Books

Miriam Toews, Sarah Polley, Silmy Abdullah, Camilla Gibb among authors longlisted for $10K Toronto Book Awards

A total of 13 books are on the longlist for the 2022 Toronto Book Awards, which annually recognizes the best book "inspired by the city."

Tsering Yangzom Lama, H.N. Khan and Falen Johnson also among those on the 2022 longlist

Miriam Toews is the author of Fight Night. (Knopf Canada)

Thirteen books, including Fight Night by Miriam Toews, are on the longlist for the 2022 Toronto Book Awards. 

Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the Toronto Book Awards honour books that are inspired by the city. 

The following books are nominated this year:

Fight Night is a novel about a young girl trying to make sense of the world. Nine-year-old Swiv lives in Toronto with her pregnant mother, who is raising Swiv while caring for own elderly mother. When Swiv is expelled from school, Grandma gives Swiv the task of writing to her absent father about what life is like in the house during her mother's final trimester.

In turn, Swiv tells Grandma, who knows what it costs to survive the world, to write a letter to her unborn grandchild. 

Toews is the Toronto author of seven novels, including Women TalkingAll My Puny SorrowsA Complicated Kindness and The Flying Troutmans. She has won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction, Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Writers' Trust Engel Findley Award. A Complicated Kindness won Canada Reads in 2006, when it was defended by John K. Samson. 

Run Towards the Danger, Sarah Polley's first book, is an essay collection about learning, changing and what it's like to live in one's body. The memoir reflects on memorable moments in Polley's life and the fallibility of memory. 

Polley is a Toronto-born actor, screenwriter and director. Her first feature-length film, Away from Her, was adapted from the Alice Munro story The Bear Came Over the Mountain and was nominated for the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Her other films include Stories We Tell and Take This Waltz. 

Listen | Sarah Polley on Writers and Company:

We Measure the Earth With Our Bodies, Tsering Yangzom Lama's debut novel, recounts a Tibetan family's struggle to create new lives of dignity, love and hope in places such as Toronto after China's invasion of Tibet in the 1950s. 

Lama is a Tibetan Canadian author based in Vancouver. Born and raised in Nepal, she's also lived in Toronto and New York City. 

Camilla Gibb's The Relatives is a novel that explores what it means to make — and be — a family. Lila is working on becoming a mother, alone, while Tess and Emily are figuring out what happens to their embryos now that their relationship is ending. The man who donated the sperm to all three of them is being held captive in Somalia, his life hanging in the balance.

As he faces the potential end of his life, what will happen to the lives he helped create, which haven't quite started yet?

Gibb is a writer who lives in Toronto. Her other books include the novels Mouthing the Words, Sweetness in the Belly and The Beauty of Humanity Movement and the memoir This is HappySweetness in the Belly won the 2006 Trillium Book Award and was shortlisted for the 2005 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Listen | Camilla Gibb on The Next Chapter:

Set in Toronto's Regent Park neighbourhood, H.N. Khan's Wrong Side of the Court is a YA novel about basketball, dreams and violence. Fifteen-year-old Fawad wants to be the very first Pakistani Canadian to be drafted into the NBA, but life in his neighbourhood sometimes involves bullies and bad situations — things Fawad is trying to avoid.

Khan is a Pakistani Canadian writer and author. Khan immigrated to Canada at age seven and grew up in the Regent Park community of Toronto. He is a recent graduate of Humber School for Writers' correspondence program. Wrong Side of the Court is his debut book.

Home of the Floating Lily by Silmy Abdullah is a short story collection that traces the lives of Bangladeshi immigrants living in Toronto, exploring the love, loss, displacement and connection that comes with making a new country home.

Abdullah is a lawyer and author who lives in Toronto. Home of the Floating Lily is her first book, and was also a finalist for the 2022 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. 

The nonfiction book The Underground Railroad by Adrienne Shadd, Afua Cooper and Karolyn Smardz Frost explores Toronto's role as a destination for thousands of freedom seekers before the American Civil War.

This new edition traces pathways taken by people, enslaved and free, who made the trip north in search of liberty. It offers new biographies, images and information, some of which is augmented by a 2015 archeological dig in downtown Toronto.

The picture book My City Speaks, by Darren Lebeuf and illustrated by Ashley Barron, is centred around a young girl who is visually impaired and is exploring the city she lives in. Along with her father, the pair use their senses to take in all the city has to offer — from the market, a concert and the playground. 

Lebeuf is a Canadian photographer and writer. He is the author of My Forest is Green and My Ocean is Blue. Barron is a Toronto-based illustrator specializing in cut-paper collages. Her work has appeared in children's books, newspapers, set designs and shop windows.

Rounding out the longlist this year are Outdoor School by Morrell Borsato, Two Indians by Falen Johnson (host of the CBC podcasts The Secret Life of Canada and Buffy), Work for a Million by Amanda Deibert, Massey Hall by David McPherson and My Face in the Light by Martha Schabas.

The annual awards offer $10,000 to the winner, and $1,000 to each shortlisted writer.

The shortlist will be announced in Toronto on Sept. 25 and the winner will be announced at a gala ceremony on Nov. 16.

The 2022 Toronto Book Awards Jury is made up of Ann Yu-Kyung Choi, Margaret Henry, Khashayar "Kess" Mohammadi, Phillip Dwight Morgan and Brenda Wastasecoot. 

Kim Echlin won last year for her novel Speak, Silence.

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