Books·Books of the Year

The best Canadian nonfiction of 2022

Here are the CBC Books picks for the top Canadian nonfiction of the year!

Here are the CBC Books picks for the top Canadian nonfiction of the year!

Son of Elsewhere by Elamin Abdelmahmoud

Elamin Abdelmahmoud is the author of Son of Elsewhere. (CBC, McClelland & Stewart)

In his memoir Son of Elsewhere, Elamin Abdelmahmoud recounts his experience leaving his native Sudan and moving to Kingston, Ont. Like all teens, he spent his adolescence trying to figure out who he was, but he had to do it while learning to balance a new racial identity and all the assumptions that came with being Black and Muslim. Son of Elsewhere explores how our experiences and environments can define our identity and who we truly are. 

Abdelmahmoud is the host of CBC's weekly pop culture podcast Pop Chat, co-host of CBC's political podcast Party Lines and a frequent culture commentator for CBC News. He will host the upcoming CBC Radio show CommotionSon of Elsewhere is his first book.

LISTEN | Elamin Abdelmahmoud discusses Son of Elsewhere with Piya Chattopadhyay:

Elamin Abdelmahmoud has become a familiar face and voice to many Canadians. He's the host of CBC's Pop Chat and Party Lines podcasts. He's also known for his culture writing and political commentary. Now Abdelmahmoud is telling his own story in a new book, Son of Elsewhere: A Memoir in Pieces. His essays explore the culture shock he felt immigrating to Canada from Sudan as 12-year-old, how he carved out his identity and figured out his place in the world. He tells Piya Chattopadhyay how becoming a fan of professional wrestling and the teen drama The O.C. helped him navigate cultural barriers as an adolescent in Kingston, Ontario — and why country music and the American south speak to him as an adult.

Cyclettes by Tree Abraham

The green book cover features an ink drawing of a bicycle with a real-life seashell sitting on top of the drawing.
Cyclettes is a book by Tree Abraham. (Book*hug Press, Unnamed Press)

Interspersed with drawings, maps, diagrams and scientific charts, Cyclettes probes the millennial experience, asking what it means to live a meaningful life, especially amid economic and environmental uncertainty. Both a travelogue and a book of philosophical introspection, the multidisciplinary work asks big questions in a bid to understand our place in the world. 

Tree Abraham is a book designer, illustrator and writer. 

Still Hopeful by Maude Barlow

Activist and author Maude Barlow's latest book is called Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism. (ECW Press, Michelle Valberg)

Maude Barlow counters the prevailing atmosphere of pessimism and offers lessons of hope that she has learned from a lifetime of activism in the memoir Still Hopeful. Barlow has been involved in three major movements: second-wave feminism, the battle against free trade and globalization and the fight for water justice. She emphasizes that effective activism is about building a movement and finding like-minded people rather than making the goal the focus.

Barlow is a Canadian activist and writer. She is the bestselling author of 20 books and served as the senior water advisor to the UN General Assembly. Barlow was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right. She lives in Ottawa.

LISTEN | Maude Barlow reflects on a lifetime of activism:

As a leader in Canada's women's movement, Maude Barlow helped score victory after victory. But when her activism moved to combating globalization and the dominant economic narratives of our time, she had to dig deep to find hope. The author and activist joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss her book Still Hopeful: Lessons from a Lifetime of Activism.

Half-Bads in White Regalia by Cody Caetano

A composite photo of a book cover featuring geometric primary colours overlaying a photo of a boy in the field and the book's author, a bald young man staring straight into the camera.
Half-Bads in White Regalia is a memoir by Cody Caetano. (Hamish Hamilton Canada, Kris Caetano)

Half-Bads in White Regalia traces Cody Caetano's unique upbringing living in a rural house with his siblings after his parents split up and left them behind — his mother trying to discover her Anishinaabe roots after finding out her Sixties Scoop origin story and his Portuguese immigrant father drifting aimlessly. 

Cody Caetano is a Toronto-based writer of Anishinaabe and Portuguese descent and an off-reserve member of Pinaymootang First Nation. Half-Bads in White Regalia is his first book.

LISTEN | Cody Caetano talks to Shelagh Rogers about Half-Bads in White Regalia:

Cody Caetano talks to Shelagh Rogers about his memoir, Half- Bads in White Regalia.

Field Notes on Listening by Kit Dobson

Field Notes on Listening is a book by Kit Dobson. (Wolsak & Wynn, Aubrey Jean Hanson)

Kit Dobson reflects on how little modern-day humans interact with the natural world and how that has changed our place within it. Field Notes on Listening is a response to our lack of connection with the land, the difficult history of how many came to be here and what we could discover if we listened to the world around us. From Dobson's lost family farm to climate change and the effects of late-stage capitalism, the book moves through time to grapple with growing challenges. 

