CIA and the beauty of nature. 

Falling Hour is available now.

Geoffrey D. Morrison is the author of the poetry chapbook Blood-Brain Barrier and co-author of the short fiction collection Archaic Torso of Gumby. He was a finalist in both the poetry and fiction categories of the 2020 Malahat Review Open Season Awards and a nominee for the 2020 Journey Prize. He lives in Vancouver.

VenCo by Cherie Dimaline 

The black book cover features a gothic illustration of purple iron gates opening with green ivy plants surrounding the gates, two gold birds above and in the opening of the gates, three symbols: two crescent moons and a gold spoon with a circle of gold light beams around it.
VenCo is a novel by Cherie Dimaline. (Random House Canada, Wenzdae Brewster)

VenCo is a subversive and imaginative adult novel about a coven of modern-day witches. The book's protagonist, Lucky St. James, finds herself down on her luck when she and her grandmother Stella are set to be evicted from their apartment. One night, doing laundry in the building's basement, Lucky finds a tarnished silver spoon that features an illustration of a witch over letters that spell out S-A-L-E-M. 

This alerts Lucky to Meena, someone who is part of VenCo, an international headhunting firm that seeks out exceptional women. An adventure unfolds involving secret witches, witch hunters, magic spoons and an epic road trip from Toronto to Salem, through Appalachia and into New Orleans.

VenCo is available now.

Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor. Her other books include Red Rooms, The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy, A Gentle Habit and Empire of Wild. The Marrow Thieves was named one of Time magazine's top 100 YA books of all time

The Marrow Thieves was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018. The Marrow Thieves also won the Governor General's Literary Award for Young people's literature — text and the Kirkus Prize for young readers' literature.

Sing, Nightingale by Marie Hélène Poitras, translated by Rhonda Mullins

A book featuring a colorful; illustration of a deer and the book's author, a woman with straight brown hair standing outside in the snow.
Sing Nightingale is a book by Marie Hélène Poitras, pictured, and translated by Rhonda Mullins. (Coach House Books, Charles-Olivier Michaud)

Sing, Nightingale centres on a once-beautiful estate, now descending into ruin. The inheritor of the residence is a greedy and neglectful father who has made a habit out of deserting his daughters and dismissing his mistresses. Seeking to exploit the estate for all its resources, the man invites a woman, Aliénor, to increase harvest from the land. On the surface, Aliénor may seem like the right person for the job but it turns out, she has other plans. 

When you can read it: Feb. 14, 2023

Montréal-based Marie Hélène Poitras is an author whose books include Soudain le Minotaure, which won the Prix Anne-Hébert, and her short story collection La mort de Mignonne et autres histoires, which was a finalist for the Prix des libraires du Québec. 

Rhonda Mullins is a writer and translator living in Montreal. She won the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translation for Jocelyne Saucier's Twenty-One Cardinals. And the Birds Rained Down — her translation of Saucier's Il pleuvait des oiseaux — was defended on Canada Reads 2015 by Martha Wainwright and was shortlisted for a Governor General's Literary Award, as were Mullins's translations of Louis Carmain's Guano, Élise Turcotte's Guyana, Hervé Fischer's The Decline of the Hollywood Empire and Julie Demers's Little Beast

Goddess by Deborah Hemming

A green book cover featuring a Greek statue head with hair made of flowers and the book's author, a woman with light brown hair wearing a white T-shirt.
Goddess is a book by Deborah Hemming. (House of Anansi Press)

In Goddessa chance encounter brings book author Agnes Oliver into wellness guru Geia Stone's orbit. Soon, Agnes is invited to one of Geia's exclusive wellness retreats on a Greek Island. There, Agnes slowly realizes all is not as it seems. The other guests seem entranced by Geia. When Agnes figures out who Geia really is, she sets off on a mission to protect the other women from an unwanted fate. 

When you can read it: Feb. 14, 2023

Deborah Hemming is the author of Throw Down Your Shadows, which was a finalist for a 2021 ReLit Award. She lives in Wolfville, N.S.

Murder at Haven's Rock by Kelley Armstrong

A book cover featuring a woman standing on a rocky coast at sunset and the book's author, a woman with shoulder-length light brown hair.
Murder at Haven's Rock is a book by Kelley Armstrong. (MacMillan, Kathryn Hollinrake)

In Murder at Haven's Rock, detective Casey Duncan and her husband, Sheriff Eric Dalton, are financing the creation of a town in the Yukon where they get to decide who enters. It's meant to be a haven for its residents, but everything changes when two construction workers break the only rule in Haven's Rock: don't go into the forest. When Casey and Eric go searching for them and find one of their bodies, they know they only have so much time before everyone's safety is under threat. 

When you can read it: Feb. 21, 2023

Kelley Armstrong is the author of over 40 YA and middle grade books, horror novels and thrillers. Her standalone novels include Aftermath and Missing, but she is best known for her Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series as well as her Cainsville and Otherworld series.

Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality by Lindsay Wong

A black and pink artful book cover. The book's author, a woman with a serious expression and long black hair.
Tell Me Pleasant Things About Immortality is a book by Lindsay Wong. (Penguin Canada, Shimon)

Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality is a collection of "immigrant horror stories." From Shanghai to Vancouver, the women in Tell Me Pleasant Things about Immortality haunt and are haunted — by first loves, troublesome family members and traumatic memories.

When you can read it: Feb. 21, 2023

Lindsay Wong is a Vancouver-based author. She holds a BFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and an MFA in literary nonfiction from Columbia University. Wong's memoir The Woo-Woo  was a finalist for the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction and was defended by Joe Zee on Canada Reads 2019. CBC Books named Wong a writer to watch in 2019 and My Summer of Love and Misfortune, her first YA novel, was published in 2020.

In the Belly of the Congo by Blaise Ndala

In the Belly of the Congo is a novel by Blaise Ndala.
In the Belly of the Congo is a novel by Blaise Ndala. (Simon & Schuster Canada)

In the Belly of the Congo is a novel about Nyota Kwete, a young woman set to attend university in Brussels when her father asks her to uncover the mystery behind her grandmother's disappearance. Kwete's grandmother is Princess Tshala Nyota, the daughter of King Kena Kwete III of the Kuba people in Congo. She disappeared decades ago after being forced to perform at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels as a display of the Belgium royal palace's power. In the Belly of the Congo tells the Congolese princess's story leading up to her disappearance, including her young life in the Congo, her love affair with a Belgian administrator and her adventures in Europe. Decades later, her granddaughter traverses the same streets she did, crossing paths with a Belgian scholar who helps her uncover her family's secret history. 

When you can read it: Feb. 21, 2023

Blaise Ndala is the Ottawa-based Congolese Canadian author of the novels J'irai danser sur la tombe de Senghor, which won the Ottawa Book Prize in the French Fiction category and Sans capote ni kalachnikov, winner of the 2019 edition of the Combat national des livres.

Hollow Bamboo by William Ping

A yellow book cover featuring an illustrated green cloud and a photo of the book's author, a man in a black turtleneck and brown coat wearing sunglasses.
Hollow Bamboo is a book by William Ping. (HarperCollins, Violet Ryan-Ping)

Based on a true story, with elements of magical realism and satire, Hollow Bamboo explores the history of Chinese emigration to Newfoundland through a familial lens. When millennial William Ping finds himself in an uncomfortable conversation about his Chinese heritage with his girlfriend's parents, he excuses himself to go to the bathroom. There, William is visited by a stubborn and sarcastic spirit named Mo. The spirit soon takes him to the past where he learns about his grandfather, the first William Ping, who moved to Newfoundland from China in 1931. 

When you can read it: Feb. 21, 2023

William Ping is a Chinese Canadian writer from Newfoundland. His debut novel Hollow Bamboo was written as a creative thesis for his MA at Memorial University. He is a producer with CBC Newfoundland.

The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang

A composite image of a portrait of a Chinese woman with black hair, a black jacket and a tan scarf smiling at the camera and a book cover featuring a young Chinese woman in a red dress looking at the Eiffel Tower at dusk as the full moon hangs overhead.
The Porcelain Moon is a historical fiction by Janie Chang. (, HarperCollins Canada)

The Porcelain Moon is a story about forbidden love, belonging and freedom. Set in France in the final days of the First World War, the book follows Pauline Deng, a young Chinese woman who runs away from her uncle's home in Paris to avoid an arranged marriage in Shanghai. 

Pauline is offered refuge by Camille Roussel, a woman trying to escape from her abusive husband, and the two become fast friends. When Pauline discovers a secret Camille has been hiding, their situation becomes dangerous and the two women must make a choice that binds them together forever.

When you can read it: Feb. 21, 2023

Janie Chang is a B.C.-based historical fiction writer who draws inspiration from her family history, ancestral tales and the stories she was told as a child about life in a Chinese small town pre-First World War. Her novels Three Souls, Dragon Springs Road and The Library of Legends paint a picture of what life was like in China in the early 20th century.

Some Unfinished Business by Antanas Sileika

A book cover that features a painting of a forest floor. The book's author, a man with short white hair and glasses.
Some Unfinished Business is a book by Antanas Sileika. (Cormorant Books, Liudas Masys)

Some Unfinished Business tells the story of Martin Averka as he endures Soviet occupation and imprisonment in the Gulags, determined to see his wife again. Later, having survived the horrors of the labour camps, Martin is fueled by another emotion: retribution for the man that betrayed him and his friends decades earlier. 

