Here is the Canada Reads 2020 longlist
This year's theme is one book to bring Canada into focus
Fifteen books are on the Canada Reads longlist for 2020.
From deeply personal memoirs to poetry and speculative fiction, this year's longlisted books speak to the theme: One book to bring Canada into focus.
We're looking at Canada's 2020 vision. How do we move forward together? These books inspire readers to think twice about the lens through which they see themselves and Canada.
The final five books and their champions will be revealed on Jan. 22, 2020.
Ticket information to attend the live debates will be announced on Jan. 22.
The Canada Reads 2020 longlist is:
- NDN Coping Mechanisms by Billy-Ray Belcourt
- Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
- Radicalized by Cory Doctorow
- Sputnik's Children by Terri Favro
- Amphibian by Carla Gunn
- We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
- Love Lives Here by Amanda Jetté Knox
- The Dishwasher by Stéphane Larue, translated by Pablo Strauss
- Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
- The Youth of God by Hassan Ghedi Santur
- From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle
- The Lesser Blessed by Richard Van Camp
- Worry by Jessica Westhead
- The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
- Dear Scarlet by Teresa Wong
You can learn more about all 15 of the longlisted books below.
In NDN Coping Mechanisms, Billy-Ray Belcourt uses poetry, prose and textual art to explore how Indigenous and queer communities and identities are left out of mainstream media. The work has two parts — the first explores everyday life and the second explores influential texts such as Treaty 8.
Belcourt is a writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the Griffin Poetry Prize for his first poetry collection, This Wound is a World. His memoir, A History of My Brief Body, is coming out in May 2020.
Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, Megan Gail Coles's debut novel, revolves around a cast of flawed characters all connected to a trendy St. John's restaurant, The Hazel. Over the course of a snowy February day, they are implicated in each other's hopes, dreams and pains as they try to survive harsh economic times in the province.
Coles is a playwright from St. John's. She previously published the short story collection Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome.
Radicalized is a collection of four novellas that explore the quandaries — social, economic and technological — of contemporary America. Cory Doctorow's characters deal with issues around immigration, corrupt police forces, dark web uprisings and more.
- Cory Doctorow on Radicalized, the problem with superheroes and writing speculative fiction in a jaded world
Terri Favro dreams up a genre-bending adventure in Sputnik's Children. Narrated by a successful, lorazepam-addicted comic artist, the novel jumps between two realities: the one we all know (Earth Standard Time) and another, which has been ravaged by nuclear war (Atomic Mean Time).
Sputnik's Children was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic.
Favro is a Toronto-based comic book writer, essayist and novelist. Sputnik's Children is her third novel. She is also the author of Once Upon A Time in West Toronto and The Proxy Bride.
Amphibian is a novel about Phineas Walsh, a nine-year-old with a love of animals and an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. As he grapples with the damage that humanity is doing to the planet, a White's tree frog ends up in his Grade 4 class aquarium. He and his best friend Bird decide something must be done.
Amphibian was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.
Carla Gunn is a professor at St. Thomas University.. Amphibian is her first book.
Samra Habib's memoir We Have Always Been Here is an exploration of the ways we disguise and minimize ourselves for the sake of survival. As a child, Habib hid her faith from Islamic extremists in Pakistan and later, as a refugee in Canada, endured racist bullying and the threat of an arranged marriage. In travelling the world and exploring art and sexuality, Habib searches for the truth of her identity.
Amanda Jetté Knox chronicles the making of her loving family in the memoir Love Lives Here. Happily married with three children, Knox noticed that her middle child was struggling with depression and skipping school. After Alexis came out as transgender at the age of 11, Knox dove headlong into trans rights research and advocacy. Just over a year later, Knox's spouse came out as transgender, marking another, ultimately triumphant, transition for the family.
Knox is a writer, activist and public speaker who lives in Ottawa. Love Lives Here is her first book. She also blogs at The Maven of Mayhem.