Dobson is a writer, editor and professor. His work includes Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization, Producing Canadian Literature: Authors Speak on the Literary Marketplace and Malled: Deciphering Shopping in Canada. Dobson teaches in the Department of English at the University of Calgary. 

Kinauvit? by Norma Dunning

A headshot of a woman with brown hair wearing a black shirt under a blue, white and black cardigan is beside the cover of Kinauvit? The black book cover features nine copper-coloured circles spaced out evenly in a grid. Each circle features a stamping of a crown and the words "Eskimo Identification Canada" around the edge of each circle.
Kinauvit? is a book by Norma Dunning. (Emily Welz Studios, Douglas & McIntyre)

When Dr. Norma Dunning applied to the Nunavut Beneficiary program, seeking to confirm her identity as an Inuk woman, she was asked one question that would set her down a path to understand the history of Canadian bureaucracy. She was asked, "What was your disc number?" This question begged others, leading Dunning to conduct a series of heartfelt interviews with Inuit community members who experienced the Eskimo Identification Tag System. Kinauvit? examines the treatment experienced by the small Indigenous population in Canada at the hands of the Canadian government. Dunning provides a comprehensive look into this dehumanizing practice and shares the voices of those who, under this system, were only ever viewed as a number. 

Dunning is an Inuk writer who currently lives in Edmonton. She wrote Tainnawhich won the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for fiction. She is also the author of the short story collection Annie Muktuk and Other Stories and the poetry collection Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit IdentityAnnie Muktuk and Other Stories won the 2018 Danuta Gleed Literary Award, which recognizes the best debut short story collection of the year.

LISTEN | Norma Dunning joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss Kinauvit?:

For decades, the Canadian government replaced Inuit names with numbers. More than 50 years after that system ended, its effects are still reverberating. Inuk writer, scholar and grandmother Norma Dunning joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss her book, Kinauvit?: What's Your Name?, and her mission to rebuild her own ties to traditional ways and pave a path for other Inuit and Indigenous people to do the same.

The Girl in the Middle by Anais Granofsky

(HarperCollins, Justin Aranha)

Anais Granofsky is a Canadian woman of mixed Black American and Jewish heritage. Her parents met in the early 1970s: her father is the son of a very wealthy Toronto Jewish family; her mother is one of fifteen children from a poor Black Methodist family. The Girl in the Middle reveals how Granofsky is forced to navigate her way through issues of race, class and social standing. When she became a star on the TV series Degrassi Junior High, she came to a better understanding of her place in the world.

Granofsky is an actor, director, producer and writer. Best known for her role as Lucy Fernandez on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, she has directed and starred in a number of films. She is also developing a fictional TV series loosely based on her childhood. The Girl in the Middle is Granofsky's first book.

LISTEN |  Anais Granofsky reflects on her life and career:

When she was a teenager, Anais Granofsky played Lucy Fernandez on the groundbreaking TV series Degrassi Junior High. In her new memoir, The Girl in the Middle: Growing Up Between Black and White, Rich and Poor, she describes her childhood split between two very different worlds. Granofsky lived in social housing with her mom — a Black woman — who raised her mostly alone. But on weekends, the actor would visit her dad’s parents — one of the wealthiest Jewish families in Toronto — at their mansion. Granofsky joined Tom Power to share her story and how acting helped her feel like she finally belonged.

Laughing with the Trickster by Tomson Highway

A man laughs while covering his mouth with his hand. A book cover depicts the title, Laughing with the Trickster, with an image of a raven.
Laughing with the Trickster is a nonfiction book by Tomson Highway. (House of Anansi, Sean Howard)

In Laughing with the Tricksterthe 2022 Massey Lectures, Cree novelist and playwright Tomson Highway explores five themes that are central to the human condition: language, creation, sex and gender, humour and death. He also compares Christian, classical and Cree mythologies and reveals their contributions to Western thought, life and culture. 

Highway is a Cree novelist, children's author, playwright and musician. Highway's work includes the theatre classics The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, the novel Kiss of the Fur Queen and children's novels Caribou SongDragon Fly Kites and Fox on the Ice. He was recently appointed as an officer of the Order of Canada at the end of 2021 for his contribution to theatre and Canadian culture. His memoir Permanent Astonishment won the 2021 Writers' Trust Hilary Weston Prize.

LISTEN | Tomson Highway on the importance of laughter:

Author and playwright Tomson Highway is presenting the 2022 Massey Lectures -- called "Laughing With the Trickster".