When you can read it: Feb. 25, 2023

Antanas Sileika has written six other books, including Provisionally Yours and the memoir The Barefoot Bingo CallerHe regularly appears as a columnist on The Next Chapter. He's the former director of the Humber School for Writers.

The Story of Us by Catherine Hernandez

A composite photo of pale blue book cover with orange and purple graphic treatment and the book's author, smiling with a short black bob hairstyle.
The Story of Us is a novel by Catherine Hernandez. (, HarperCollins Canada)

The Story of Us is the story of Mary Grace Concepcion, a Filipino worker who has left her family behind to build a new life in Canada. She secures employment as a personal support worker in Toronto, caring for Liz, an elderly woman living in a bungalow in Scarborough who is living with dementia. An unlikely relationship blossoms between the two, as Mary Grace works to bring her husband to Canada and learns more about Liz's surprising past. The Story of Us is narrated by Mary Grace's infant daughter, adding a unique twist to this heartfelt story.

When you can read it: Feb. 28, 2023

Catherine Hernandez is a Canadian writer, author and playwright. She is the author of several books, including the novels Scarborough and Crosshairs and the children's books I Promise, M is for Mustache and Where Do Your Feelings Live?. She is also the creator and star of the Audible Original sketch comedy podcast Imminent Disaster.

Scarborough was championed by actor Malia Baker on Canada Reads 2022. It was also adapted into a feature film that premiered at TIFF in 2021. CBC Books named her a writer to watch in 2017.

Far Cry by Alissa York

A book cover featuring a photo of  rocky ocean coast and the book's author, a woman with a short brown bob and glasses.
Far Cry is a book by Alissa York. (Random House Canada, Derek O'Donnell )

Far Cry takes place in 1922 on the northwest coast of British Columbia. Anders Viken tells Kit, the 18-year-old orphan he took in, the story of his life. From his life growing up in Norway to his family's ideas of love, Viken divulges his secrets while Kit navigates life on the coast and her own ideas about what it means to love someone. 

When you can read it: Feb. 28, 2023

Alissa York is a Toronto-based writer whose novels include Effigy, a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2007, Mercy, Fauna and The Naturalist. York was the 2018 recipient of the Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award, which recognizes a mid-career writer for both their work up to this point and the expectation of future work.

On the Ravine by Vincent Lam

A blue book cover featuring an abstract green swirl. The book's author, a man with short black hair and glasses crossing his arms over his chest.
On the Ravine is a book by Vincent Lam. (Knopf, Cynthia Summers)

Vincent Lam's newest novel is a follow-up of sorts to his 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning story collection Bloodletting & Miraculous CuresIn Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, readers met four medical students and were immersed in the challenges and transformations that unfolded as these students became young doctors. On the Ravine revisits two of the characters from the earlier book — Chen and Fitzgerald — several years later in their career. On the Ravine reveals that Chen and Fitzgerald have remained close friends and have devoted themselves to the treatment of opioid addiction, each in a very different way. But when Claire, a talented violinist, comes under Chen's care, his desire to help her is intertwined with his own past — and the demands of her medical care challenge Chen and Fitzgerald's delicately balanced friendship.

When you can read it: Feb. 28, 2023

Vincent Lam is a Toronto-based short story writer, novelist and medical doctor. His books include the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning story collection Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures and The Headmaster's Wager, a 2012 novel that was shortlisted for the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize.

A Death at the Party by Amy Stuart

A Death at the Party is a novel by Amy Stuart.
A Death at the Party is a novel by Amy Stuart. (Paige Lindsay, Simon & Schuster)

A Death at the Party is a thriller set over the course of a single day. The book centres around Nadine Walsh, a loving mother, devoted wife and dutiful daughter. While preparing to host a birthday party for her mother, Nadine is overwhelmed with thoughts of the past. The party was supposed to be a chance for her friends and family to celebrate, have fun and forget — but Nadine is caught up with haunting memories and secrets that might come to a head when her guests arrive.

When you can read it: March 7, 2023

Amy Stuart is a bestselling novelist and short story writer, currently living in Toronto. She is the author of the Still Mine thriller series, which features the novels Still Mine, Still Water and the latest entry, Still Here.

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

A black, white and orange book cover with stylized text and the book's author, a blond woman wearing a navy coat looking off into the distance.
Birnam Wood is a book by Eleanor Catton. (McClelland & Stewart)

Birnam Wood is a thriller set in the middle of a landslide in New Zealand. Looking to make opportunity out of a disaster, Mira, the founder of a guerilla gardening collective that plants crops amid other criminal environmental activities, sets her sights on an evacuated farm as a way out of financial ruin. The only problem is the American billionaire Robert Lemoine has already laid claim to it as his end-of-the-world lair. After the same thing for polar opposite reasons, their paths cross and Robert makes Mira an offer that would stave off her financial concerns for good. The question is: can she trust him? 

When you can read it: March 7, 2023

Eleanor Catton is a London, Ont.-born New Zealand author. She won the 2013 Booker Prize for fiction and the 2013 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for her second novel, The Luminaries.

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

A purple book cover featuring a close-up illustration of a white cat's face and a photo of the book's author, a woman with curly white hair sitting in front of a pink wall.
Old Babes in the Woods is a book by Margaret Atwood. (McClelland & Stewart, Luis Mora)

Margaret Atwood's latest is a collection of 15 stories that use story — and Atwood's signature intellect and wit — to speak to our modern times. At the centre of the collection are seven stories about a couple through the decades, mapping how their life evolves through the mundane and the extraordinary. 

When you can read it: March 7, 2023

Margaret Atwood is a celebrated Canadian writer who has published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and comics. Her acclaimed books include The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, Oryx and Crake and The Edible Woman. She has won several awards for her work including the Governor General's Literary Award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Booker Prize. She is also a founder of the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Writers' Trust of Canada.

Mercy Gene by JD Derbyshire

A book cover featuring a blue and green wood-like DNA spiral. a photo of a smiling nonbinary person with short hair and an earring.
Mercy Gene is a book by JD Derbyshire. (Goose Lane Editions)

Mercy Gene is a debut work of auto-fiction that explores queerness, addiction, gender identity, psychiatric treatment and the flawed nature of memory. Through long tangents and a mix of genres, JD Derbyshire shares reflections on life, fictional conversations with famous people like Miriam Toews and inner thoughts that, together, form a dynamic picture of harm and healing. 

When you can read it: March 14, 2023

JD Derbyshire is a Vancouver-based comedian, theatre maker, writer and activist whose work examines mental health, queerness and gender exploration. Derbyshire's play Certified has won two Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. Mercy Gene is their first book.

The Book of Rain by Thomas Wharton

A composite photo of a book cover featuring rain drops on an illustration of a green bird and the book's author, a man with short gray hair and glasses wearing a turtleneck.
The Book of Rain is a novel by Thomas Wharton. (Random House Canada, Mary Sperle)

The Book of Rain is a science fiction novel set in a world where ghost ore, a new minable energy source much more lucrative than gold can disrupt time and space and slowly make an environment inhospitable. In one of three ghost ore hotspots in the world, the mining town of River Meadows, residents have been evacuated, except Amery Hewitt can't seem to stay away.

The former resident frequently returns to River Meadows to save the animals still living in the contaminated zone. When Amery goes on another dangerous trip and doesn't return, her game designer brother, Alex, enlists the help of his mathematician friend to help get her back. All they need to do is break the laws of physics. Amery's story is one plot line of three in this mind-bending epic by Wharton. 

When you can read it: March 14, 2023

Alberta-based author Thomas Wharton has written several books, including his first novel, Icefields, which won the 1996 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in Canada and the Caribbean. Icefields was a finalist for Canada Reads 2008, when it was defended by Steve MacLean. His novel Salamander, was shortlisted for the 2001 Governor General's Award for fiction and was also a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize the same year. 

Chrysalis by Anuja Varghese

A book cover featuring an illustration of a moth on some leaves and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long black hair wearing a purple shirt.
Chrysalis is a book by Anuja Varghese. (House of Anansi Press,

Chrysalis is a short story collection examines the ways in which racialized women are undermined and exploited and the ways in which they reclaim their power. Blending realism with elements of fantasy, Varghese tells stories of a woman dying in her sleep repeatedly until she finds an unexpected refuge or a couple in a broken marriage encountering spiritual direction. Each story looks at family, sexuality, cultural norms and the ties that bind. 

When you can read it: March 14, 2023

Varghese is a Hamilton, Ont.-based writer and editor. Her stories have been recognized in the Prism International Short Fiction Contest and the Alice Munro Festival Short Story Competition and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Chrysalis is her first book.

Everything is Ori by Paul Serge Forest, translated by David Warriner

A book cover featuring a blue and white illustrated sea and a photo of the book's author, a man wearing black with short brown hair.
Everything is Ori a book by Paul Serge Forest, pictured, and translated by David Warriner. (QC Fiction, Melany Bernier)

Everything is Ori centres around the Lelarge family and their seafood business on the north shore of Quebec. When a mysterious visitor shows up in their town, their whole life changes. In fact, everyone's lives are set to change because the man reveals a secret invention: Ori. It's going to change humanity forever. 

When you can read it: March 15, 2023

Paul Serge Forest is a Montreal-based doctor and writer. Everything is Ori is his first novel. The French version of the novel won the Prix Robert-Cliche in 2021. 