Stéphane Larue had the least glamorous job at a restaurant — a dishwasher. But it gave him an inside look at the hard-living characters working in frenetic, stress-filled kitchens. He turned those experiences into a novel, The Dishwasher, which takes the reader into the demi-monde of restaurant kitchens.
The Dishwasher is Larue's first novel. It was translated into English by Pablo Strauss. The French version of the book, Le Plongeur, won the Prix des libraires du Québec and the Prix Senghor and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction.
Son of a Trickster is a novel about Jared, a compassionate 16-year-old, maker of famous weed cookies, the caretaker of his elderly neighbours, the son of an unreliable father and unhinged, though loving in her way, mother. As Jared ably cares for those around him, in between getting black-out drunk, he shrugs off the magical and strange happenings that follow him around.
Eden Robinson is an award-winning author from Kitamaat, B.C. She is also the author of the novels Monkey Beach and Trickster Drift. Son of a Trickster and Trickster Drift are the first two books of a planned Trickster trilogy.
The Youth of God tells the story of Nuur, a Somali teen who is bullied at school for his religious piety, while he tries to balance his academics and part time job. Searching for a sense of purpose, and longing for male guidance in the absence of a father who abandoned his family, Nuur looks to two opposing father figures. One, a compassionate teacher named Mr. Ilmi who sees Nuur's potential and the other, an Imam, who has more heinous intentions in mind.
Hassan Ghedi Santur is a journalist who has worked for CBC Radio. He is also the author of the novel Something Remains and the nonfiction book Maps of Exile.
Jesse Thistle is a Métis-Cree academic specializing in Indigenous homelessness, addiction and inter-generational trauma. For Thistle, these issues are more than just subjects on the page. After a difficult childhood, Thistle spent much of his early adulthood struggling with addiction while living on the streets of Toronto. His memoir From the Ashes details how his issues with abandonment and addiction led to homelessness, incarceration and his eventual redemption through higher education.
Thistle is an assistant professor at York University and was a recipient of the Governor General's Academic Medal in 2016. From the Ashes is his first book.
The Lesser Blessed is a darkly funny coming-of-age story that follows Tlicho teenager Larry Sole as he tries to navigate his complicated life, while coming to terms with the abuse he suffered as a child. Larry's life is further complicated when he meets Johnny Beck, a Métis boy who introduces him to drugs, and his girlfriend Juliet Hope, who Larry begins to fall in love with. The Lesser Blessed was adapted into a feature film starring Benjamin Bratt in 2012.
Richard Van Camp is a celebrated Tlicho writer who has written over 20 books across multiple genres. His other books include the graphic novel A Blanket of Butterflies, the short story collection Moccasin Square Gardens and the children's books Little You and We Sang You Home.
Worry is a novel about what happens when two women who are longtime friends spend 48 hours together with their families at a cottage. For many years, Ruth has been best friends with Stef — a loud, confident woman who is her opposite in many ways. Now a protective mother, Ruth brings her four-year-old daughter Fern to Stef's family cottage. Fern runs off with Stef's older boisterous twins, while the two women are joined for a night of drinks and heightened emotion with the neighbour, Marvin.
Jessica Westhead is the author of the novel Pulpy & Midge and the short story collections And Also Sharks and Things Not to Do.
In Evan Winter's fantasy debut The Rage of Dragons, a world is caught in an eternal war and Tau is his people's only hope for survival. Described as a mix of Game of Thrones and Gladiator, The Rage of Dragons follows Tau as he attempts to get revenge and become the greatest swordsman to ever live.
The Rage of Dragons was originally self-published before it was acquired by Orbit Books. It is the first book in a planned series.
Teresa Wong pens an honest and emotional letter to her daughter in Dear Scarlet. The comic describes her experience with postpartum depression — how feelings of sadness, loss and guilt consumed her — and her many attempts at healing.