Some of My Best Friends by Tajja Isen

Some of My Best Friends is an essay collection by Tajja Isen. (Karen Isen, Doubleday Canada )

Some of My Best Friends is an essay collection that examines race, social justice and the limits of good intentions. The timely book explores issues such as the animation industry's pivot away from colourblind casting, the pursuit of diverse representation in the literary world, the law's refusal to see inequality, the cozy illusions of nationalism and more.

Born in Toronto, Tajja Isen is a writer, editor and voice actor. Currently based in New York, Isen is the editor-in-chief of Catapult magazine. Some of My Best Friends is her debut book. She also co-edited the essay collections The World as We Knew It and The Walrus Book of True Crime.

LISTEN | Tajja Isen on how we talk about race:

Corporations throw words like "diversity," "inclusion" and "anti-racist" around a lot these days, but Canadian writer Tajja Isen says they often amount to little more than lip service. She tells us about her new book, Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service, and why she believes the gap between intention and action has never been wider.

The Power of Story by Harold R. Johnson

An older Cree man with two blonde braids, a black brimmed hat and blue eyes framed by glasses black glasses looks to the right of camera. He is pictured shoulder-up wearing a brown collared button-up and black leather jacket, set against a deep orange background. Beside him, the white book cover features the author's name, Harold R. Johnson is blue text at the top, the title "The Power of Story" in yellow text in the middle and the subtitle "On Truth, the Trickster, and New Fictions for a New Era" in red.
The Power of Story is a book by Harold R. Johnson. (House of Anansi Press, Biblioasis)

The Power of Story reflects on the power of storytelling — from personal narratives to historical sagas — as they relate to humanity and even how humans structure societies. In this posthumous nonfiction work, Harold R. Johnson makes a case for how stories can shape and change our lives for the better if only we are willing to employ story as the world-building tool that it is.

Johnson, a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, was a lawyer and writer whose groundbreaking book Firewater: How Alcohol Is Killing My People (and Yours) was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction. He died in February 2022.

LISTEN | Harold R. Johnson reflects on his life and legacy:

Harold R. Johnson talks to Shelagh Rogers about his life, his writing career and the lessons he's learned.

Jennie's Boy by Wayne Johnston

Jennie's Boy is a memoir by Wayne Johnston. (Knopf Canada, Mark Raynes Roberts)

The latest book from storyteller and novelist Wayne Johnston is a sad, tender and funny memoir of his childhood in Newfoundland. At seven years old, Johnston was sick and too skinny. He had insomnia and a cough that wouldn't go away, despite the doctors removing his tonsils, adenoids and appendix in an effort to cure him. Jennie's Boy, named after Johnston's mother, is his tribute to his family and a community that were incredibly protective, but also tired of making allowances for him. 

Wayne Johnston is a writer from Newfoundland. His novels include The Divine RyansA World ElsewhereThe Custodian of ParadiseThe Navigator of New York and The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. His 1999 memoir Baltimore's Mansion won the RBC Taylor Prize. The Colony of Unrequited Dreams was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a 2003 Canada Reads finalist, when it was defended by now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His most recent novel is The Mystery of Right and Wrong.

LISTEN | Wayne Johnston discusses Jennie's Boy with Shelagh Rogers:

Wayne Johnston talks to Shelagh Rogers about his book, Jennie's Boy: A Newfoundland Childhood.

Abolitionist Intimacies by El Jones

El Jones is the author of Abolitionist Intimacies. (Hamzah Amin)

In Abolitionist Intimacies, El Jones analyzes the prison abolition movement through the Black feminist principles of care and collectivity. Jones explores how intimacy is controlled and policed in the prison system, such as through prison visits, strip searches and controlling connection to community. Examining these principles in the context of the history of Canadian prisons, settler colonialism and anti-Black racism, Jones argues that intimacy is vital to the movement for justice and liberation in the carceral state. 

Jones is a poet, journalist, professor and activist from Halifax. She is also a journalism instructor at the University of King's College and the fifth poet laureate of Halifax.

LISTEN | Why El Jones believes in a world without prisons:

A recent report from Canada's top prison watchdog offered a bleak picture of this country's track record when it comes to incarcerated people, particularly Black and Indigenous prisoners. It found those inmates face rampant racial discrimination, bias and stereotyping. And in many cases, it's getting worse. Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with long-time prisoner advocate, poet, professor, and activist El Jones, who believes there is a clear, if not simple, way forward: Get rid of prisons altogether. Her new book, Abolitionist Intimacies, examines the prison abolition movement, shares personal stories of prisoners and their families, as well as Jones's own poetry and prose.