David Warriner translates from French to English. He has lived in France and Quebec and is now based in British Columbia.

The Fake by Zoe Whittall

A green book cover featuring a series of illustrated portraits of the same woman and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long blond hair wearing a purple patterned dress.
The Fake is a book by Zoe Whittall. (HarperCollins)

The Fake is about Shelby, who signs up for a grief support group after her wife dies and grieving with her family becomes unbearable. There, she meets Cammie, a dynamic person who just so happens to have cancer. Shelby throws herself into supporting Cammie but the closer she grows to her, the more she begins to question the person she is supporting. When Shelby meets Gibson, a newly divorced man who is intimately involved with Cammie, the two of them soon realize Cammie may not be everything she says she is.

When you can read it: March 21, 2023

Zoe Whittall is a Canadian novelist and screenwriter. Her books include Bottle Rocket Hearts, Holding Still for as Long as Possible, a Lambda Literary Award winner, and The Best Kind of People, which was a finalist for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She's also a writer for the hit CBC comedy series Baroness Von Sketch Show and was a story editor on the sitcom Schitt's Creek. The Best Kind of People is being adapted for film by Sarah Polley. Whittall lives in Toronto.

Burr by Brooke Lockyer

A black book cover with pink text and illustrated green burrs. A photo of a blond woman with bangs standing in a prairie field.
Burr is a book by Brooke Lockyer. (Nightwood Editions)

Burr is a gothic fiction, using magical realism and ghosts to explore death, grief and the relationships we form to come to terms with them.  Jane, a 13-year-old girl, entertains the idea of digging a tunnel to her dead father's coffin. This level of angst leads her to Ernest, a man still grieving from the drowning of his younger sister years before. The two strike up a bond while Jane's mother remains absent and eventually, get the town talking when they both disappear from Burr. 

When you can read it: April 1, 2023

Brooke Lockyer is a Toronto-based writer. She won he 2009 Hart House Literary Contest and is a co-recipient of both the Peter S. Prescott and the Lenore Marshall Barnard prizes for prose. Her work has been published in Toronto Life, carte blanche, the Hart House Review, White Wall Review and Geist.

I (Athena) by Ruth DyckFehderau

A photo of a Greek statue with an ominous rainbow filter over it. A black and white photo of the book's author, a blonde woman with long hair holding her phone.
I (Athena) is a book by Ruth DyckFehderau. (NeWest Press)

Ruth DyckFehderau's debut novel I (Athena) is about a young girl named Athena who suffered hearing damage in the 1960's, but was wrongfully misdiagnosed and subsequently institutionalized. Now that she is out of the institution, she must learn how to live independently in society. 

When you can read it: April 1, 2023

DyckFehderau is an Edmonton-based author. She has written the nonfiction book The Sweet Bloods of Eeyou Istchee in collaboration with James Cree storytellers.

Blinded by the Brass Ring by Patricia Scarlett

An orange book cover with an illustration of a woman wearing a wide-brimmed hat and hoop earrings and the book's author, a woman with a headscarf and a patterned blazer.
Blinded by the Brass Ring is a book by Patricia Scarlett. (Baraka Books)

Patricia Scarlett's debut novel pulls from her knowledge of the television industry and her experience as an executive to tell the fictional story of two hotshot business women vying for the same promotion. 

Jewelle Joseph is driven by success, ambition and the chance to beat out her rival and fellow sales executive, Chantal Mercier. The competition is high and all the more complicated for Jewelle as she also has to deal with her overbearing mother, philandering fathering, doubts about her current boyfriend and the insistent pursuit of another man, Johann Eriksson. Her friends are there to support her and she just might need all the help she can get to make it to the top. 

When you can read it: April 1, 2023

Scarlett is an entrepreneur, media consultant and former sales executive. In 2020, she was awarded the Afroglobal Television Media Award for her achievements. Blinded by the Brass Ring is her first novel.

The Winter Knight by Jes Battis

A white book cover with blue architectural text on it. The book's author, a close-up photo of a man with glasses, short hair and a beard.
The Winter Knight is a book by Jes Battis. (ECW Press)

In The Winter Knight, Jes Battis reimagines the King Arthur legends as a modern, queer detective. These days, the knights of the round table live in Vancouver. When one of them turns up dead, Hildie, the lead investigator, is determined to find the murderer. On her list of suspects are Wayne, an autistic reincarnation of a medieval figure trying to keep up with modern times, and Burt, Wayne's love interest. To solve the case, Hildie will have to come up against some powerful adversaries, including knights, runesmiths and a beast hunting people's dreams. 

When you can read it: April 4, 2023

Battis is a queer autistic writer and teacher and the author of the Occult Special Investigator series and Parallel Parks series. Their first novel, Night Child, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award. 

The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters

A blue book cover featuring a leaf motif and a photo of the book's author, a woman with curly blond hair standing next to a tree.
The Berry Pickers is a book by Amanda Peters. (HarperCollins)

The Berry Pickers centres around a fictional, decades-old cold case of a missing four-year-old girl of a Mi'kmaq family from Nova Scotia. When four-year-old Ruthie goes missing from a blueberry field in Maine in 1962, her brother Joe — the last person to see her before she went missing — is forever changed by her disappearance. In Maine, a girl named Norma senses there is something her family isn't telling her. That feeling stays with her and eventually sets her off on a years-long journey to uncover the truth. 

When you can read it: April 4, 2023

Amanda Peters is a writer of Mi'kmaq and settler ancestry living in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. Her work has appeared in the Antigonish Review, Grain Magazine, the Alaska Quarterly Review, the Dalhousie Review and Filling Station Magazine. She is the winner of the 2021 Indigenous Voices Award for Unpublished Prose and a participant in the 2021 Writers' Trust Rising Stars program. 

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling

A book cover with a photo of a trailer under a vast green sky and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long black hair.
Camp Zero is a book by Michelle Min Sterling. (Knopf Canada)

Camp Zero is a futuristic, dystopian thriller set in 2049 that imagines a social order characterized by climate change and digital technology. The protagonist, Rose, is a lower-class hostess working in an elite bar in one of the Floating Cities located away from the dangers of climate breakdown. When a client invites Rose to work as an escort in a place called Camp Zero, she says yes, hoping the job will enable her to take care of her mother. It turns out, her escort job is a cover: she has been tasked with monitoring the architect in charge of designing Camp Zero. Everything changes when Rose settles in to Camp Zero and meets a diverse group of characters, including an all-female military unit, she decides to take her fate into her own hands. 

When you can read it: April 4, 2023

Michelle Min Sterling was born on Vancouver Island, B.C. and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches literature and writing at Berklee College of Music. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Baffler, Vice and Joyland. Camp Zero is her first novel.

Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson

A book cover featuring a photo from Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and a photo of the book's author, a smiling woman with gray hair and glasses.
Coronation Year is a book by Jennifer Robson. (HarperCollins)

Coronation Year is a novel set against the backdrop of  Queen Elizabeth's 1953 coronation. In the Blue Lion Hotel, where the Queen is set to drive by in a carriage on her way to be crowned, the residents could not be more excited. That's because each one needs this day to happen for their own reasons. Edie, the owner of the hotel, is hoping the festivities will bring in a crowd that saves her from financial ruin. Stella Donati is a Holocaust survivor and photographer looking for a fresh start. James Geddes finally found a home in the Blue Lion after facing racial discrimination; if Edie can make enough money to keep the doors open, he could see a future here. When someone makes threats against Coronation Day the residents of the Blue Lion Hotel take it upon themselves to find out who is behind them or risk losing the security and peace this day promises to usher in. 

When you can read it: April 4, 2023

Jennifer Robson is a Toronto-based historical fiction writer. Her books include Goodnight From London, Moonlight Over Paris, After the War is Over, Somewhere in France and Fall of Poppies.

Some There are Fearless by Becca Babcock

A book cover featuring a photo of a woman with a superimposed lines treatment over it breaking the photo up. A photo of the book's author, a woman with a bob, bangs wearing a grey sweater.
Some There are Fearless is a book by Becca Babcock. (Nimbus Publishing)

Some There are Fearless explores the lingering effects of global disasters on the personal lives of those touched by them. Protagonist Jessica Manchaky is no stranger to the unthinkable. Learning about the Chernobyl nuclear accident as a child and being raised on an Albertan military base during the Cold War, the threat of danger was always imminent, including in her family. It's what prompts her to leave her small town for Halifax where she becomes a nuclear engineer responsible for assessing risk at nuclear power plants. Her desire for control cannot protect her from a difficult marriage, a boy's club at work or her daughter's sudden, mysterious illness.

When you can read it: April 11, 2023

Becca Babcock is a Halifax-based writer, writing instructor and an actor. Her works include the short story collection Every Second Weekend and the novel One Who Has Been Here Before

The Whole Animal by Corinna Chong

A white book cover with an illustration of a blackbird and a photo of the book's author a woman with long dark hair.
The Whole Animal is a book by Corinna Chong. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Andrew Pulvermacher)

The Whole Animal is a collection of short stories that examines the power, strangeness and attributes of human and animal bodies. Chong exposes themes of loneliness, loss and self-discovery through stories like that of a child fixating on the hair growing out of her mother's eyelid or a linguist's attempts to connect with a boy who cannot speak.

When you can read it: April 11, 2023

Originally from Calgary, Corinna Chong lives in Kelowna, B.C. and teaches English and fine arts at Okanagan College. She published her first novel Belinda's Rings in 2013. Her short fiction has been published in magazines across Canada, including The Malahat Review, Room, Grain and The Humber Literary Review. 

In 2021, she won the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize for Kids in Kindergarten, which appears in  The Whole Animal.

Snow Road Station by Elizabeth Hay

A book cover featuring an abstract blue and green illustration and a photo of the book's author, a woman with short gray hair.
Snow Road Station is a book by Elizabeth Hay. (Knopf Canada, Mark Fried)

Snow Road Station is a novel about coming to terms with the choices you've made, accepting how you feel about yourself and finding friendship that can help heal old wounds. Lulu Blake decides to uproot her life and move to small town Snow Road Station after she forgets her lines mid-act in a Beckett play. In her sixties and out of work, she returns to her family and friends where personal conflicts, weddings, romance and friendships flourish against the backdrop of the oncoming 2008 financial crisis.

When you can read it: April 11, 2023

Elizabeth Hay is an Ottawa-based writer. Her novels include the novels Late Nights On Air, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2007Alone in the Classroom, Garbo LaughsHis Whole Life, and the memoir All Things ConsoledAll Things Consoled won the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee

A book cover featuring an illustration of a woman on a boat and the book's author, a woman with a black shoulder-length bob.
Untethered Sky is a book by Fonda Lee. (MacMillan, Elena Rose Photography)

Fonda Lee's newest fantasy epic Untethered Sky is about the lengths we go to for the ones we love, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice. When Ester's mother and brother are killed by a manticore, she becomes obsessed with finding a way to bring justice and some semblance of peace to what's left of her family. Her quest leads her to the King's Royal Mews where she pairs up with a roc, a flying beast known to hunt manticores, in order to participate in the hunt. The journey could cost Ester her life but there's no turning back now.

When you can read it: April 11, 2023

Fonda Lee is a Canadian American science fiction and fantasy writer. Lee is a three-time Aurora Award winner, including best novel for Jade City and best YA novel for Exo. Jade City also won the World Fantasy Award in 2018.

Tauhou by Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall

A green book cover featuring an illustration of two fish lying vertically. The book's author, a woman with shoulder-length brown hair and a nose ring.
Tauhou is a book by Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall. (House of Anansi Press, Ebony Lamb)

Tauhou examines Indigenous families, womanhood and reimagines post-colonial histories and futures. Set on alternate versions of Vancouver Island and Aotearoa New Zealand that, in this story, are located beside each other in the ocean, each chapter contains a poem, a short story and a form of memory. Throughout the stories, the Coast Salish and Māori people work together to right wrongs, heal and confront colonialism from the beginning when the first ships arrived. 

When you can read it: April 11, 2023

Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall won the 2020 Adam Foundation Prize and was runner-up in the 2021 Surrey Hotel-Newsroom writer's residency award. She lives on the Kāpiti Coast of Aotearoa New Zealand. 

We Meant Well by Erum Shazia Hasan

A light blue book cover with an illustration of an orange flower. A black and white photo of a woman with long hair, resting her head on her hand.
We Meant Well is a book by Erum Shazia Hasan. (ECW Press, Genevieve Caron)

We Meant Well is a novel that poses a difficult moral dilemma for its protagonist, Maya, an aid worker who must decide who to believe when her coworker at the orphanage, Marc, is accused of assaulting her former protégé, Lele. Caught between worlds with protests raging outside the orphanage, Maya must also balance the fate of the organization against the accusations. Navigating around these variables provides both challenge and insight as the complexity of the situation reveals the character of everyone involved. 

When you can read it: April 11, 2023

Erum Shazia Hasan is a Toronto-based writer and a sustainable development consultant for various UN agencies. We Meant Well is her debut novel. 

Everything She Feared by Rick Mofina

A book cover featuring a bridge on a hiking trail and a photo of the book's author, a man with short gray hair and glasses.
Everything She Feared is a book by Rick Mofina. (HarperCollins, Michael Mofina)

When a teenager falls from a cliff to her death, the mother of the young girl she was with fears her own daughter might be to blame due to their family history in the thriller Everything She Feared. At the same time, an infamous serial killer has been released early from prison, infuriating the public and encouraging a true crime podcaster to move fast in order to find out more about the serial killer and the daughter she abandoned. Paths converge in Rick Mofina's latest thriller, raising stakes and suspense. 

When you can read it: April 11, 2023

Rick Mofina has published over 20 crime novels in nearly 30 countries. In 2003, Mofina was awarded the Arthur Ellis Award for best novel for Blood of Others. Some of his books include Every Second, Full Tilt and Whirlwind. Mofina is a former crime reporter and draws from his experiences for his novels. He lives in Ottawa.

Hands Like Trees by Sabyasachi Nag

A book cover featuring a pencil drawing of two men on a bred and gold painted backdrop. A photo of the book's author, a man with short hair and glasses with a short-sleeve dress shirt.
Hands Like Trees is a book by Sabyasachi Nag. (Ronsdale Press)

Hands Like Trees is an intergenerational story of migration and what happens to a family when one of its members decides to stay behind. Three generations form a portrait of the Sen family as they move from Calcultta to Brampton, Ontario and experience different life stages along the way. 

When you can read it: April 14, 2023

Sabyasachi Nag is the author of Uncharted and two collections of poetry. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia and the craft editor at The Artisanal Writer. He was born in Calcutta and lives in Mississauga, Ont.

If We Caught Fire by Beth Ryan

A book cover featuring text superimposed on a photo of sparks from a fire. A photo of the book's author, a woman with bangs and brown hair done up high on her head.
If We Caught Fire is a book by Beth Ryan. (Breakwater Books)

If We Caught Fire centres on Edie, a young woman with a stable and predictable life until her mother decides to remarry. Then, Edie meets Harlow, a daring and adventurous man who just so happens to be the son of her mother's new partner. As the families begin to blend, the two become close but can their connection last? And more importantly, what is their connection to one another?

When you can read it: April 15, 2023

Beth Ryan is a therapist and former journalist and editor from St. John's. Her collection of short fiction, What Is Invisible, won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award in 2004 and was shortlisted for the NL Book Award for Fiction and the APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award. 

Instructions for the Drowning by Steven Heighton

A black and white artistic book cover and a photo of the book's author, a man with short brown hair wearing a blue suit jacket.
Instructions for the Drowning is a book by Steven Heighton. (Biblioasis, Mark Raynes Roberts)

Instructions for the Drowning is a short story collection explores themes of love and fear, delusion and idealism and the ironic ways we come up short despite trying our very best. In one, a man remembers his father's instructions for how to save someone who is drowning but then finds himself conflicted when the moment arrives to act. In another, a man fixated by stories of freak accidents ends up bearing the brunt of one himself. 

When you can read it: April 18, 2023

Steven Heighton was an award-winning Ontario novelist, short story writer and poet. He debuted in 1989 with Stalin's Carnival, a poetry collection that earned him the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. His next work, The Ecstasy of Skeptics, was shortlisted for the 1995 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. He received the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry for The Waking Comes Late. His recent books include Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos, a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, and Selected Poems 1983-2020. In 2021, Heighton released his first album, The Devil's Share. Heighton died in April 2022

Any Other City by Hazel Jane Plante

A green book cover with pink block text and a photo of the book's author, a bald woman with glasses and a pink scarf.
Any Other City is a book by Hazel Jane Plante. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Agatha K)

Any Other City is a fictional memoir of a trans indie rock musician in two parts. The first part follows Tracy St. Cyr in 1993 as she's just starting out in music and finding a community of trans women. The second part is set in 2019, at which point Tracy is a somewhat-famous musician using songwriting to process a traumatic event. The novel is an ode to queer friendship, the body and what it stores through time, sex and the transformative power of art. 

When you can read it: April 18, 2023

Hazel Jane Plante is a librarian, musician, photographer and writer. Her debut novel Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) won a Lambda Literary Award and was a finalist for both a Publishing Triangle Award and a B.C. and Yukon Book Prize. 

For the First Time, Again by Sylvain Neuvel

A red book cover with gold text and a photo of the book's author, a man with shoulder length brown hair, wearing a beanie and a white T-shirt.
For the First Time, Again is a book by Sylvain Neuvel. (MacMillan, James Andrew Rosen)

For the First Time, Again is the conclusion to Sylvain Neuvel's Take Them to The Stars series. For the First Time, Again is a science fiction thriller about an alien on the run from the government and other mortal enemies. When Aster goes in for a blood test, to her surprise she discovers that she is actually an alien and one of the last remaining of the alien race known as the Kibsu. Now, the American government, as well as a group called the Trackers, are hunting her. To save herself, she might have to ask for help in some unlikely places.

When you can read it: April 18, 2023

Sylvain Neuvel is a writer, linguist and translator from Montreal. He is also the author of the novels Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, Only Human and The Test.

Places Like These by Lauren Carter

A book cover featuring a black in blot that doubles as a night sky. The book's author, a smiling woman with light brown hair and glasses.
Places Like These is a book by Lauren Carter. (Book*hug Press, Heather Ruth)

Places Like These is a short story collection that covers the globe — from Ecuador to San Francisco to small-town Ontario or northern Manitoba. From a teenager deadline with the emotional toll of the oncoming climate crisis to a widow searching for her late husband through a spiritual guide or a sexual assault survivor navigating her boundaries and the expectations of her boyfriend's family, each story paints a portrait of a character longing for connection and confronting their demons.

When you can read it: April 18, 2023

Lauren Carter writes, teaches writing and mentors other writers. She is the author of four books of fiction, including This Has Nothing to Do with You, which won the 2020 Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. She has also received the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. Her short story Rhubarb won the Prairie Fire Fiction Award. Her debut novel, Swarm, was longlisted for Canada Reads 2014. In 2017, Carter made the CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Lie Down Within the Night. She was raised in Ontario and now lives just outside of Winnipeg.

The Marigold by Andrew F. Sullivan

A black book cover featuring a yellow and white illustration of a condo building and a photo of the book's author, a strong man wearing a black T-shirt.
The Marigold is a book by Andrew F. Sullivan. (ECW Press, Eden Boudreau)

The Marigold explores current eco-anxieties, urban sprawl and social disorder through a futuristic and dystopian lens. In a near-future Toronto, condo developments and ecological collapse reign supreme. And then, the sludge appears. Inside the Marigold, an almost empty condo building, a mysterious, thick substance begins spreading through the walls. Meanwhile, a 13-year-old girl goes underground to save her friend after a creature pulls him down a sinkhole and condo developers stop construction on the Marigold II, a new luxury condo, for what appears to be nefarious reasons. 

When you can read it: April 18, 2023

Andrew F. Sullivan is also the author of The Handyman Method, a forthcoming horror novel co-written with Nick Cutter, the novel Waste and the short story collection All We Want is Everything. He lives in Hamilton, Ont.

Desperada by Sofia Mostaghimi

A composite photo of a book cover featuring a blue artsy shot of a woman's arm and a photo of the book's author, a smiling woman with long brown hair.
Desperada is a book by Sofia Mostaghimi. (Random House Canada, Derek O'Donnell)

In Desperada, a young Iranian Canadian woman upends her life following the tragic death of her sister. In a bid to transform her life, Kora quits her job and leaves her family to travel to Iceland then France, Spain and further still to distance herself from her pain. Abandoning her responsibilities and getting herself into some dangerous situations involving sex, drugs and alcohol, Kira seeks out an unconventional way to heal.

When you can read it: April 18, 2023

Sofia Mostaghimi is a fiction writer and editor based in Toronto. Her work has been longlisted for the Journey Prize and the Toronto Book Awards. She has been published in Joyland Magazine, The Fiddlehead and The Puritan. Desperada is her first novel.

The Double Life of Benson Yu by Kevin Chong

A red book cover featuring the title with large yellow text and a photo of the author, a man with short black hair and glasses wearing a red plaid shirt.
The Double Life of Benson Yu is a book by Kevin Chong. (Simon & Schuster, Iris Chia)

The Double Life of Benson Yu is an intriguing metafiction in which the narrator of the story, Benson Yu, recounts his difficult adolescence living in a housing project in 1980s Chinatown. Quickly, Benson's grip on the story loosens as what he wanted to have happened and what actually happened are at odds with one another, making for a layered and unique look into how we come to terms with who we are and what happened to us as children. 

When you can read it: April 18, 2023

Kevin Chong is the author of seven books, including the 2020 book, The Plague, a retelling of Albert Camus' novel of the same name. He was longlisted for the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize for his story, White Space. Based in Vancouver, he teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

The Eden Test by Adam Sternbergh

A composite photo of a book cover featuring an artsy close-up shot of a woman's back while lying in bed and the book's author, a man with short reddish blonde hair.
The Eden Test is a novel by Adam Sternbergh. (MacMillan)

The Eden Test is a psychological thriller about Daisy and Craig, a couple in a failing marriage who travel to a remote cabin in the woods for marriage counselling and get a lot more than they bargained for. The retreat is called "The Eden Test." Each day of the seven days, the couple is given one question to answer about their relationship. For Daisy and Craig, each question and each day brings with it increasing tension. Even as some truths are told, the lies are knocking at their door and some strange activity suggests neither of them is to be trusted in an isolated cabin out in the woods. 

When you can read it: April 25, 2023

Adam Sternbergh is an editor at The New York Times. His books include Shovel Ready and The Blinds. He was raised in Toronto and now lives in Brooklyn.

Red Team Blues by Cory Doctorow

A blue book cover featuring an illustration of a man running through a key hold and a sepia toned photo of the book's author, a man with glasses and short hair.
Red Team Blues is a book by Cory Doctorow. (MacMillan)

Red Team Blues is a fictional story about the underbelly of Silicon Valley. Martin Hench is a 67-year-old forensic accountant with the expertise to make some very powerful people a lot of money. Despite his know-how, his latest project may see him in over his head — and could cost him his life. 

When you can read it: April 25, 2023

Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger. His books include Radicalized, Walkaway, a YA graphic novel called In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn't Want to be Free and young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema and Little Brother. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Los Angeles. 

Doctorow's Radicalized was defended by Akil Augustine on Canada Reads 2020.

In Defense of Liberty by Keith Maillard

A book cover featuring a photo of a shadow of a boy riding a bike. The book's author, a smiling older man with glasses.
In Defense of Liberty is a book by Keith Maillard. (Freehand Books, Mary Maillard)

Four university students are at the centre of the 1960s coming-of-age novel In Defense of Liberty. The relationships of four students play out against an increasingly tense university campus where gender relations and gender nonconformity come to the fore in a changing ideological climate. As larger forces work around them on campus, the topics and causes of the day seep into their personal lives as each relationship is tested and experiences a central conflict. 

When you can read it: May 1, 2023

Vancouver-based writer Keith Maillard is the author of 15 novels, including Twin Studies, one collection of poetry and two works of creative nonfiction. He has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Literary Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

Hold Your Tongue by Matthew Tétreault

A light orange book cover with a straight pastel rainbow diagonally across. The book's author, a man in a black jacket standing outside in the snow.
Hold Your Tongue is a book by Matthew Tétreault. (NeWest Press)

Hold Your Tongue is an introspective journey wherein the protagonist, Richard, makes a long trek to visit his father and in doing so, reflects on his Métis identity, memories, lost loves and family secrets. The story sees Richard struggle to embrace who he is and where he comes from while also being pulled to leave home. 

When you can read it: May 1, 2023

Matthew Tétreault is a French-Métis author. He previously wrote a collection of short stories, What Happened on the Bloodvein. Tétreault currently lives in Winnipeg. 

Coq by Ali Bryan

A blue book cover with two red balloons. The book's author, a smiling blond woman in a black sweater.
Coq is a book by Ali Bryan. (Freehand Books, Phil Crozier)

Coq is a cross-country family drama that explores the roles each member takes up in grief after loss and later, in acceptance as the family reforms. Claudia is used to juggling many family problems at once, whether it's the unruliness of her teenaged children, her brother's broken marriage or her ex-partner's desire to get back together. What Claudia finds she can't tolerate is her father remarrying ten years after her mother's death. This change prompts the family to take a trip to Paris to reconcile their differences. However, things quickly go astray and the trip that is meant to bring them together could be what pulls them apart. 

When you can read it: May 1, 2023

Ali Bryan is a writer from Nova Scotia. Her first novel, Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. Her second novel, The Figgs, was shortlisted for Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour in 2019. Her novel The Crow Valley Karaoke Championships is also forthcoming from in 2023. 

The Private Apartments by Idman Nur Omar

A book cover featuring an illustration of an apartment building. The book's author, a young woman wearing a black hijab.
The Private Apartments is a book by Idman Nur Omar. (House of Anansi Press, Eluvier Acosta)

The Private Apartments is a series of stories about Somali immigrants and their will to survive despite the racism, displacement, trauma and isolation they endure. From a wife who escapes her broken marriage by attending weddings to a young mother who forms friendships in her community housing project, each character showcases the hope, persistence and beauty of these people. 

When you can read it: May 2, 2023

Idman Nur Omar is a Calagry-based writer who also teaches at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in the communication and liberal arts department. 

A History of Burning by Janika Oza

A blue book cover featuring gold and red flower-like illustration and the book's author
A History of Burning is a book by Janika Oza. (Jennifer Griffiths/McClelland & Stewart, Yi Shi)

A History of Burning is an epic novel about how one act of rebellion can influence a family for generations. It's 1898 and a 13-year-old boy in India named Pirbhai needs to make money to support his family, and ends up inadvertently being sent across the ocean to be a labourer for the British. He has a choice to make, and what he does will change the course of his life, and his family's fate, for years to come. The story takes readers to Uganda, India, England and Canada in the wake of Pirbhai's choice as the novel explores the impacts of colonialism, resistance, exile and the power of family.

When you can read it: May 2, 2023

Janika Oza is a writer, educator and graduate student based in Toronto. She won the 2019 Malahat Review Open Season Award in fiction for her short story Exile, the 2020 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Award and the 2022 O. Henry Award.

Oza made the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for her story The Gift of Choice, which is a chapter in A History of Burning. Her writing is published in a number of journals, including The Columbia Review, Into The Void, Hobart, and Looseleaf Magazine. 

Meet Me at the Lake by Carley Fortune

A pink book cover featuring an illustration of a lake and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long straight light brown hair.
Meet Me at the Lake is a book by Carley Fortune. (Berkley, Jenna Marie Wakani)

Meet Me at the Lake finds Fern Brookbanks, a 32-year-old hotel manager, stuck: she can't quite stop thinking about one perfect day she spent in her twenties. By chance, she met a man named Will Baxter and the two spent a romantic 24-hours in Toronto, after which they promised to meet up one year later, but Will never showed up. 

Now, instead of living in the city like she thought she would, Fern manages her mother's Muskoka resort by the lake, a role she promised herself she'd never take on. Disillusioned with her life, Fern is shocked when Will shows up at her door, suitcase in hand, asking to help. Why is he here after all this time and more importantly, can she trust him to stay? It's clear Will has a secret but Fern isn't sure if she's ready to hear it all these years later. 

When you can read it: May 2, 2023

Carley Fortune is a Toronto-based journalist who has worked as an editor for Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine and Toronto Life. Meet Me at the Lake is her second novel following her debut, Every Summer After

Because by Andrew Steinmetz

A composite photo featuring a yellow book cover with an orange house and a photo of the book's author, a man with glasses and short hair.
Because is a book by Andrew Steinmetz. (Vehicule Press)

Set in the early 1980s, Because tells the story of two brothers who bond over their love of music in their Montreal home. The younger brother, Hombre, is quiet and introspective, while his older brother, Transformer, is hardheaded, assertive and silently dealing with mental health issues. When their mother hires a girl named Spit to help them improve their guitar skills, the decision becomes the catalyst for a set of unexpected and tragic circumstances. 

When you can read it: May 4, 2023

Andrew Steinmetz is a musician and the author of five books including his memoir of his cousin's escape from Nazi Germany, This Great Escape, which was a finalist for the 2013 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. His 2009 memoir of his mother's life, Eva's Threepenny Theatre, won the City of Ottawa Book Award and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

Atomweight by Emi Sasagawa

A book cover featuring orange and green painted circles and a photo of the book's author, a nonbinary person with short curly hair wearing a bowtie and a vest.
Atomweight is a book by Emi Sasagawa. (Tidewater Press)

In Atomweight, Aki prides herself on being "good" in every role she inhabits: daughter, student, friend, girl. Moving away from her strict parents proves demanding between school, new friends and a relationship with a closeted woman, but Aki is a good girl, she will figure it out. That is, until Aki discovers her anger in a moment of danger and fights back. She also discovers it feels, well, good. Away from home, Aki begins a double life: studious friend and daughter in the day and bar fighter at night. 

When you can read it: May 4, 2023

Emi Sasagawa is a Vancouver-based communications manager, journalist and writer. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications including Washington Post and Room. Atomweight is her first novel.

A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter

A book cover featuring beadwork of a buffalo and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long hair wearing an orange turtleneck.
A Grandmother Begins the Story is a novel by Michelle Porter. (Viking, Bojan Furst)

A Grandmother Begins the Story tells the story of five generations of Métis women as they raise children, reclaim lost heritage, heal past traumas, tell stories that will carry healing forward and make peace in the afterlife. Introducing the women at different life stages, including after death, the book showcases a diversity of voices and personalities. 

When you can read it: May 9, 2023

Michelle Porter is a Métis writer.  She is also the author of the memoir Scratching River, the nonfiction book Approaching Fire, which was shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Award in 2021, and a book of poetry, Inquiries, which was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She lives in Newfoundland and Labrador. Porter made the 2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for her story Fireweed.

The Almost Widow by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

A book cover featuring a woman wearing red walking in a snowy forest and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long brunette hair wearing turquoise earrings.
The Almost Widow is a book by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. (HarperCollins, Mitch Krupp)

The Almost Widow is a missing-person thriller that follows Piper as someone is following her. When Piper asks her husband, a natural resources officer, to investigate who is cutting down old-growth trees in the rainforest, a storm blows in and he goes missing. Determined to find him, Piper heads out into the forest long after the search teams have called off their hunt. Out there in the woods, she has the sneaking feeling she isn't alone and that whoever is following her, may also know where her husband is. 

When you can read it: May 9, 2023

Gail Anderson-Dargatz is a writer from B.C. Her first novel, The Cure for Death by Lightning, was a finalist for the 1996 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her second novel, A Recipe for Bees, was also a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 1998. Anderson-Dargatz's other books include The Spawning Grounds, Turtle Valley and The Almost Wife.

The Comeback by Lily Chu

A book cover featuring an illustration of a woman in sunglasses and a wide-brim hat and the book's author, a blonde woman wearing a white shirt.
The Comeback is a book by Lily Chu. (Sourcebooks, Fred Lum)

The Comeback is a rom-com that follows Ariadne Hui, a type-A lawyer intent on making partner at her exclusive law firm. Her priorities quickly shift when she arrives home to find an attractive man sitting on her couch. Her roommate's cousin, Choi Jihoon, will be staying with them while he gets over a breakup.

Quickly, Ariadne falls hard for Choi, but the bubble around their apartment romance soon bursts when Ariadne realizes that being Jihoon's partner means being thrown into the spotlight for the world's consumption. Can their relationship stand up to public scrutiny? Ariadne may not be able to make a simple case to appeal to the masses. 

When you can read it: May 9, 2023

Lily Chu writes romantic comedies set in Toronto with strong Asian characters. Chu's debut rom-com novel was The Stand-In. The audiobook of The Comeback came out in 2022. 

Chasing the Black Eagle by Bruce Geddes

An orange book cover featuring an illustration of an airplane and a photo of the book's author, a man with glasses and thick hair.
Chasing the Black Eagle is a book by Bruce Geddes. (Dundurn Press)

Chasing the Black Eagle is a death-defying adventure that sees its protagonist travel from New York to Ethiopia on an undercover mission. When federal agents offer Arthur Tormes a deal to drop all charges against him, he can't say no. The only problem is what he has to say yes to. The cops rope the 17-year-old into what becomes a thirteen-year mission to take Hubert Julian — one of the most widely regarded figures of the Harlem Renaissance — down. 

When you can read it: May 9, 2023

Geddes is the author of one other novel, The Higher the Monkey Climbs. His short fiction has appeared in the New Quarterly, Blank Spaces Magazine and the Freshwater Review. Born in Windsor, Ont., he currently lives in Kingston, Ont. 

Wait Softly Brother by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

A yellow book cover featuring a glass doorknob. A photo of the book's author, a woman with shoulder-length gray hair.
Wait Softly Brother is a book by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer. (Wolsak & Wynn, Ken Woroner)

Wait Softly Brother explores how collective memory, myth and loss generate in families through stories about lost siblings or the traumas of war. 

When you can read it: May 9, 2023

Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer is the Toronto-based author of the novels All the Broken ThingsPerfecting and The Nettle Spinner and the short story collection Way Up

Adrift by Lisa Brideau

A composite photo of a book cover featuring the ocean and the book's author, a woman in a white dress shirt with a crisp brunette bob.
Adrift is a book by Lisa Brideau. (Sourcebooks, J. Josue Photography)

The novel Adrift is part-mystery, part-hero's journey that incorporates her knowledge of climate change to pose challenging existential questions. When Ess wakes up, she doesn't expect to be on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean with no recollection of how she got there. The only context she has is a letter telling her not to come back. Despite the warning, Ess wants answers and sets off on a journey to understand her past and decide what to do with her future. 

When you can read it: May 9, 2023

Lisa Brideau is a Vancouver-based writer, sustainability policy specialist and former aerospace engineer. Adrift is her first novel. 

Fit to Die by Daniel Kalla

A book cover featuring a woman wearing a green dress eating pills and a photo of the book's author, a man in a blue dress shirt with short brown hair.
Fit to Die is a book by Daniel Kalla. (Simon & Schuster,

In the thriller Fit to Die, the death of a prominent track star reads like a typical overdose to LAPD Detective Cari Garcia, until a string of drug-related deaths across North America raise suspicions. In Vancouver, when toxicologist Dr. Julie Rees mentions to her boyfriend, Detective Anson Chen, that many of the victims are bodybuilders and people with eating disorders, he begins to investigate the phenomenon. 

When Vancouver social media influencer Rain Flynn dies of the same high fever and seizures, an autopsy reveals the diet pills she was taking contain a toxin known as DNP — an explosive agent originally used in the trenches of World War I. Now, Garcia and Chen must work together from their respective cities to figure out who is selling DNP, what it has to do with the health industry and who is distributing it before it's the next wellness trend to hit social media. 

When you can read it: May 9, 2023

Daniel Kalla is an emergency room doctor and the author of 10 books, including The Darkness in the Light, Lost ImmunityThe Last High and We All Fall Down.

Quality Time by Suzannah Showler

A book cover featuring a city street lit in religious lit and a photo of the author, a smiling woman with light brown hair and a green shirt.
Quality Time is a bookby Suzannah Showler. (McClelland & Stewart, Andrew Battershill)

Quality Time is a novel that examines how love can make us feel invincible and what happens when life catches up with us in our relationships. Nico and Lydie are passionate about their love. So much so that they often recreate the first year of their relationship, celebrating anniversaries by reminiscing. But, while a spiritual experience reaffirms Nico to their all-consuming love, the relationship begins to infringe on Lydie's ability to work on her art. The novel is an early 2000s retrospective on love, the recession, labour and discontent. 

When you can read it: May 16, 2023

Suzannah Showler is the author of two collections of poetry and a book of cultural criticism. She lives in Vancouver. 

The Jazz Club Spy by Roberta Rich

A book cover featuring a 1920s flapper girl. The book's author, a woman with short blond hair.
The Jazz Club Spy is a book by Roberta Rich. (Guy Immega, Simon & Schuster)

Roberta Rich's latest book is the historical thriller The Jazz Club Spy. The 1930s-set novel follows Giddy Brodsyk, a Jewish girl who makes a living serving cigarettes at a Manhattan jazz club called Sid's Palace. 

When she thinks she recognizes the man who burned her Russian village to the ground decades earlier, she agrees to become a spy. 

Betrayals and intrigue ensue as Giddy finds herself in the middle of a political conspiracy on the eve of the Second World War, and has to choose between justice and forgiveness.

When you can read it: May 16, 2023

Rich is a former lawyer and the bestselling author of a series of historical novels set in Venice in the sixteenth century that revolve around the life of a midwife. Her books include The Midwife of Venice, The Harem Midwife and A Trial in Venice.

The Lie Maker by Linwood Barclay

A composite photo of a book cover featuring a boardwalk on a beach and the book's author, a grey haired man wearing a suit.
The Lie Maker is a book by Linwood Barclay. (William Morrow, CBC)

The Lie Maker is a thriller centres on Jack, a struggling author, who signs on to write made-up stories for people in witness protection. It's not just that he needs a job, Jack's father is in witness protection and this could be his way to find him after years apart. The last time Jack saw his father, he told Jack that he'd killed people. Now, it seems, no one, including the U.S. Marshals, knows where Jack's dad is, but he's determined to find him. 

When you can read it: May 16, 2023

Linwood Barclay is an American Canadian thriller writer with over 20 books to his credit, including the adult thrillers Broken Promise, A Noise Downstairs, Elevator Pitch and the middle-grade novels Escape and Chase.

The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon

A composite photo of a book cover with a blue brick wall and a photo of the author, a curly haired woman.
The Revenge List is a book by Hannah Mary McKinnon. (Mira Books,

The Revenge List is a thriller about Frankie Morgan, an angry and resentful person who, on the advice of those around her, takes anger management classes to deal with the pain of losing her mother in a car accident. Seeking out help seems to be a step in the right direction until Frankie is told to make a list of all the people who have wronged her and all the people on it start showing up injured from strange accidents, each more dangerous than the last. If that wasn't bad enough, Frankie put her own name down on the list and now the paper is missing. 

When you can read it: May 23, 2023

Hannah Mary McKinnon is a suspense writer based in Oakville, Ont. Her books include Sister Dear, Her Secret Son and The Neighbours.

Closer by Sea by Perry Chafe

Composite of a book cover a man looking into the camera.
Closer by Sea is a novel by Perry Chafe. (Simon & Schuster, submitted by Perry Chafe)

Closer by Sea is a coming-of-age story set in a small island community dealing with a local fishing industry on the brink of collapse. It's the early 1990s and 12-year-old Pierce Jacobs is struggling to come to terms with his fisherman father's death at sea. He's determined to save up enough to fix his dad's boat and take it out to sea himself. When the community is hit hard by the disappearance of a teenaged girl named Anna, Pierce and a group of friends embark on an epic journey to find her. Along the way, they encounter merciless bullies, brutal storms and magnificent sea creatures. As the mystery unravels, Pierce is forced to abandon his child-like innocence and face the harsh realities of growing up.

When you can read it: May 23, 2023

Perry Chafe is a TV writer producer and songwriter from St. John's. Chafe co-created and was head writer and showrunner of CBC TV series Republic of Doyle. He is currently a writer and producer on the CBC series Son of a Critch.

Suite as Sugar by Camille Hernández-Ramdwar

A green book cover with light green text. The book's author, a woman with thick brunette hair.
Suite as Sugar is a book by Camille Hernández-Ramdwar. (Dundurn Press)

Suite as Sugar explores the intergenerational impact of colonialism on a wide range of people and places. From Toronto to Honduras to Trinidad, each story emphasizes the resilience and will of humans and animals to survive. 

When you can read it: May 23, 2023

Camille Hernández-Ramdwar is a professor at Ryerson University specializing in sociology and Caribbean studies.

Dandelion Daughter by Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay, translated by Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch

A blue book cover featuring a bunch of dandelions and the book's author, a woman with blonde hair and bangs.
Dandelion Daughter is a book by Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay. (Vehicule Press, Julie Langenegger)

Dandelion Daughter is an autobiographical novel of author Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay's young life as a trans person who felt isolated, scared and trapped in the wrong body. The novel chronicles her coming-of-age story, including first loves, struggling with gender identity and conversation about the decision to transition, all while her parents' marriage was failing and she faced the alienation that comes with being discriminated against in society. 

When you can read it: May 25, 2023

Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay is a writer, actress, model and trans activist. Her other books include the poetry collections Le Ventre des volcans and Les secrets de l'origami, and La voix de la nature, a book for young adults.

Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is a mixed-race Arab poet from Montreal. Their work has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry, The Puritan and The New Quarterly. They were longlisted for the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize for Nancy Ajram Made Me Gay.

River Meets the Sea by Rachael Moorthy

A composite photo of a book cover featuring a hand dipping a finger into water and a photo of the book's author, a young woman with long brown hair sitting in a meadow.
River Meets the Sea is a book by Rachael Moorthy. (House of Anansi Press, Kayla MacInnis)

Told from dual perspectives and timeframes, River Meets the Sea is the story of two men: one named Ronny, who is a white-passing Indigenous foster child living in 1940s Vancouver, and the other is Chandra, a teenager who moved from Sri Lanka to the suburbs of Nanaimo, B.C. in the 1970s. Both characters grow up feeling deeply connected to the water around them. When they meet by chance, the beauty of the natural world and the ugliness of racial discrimination they've both faced pull them together.

When you can read it: May 30, 2023

Rachael Moorthy is a British Columbia-born writer living in Switzerland. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Far Horizons Award for Poetry.

Leaving Wisdom by Sharon Butala

A composite photo of a grey-green book cover with a woman standing in the field and the book's author, an older woman with a gray bob and glasses holding a coffee mug.
Leaving Wisdom is a book by Sharon Butala. (Thistledown Press)

Leaving Wisdom explores the intergenerational effects of the Second World War and the Holocaust through an unlikely catalyst: a concussion. When Judith suffers from a fall on the ice, she expects to feel foggy and yet, the disruptive nature of her fall seems to pry many questions and beliefs about her life loose. Following her concussion, Judith moves back to her hometown where she begins to confront family secrets and long-held truths about her father, her siblings and her daughters. 

When you can read it: May 30, 2023

Sharon Butala is a Saskatchewan-based author of over 20 novels and nonfiction books, including The Perfection of the MorningWhere I Live NowZara'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. In 2002, she became an officer of the Order of Canada.

What Comes Echoing Back by Leo McKay Jr.

A composite photo of a book cover featuring yellow and white concentric circles with black text and the book's author, a man with short hair, glasses and a pageboy hat.
What Comes Echoing Back is a novel by Leo McKay Jr. (Vagrant Press)

In What Comes Echoing Back, Sam and Robot share a few things in common. First, they are both in the same high school music class. Second, both of them became infamous for the worst things that ever happened to them. While the Internet moves on and small town rumour mills keep cycling, they can't. That is, until a friendship forms and they find music just might be the key to continue playing along. 

When you can read it: June 6, 2023

Leo McKay Jr. is a writer and a high school teacher. His novel Twenty-Six won the Dartmouth Book Award and was chosen for the One Book Nova Scotia event. His debut collection of stories, Like This, also won the Dartmouth Book Award and was a finalist for the Giller Prize

Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday by Jamaluddin Aram

An artsy black and white photo of a man with short hair and glasses staring thoughtfully into the camera.
Jamaluddin Aram is a filmmaker, producer, and writer from Kabul, Afghanistan who now lives in Toronto. (Simon & Schuster, Abdullah Tawakoli)

Set in 1990s Kabul, Afghanistan against the backdrop of civil war, Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday is a journey through the town of Wazirabad, which overflows with every kind of character imaginable. From a daughter selling scorpions to keep her mother from having to sell herself to the militiamen trying to solve a string of burglaries, to Bonesetter who reads his cat poetry, Aram provides a portrait of a community in its most mundane and extraordinary as the people of Wazirabad try to carve out a home and a life amidst war.

When you can read it: June 6, 2023

Jamaluddin Aram is a Toronto-based documentary filmmaker, producer and writer from Kabul, Afghanistan. Aram's short story This Hard Easy Life was a finalist for RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers in 2020. He was selected as a mentee by Michael Christie for the Writers' Trust of Canada Mentorship program for his book Marchoba, which became Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday

Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys by Aaron Tucker

A composite photo of an orange book cover with the head of a man and the book's author, a man with longer hair, glasses and a blazer standing in front of an artsy wall.
Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys is a book by Aaron Tucker. (Coach House Books)

Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys centres around a man as he tries to find his ex-girlfriend amid a disastrous event that hits Toronto. Employing tropes about Western films and modern masculinity to characterize his protagonist, Tucker chronicles the downward spiral of man trying to make his way through a city in chaos.

When you can read it: June 6, 2023

Aaron Tucker is the author of three books of poems as well as the novel Y: Oppenheimer, Horseman of Los Alamos, which was translated by Rachel Martinez into French in 2020 as Oppenheimer. He is currently completing his PhD at York University. In 2022, Tucker made the CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for A Cowboy's Work.

Girlfriend on Mars by Deborah Willis

A composite photo of a book cover featuring an astronaut standing on the surface of Mars and the book's author, a blond woman in a black blazer staring into the camera.
Girlfriend on Mars is a novel by Deborah Willis. (Hamish Hamilton,

Girlfriend on Mars is a story about love in the age of commercial space travel. Amber Kivinen is one of 23 reality TV contestants vying for two spots aboard the first commercial trip to Mars aboard MarsNow, a space shuttle commissioned by the billionaire Geoff Task. Amber is surrounded by a cast of unlikely characters, including an Israeli soldier and social media influencers, while her long-term partner, Kevin, stays at home with the plants and starts to wonder: why does his girlfriend feel such a desire to leave the planet?

When you can read it: June 13, 2023

Deborah Willis is a writer from Calgary. Willis debuted in 2009 with Vanishing and Other Stories which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award. She followed it up with a collection of short fiction entitled The Dark and Other Love Stories in 2017, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Georges Bugnet Award for best work of fiction published in Alberta.

Much Ado About Nada by Uzma Jalaluddin

A composite photo featuring a blue, pink and purple book cover of a woman wearing a hijab standing in front of the CN Tower and the book's author, a smiling woman wearing a brown hijab sitting backwards on a folding chair.
Much Ado About Nada is a novel by Uzma Jalaluddin. (HarperAvenue, Andrea Stenson)

Much Ado About Nada is about Nada Syed, who is almost 30 and still living at home with her parents. She dreams of turning her app Ask Apa into a tech success, but her parents are focused on her finding a partner and getting married. Her best friend Haleema wants things to turn around for Nada and thinks there's no better place to do that than at a large Muslim conference downtown. But when Nada finds out Haleema's fiance Zayn and his brother Baz will be there, she knows she can't go. No matter what. Why? Because her and Baz have history.

When you can read it: June 13, 2023

Uzma Jalaluddin is a teacher, parenting columnist and author based in Ontario. She is aslo the author of Her debut novel, Ayesha At Last and Hana Khan Carries On.

To the Forest by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, translated by Rhonda Mullins

A composite photo of a book cover, featuring the naked back of a woman with a fern over her shoulder, and the book's author, a short-haired brunette woman looking directly in the camera.
To the Forest is a novel by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, pictured, which was translated by Rhonda Mullins. (Justine Latour, Coach House Books)

In To the ForestAnaïs Barbeau-Lavalette considers the expansiveness and existentialism bound up in nature. When the pandemic hits, two families leave the city to take refuge at a run-down countryside home. Without access to phones or the Internet, the five children and their parents make nature their playground, and in the process, reconnect with an unknown greater than their human concerns. 

When you can read it: June 20, 2023

Barbeau-Lavalette is a Montreal-based novelist, screenwriter and director. Her novel La femme qui fuit — inspired by her own grandmother's life as an artist — was later translated into English and titled Suzanne. It won the Prix des libraires du Québec and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction. Her other books include Je voudrais qu'on m'efface and Embrasser Yasser Arafat

Rhonda Mullins is a writer and translator living in Montreal. She won the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translation for Jocelyne Saucier's Twenty-One Cardinals. And the Birds Rained Down — her translation of Saucier's Il pleuvait des oiseaux — was defended on Canada Reads 2015 by Martha Wainwright and was shortlisted for a Governor General's Literary Award, as were Mullins's translations of Louis Carmain's Guano, Élise Turcotte's Guyana, Hervé Fischer's The Decline of the Hollywood Empire and Julie Demers's Little Beast

Mullins also translated Barbeau-Lavalette's novel La femme qui fuit from French to English, which was titled Suzanne and defended by Yanic Truesdale on Canada Reads 2019. 

I Only Read Murder by Ian Ferguson & Will Ferguson

A red book cove featuring an illustration of a crime scene. The books authors, two men with short gray hair and glasses.
I Only Read Murder is a book by Ian Ferguson, centre, and Will Ferguson, right. (HarperCollins, David Bruce, Genki Alex Ferguson)

When readers meet Miranda Abbott in I Only Read Murder, she's a washed-up actor vying for any part she can get when a mysterious postcard arrives in the mail. Recently rejected for yet another role, Abbott decides to accept the invitation to visit the small town of Happy Rock. There, she auditions for the lead role of a local theatre play. Things quickly go array when, on opening night, one of the actors is murdered in front of the audience. Despite the many witnesses, no one actually saw what happened or more importantly, who did it. Having solved crime on TV before, Abbott deems herself up for the task of a new role: real-life criminal investigator. 

When you can read it: June 23, 2023

Will Ferguson has written humour, travel books and fiction. The Calgary-based writer won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his thriller 419. He has won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times: for his novel Generica (now titled Happiness), his Canadian travel book Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw and his travel memoir Beyond Belfast

Ian Ferguson is a Victoria-based writer and creative director in the film and television industry. Ferguson won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for Village of the Small Houses and is the co-author, with his brother, Will Ferguson, of How to Be a Canadian, which was shortlisted for the Leacock Medal and won the CBA Libris Award for nonfiction.

Have You Seen Her by Catherine McKenzie

A composite photo of a green atmospheric book cover with yellow text and a photo of the book's author, a woman with long straight hair staring at the camera.
Have You Seen Her is a novel by Catherine McKenzie. (, Simon & Schuster)

Have You Seen Her follows Cassie Peters as she leaves New York City to return to her hometown in Mammoth Lakes, California, where she thinks she can leave her secretive past behind her. That is, until she starts working for Yosemite Search and Rescue and a case she worked on 10 years ago comes back into focus.

Then, she meets Petal, a Yosemite resident who lives in a trailer keeping tabs on everyone in the community, and Jada, a college grad who posts about her cross-country road trip on social media. When the three women's lives intersect, Cassie realizes she didn't leave her past behind at all. In fact, it might be haunting her.

When you can read it: June 27, 2023

Catherine McKenzie is a former Montreal lawyer and author of several books, including the thrillers Forgotten, Hidden, Smoke and The Good Liar.

The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt

A composite photo of a book cover that looks like an old library card and a photo of the author, a middle-aged man with short blond hair and glasses.
The Librarianist is a novel by Patrick deWitt. (Kelly Reichardt, House of Anansi Press )

In The Librarianist, retired librarian Bob Comet is content spending the rest of his days reading in his Portland, Oregon home, until a chance encounter with an older woman in the supermarket brings him to the senior centre, where he begins volunteering. There, through conversations, reflection and a few funny characters, Bob's life story is slowly revealed. 

When you can read it: July 4, 2023

Patrick deWitt is a novelist from Portland, Ore., by way of Vancouver Island. He has written several novels, including The Sisters Brothers, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction, the Leacock Medal for Humour, the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Booker Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His other books include Undermajordomo Minor and French Exit. French Exit was on the shortlist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Kukum by Michel Jean, translated by Susan Ouriou

A composite photo of a middle-aged man with short gray hair staring at the camera and a white book cover featuring blue paint and a line-drawn illustration of a girl.
Kukum is a novel by Michel Jean, pictured, which was translated by Susan Ouriou. (Julien Faugere, Arachnide Editions)

Kukum is a novel that traces the journey of Almanda Siméon, an orphan living in the Innu Nation of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh. Written with intimacy, the coming-of-age story is about love and acceptance, the history of colonial violence and the traditional values of the Innu community.

The French-language edition of Kukum won the Combat national des livres 2021 on Radio-Canada. It was defended by politician and activist Michèle Audette.

When you can read it: July 11, 2023

Michel Jean is an author and journalist who grew up in Mashteuiatsh, Que. Jean's previous books include Envoyé spécial, Un monde mort comme la lune and Tsunamis.

Susan Ouriou is a writer, editor and literary translator from Calgary. She won the 2009 Governor General's Literary Award for translation for Pieces of Me. She has also been shortlisted for the same award five times: in 1995 for her translation of The Road to Chlifa, in 2003 for Necessary Betrayals, in 2015 for Stolen Sisters, in 2021 for The Lover, The Lake and again in 2022 for White Resin.  Her translation work also includes the books Blue Bear Woman and And So it Goes

And the Walls Came Down by Denise Da Costa

A book cover featuring a colorful photo of an alley full of garbage. The book's author, a woman with striking green eye makeup in a white shirt.
And the Wall Came Down is a book by Denise Da Costa. (Dundurn Press, Samuel Engelking)

And the Walls Came Down is a portrait of growing up, finding yourself and reconciling with the childhood you think you had versus the one you actually did. When her childhood home is set to be demolished, Delia Ellis ventures back to east Toronto to retrieve the diary she kept growing up. To her surprise, the diary entries contrast greatly with how she remembers her parents's marriage, the resources they had and her mother's presence. At first, reading the diary of her younger self through adult eyes is a gut punch. How could she not remember the effects poverty had on her? Or the way her father and mother treated each other? 

When you can read it: June 6, 2023

Denise Da Costa is an author and visual artist. Born in Toronto, she spent her early years in Jamaica and now lives in St. Catharines, Ont. And the Walls Came Down is her first novel. 

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