Namwayut by Chief Robert Joseph

Namwayut is a book by Chief Robert Joseph. (Page Two, Reconciliation Canada)

Namwayut follows Chief Robert Joseph — the Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk and a globally recognized peace-builder — as he takes readers on a journey, starting with his childhood surviving residential school to his current role as a leader. Chief Joseph teaches readers about honour and respect for the truth of stories, so they can discover how to dismantle the walls of discrimination, hatred and racism.

Robert Joseph is a Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk People, an Ambassador for Reconciliation Canada and the Chair of the Native American Leadership Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation. He received the 2016 Indspire Lifetime Achievement Award. 

LISTEN | Chief Robert Joseph talks to Shelagh Rogers about Namwayut:

Chief Robert Joseph talks to Shelagh Rogers about his book, Namwayut.

Kiss the Red Stairs by Marsha Lederman

Kiss the Red Stairs is a book by Marsha Lederman. (McClelland & Stewart, Ben Nelms)

Marsha Lederman delves into her parents' Holocaust stories in the wake of her own divorce, investigating how trauma moves through generations and how history has shaped her own life. Kiss the Red Stairs is a memoir of survival, intergenerational trauma and discovery.

Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for the Globe and Mail. She previously worked for CBC Radio. Born in Toronto, Lederman lives in Vancouver. 

LISTEN | Marsha Lederman on the rise of anti-semitism:

With B'nai Brith and the Anti Defamation League reporting record levels of antisemitic incidents in Canada and the United States, Marsha Lederman says the brazen and hateful comments made by Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, need to be called out more forcefully. She says Ye's profile and cultural cachet allows him to push antisemitism to audiences who might not otherwise be so susceptible to it.

The Myth of Normal by Gabor Maté, with Daniel Maté

The Myth of Normal is a book by Gabor Maté and Daniel Maté. (Knopf Canada, Ken Wilkinson)

In The Myth of Normal, Gabor Maté examines why chronic illness and general health problems are on the rise in Western countries with good healthcare systems. Maté explains how Western medicine, while technologically advanced, fails to treat the whole person and ignores cultural stressors. With his son Daniel, Maté untangles common myths about what makes us sick and offers a guide on health and healing.

Gabor Maté is a doctor and an expert on topics such as addiction, stress and childhood development. He's the author of several books, including In the Realm of Hungry GhostsWhen the Body Says and The Cost of Hidden Stress.

Daniel Maté is a composer and lyricist whose musicals include The Longing and the Short of ItHansel & Gretl & Heidi & Gunter and Middle School Mysteries. He's received the Kleban Prize for Lyrics and the ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award.

LISTEN | Dr. Gabor Maté talks to Shelagh Rogers about The Myth of Normal

Shelagh Rogers spoke with Dr. Gabor Maté about The Myth of Normal, in front of a live audience in Victoria in 2022.

Rehearsals for Living by Robyn Maynard & Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Canadian academics Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson turned their pandemic letters into a new book called Rehearsals for Living. (Stacy Lee Photography, Nadya Kwandibens)

The concept behind the book Rehearsals for Living formed during the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. Authors Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson began writing each other letters — a gesture sparked by a desire for kinship and connection during a trying time. Rooted in Black and Indigenous perspectives on race, gender and class, Rehearsals for Living is an epistolary dialogue about the world we live in and a need for change.

Maynard is a Montreal-based Black feminist writer, activist and educator. Maynard's writing and work focus on documenting racist and gender-based state violence. Her debut book, Policing Black Lives, traced the underreported modern and historical realities of anti-Blackness within a Canadian context.

​Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, activist, musician, artist, author and member of Alderville First Nation. Her work often centres on the experiences of Indigenous Canadians. Her books include Islands of Decolonial LoveThis Accident of Being LostAs We Have Always Done and Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies.

LISTEN | Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson reflect on the pandemic letter-writing project that became a book:

The experience of living through the pandemic has, at times, left many of us feeling disconnected from the world and from each other. And as more challenges, from police brutality to climate change, were layered on top... Canadian writers Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson found a way to connect and navigate the chaos around them: They started writing letters to each other. Their exchanges show how they coped during the pandemic and contain insights into the way our country's history of colonization and slavery led us to this moment. Maynard and Betasamosake Simpson join Piya Chattopadhyay to talk about their relationship and how their letters became a new book, called Rehearsals for Living.

Invisible Boy by Harrison Mooney

Invisible Boy is a memoir by Harrison Mooney. (HarperCollins Canada, Transatlantic Agency)

Invisible Boy is a memoir by Harrison Mooney that details his adoption into an evangelical white family and navigating zealotry, paranoia and prejudice. Born to a West African mother, he was merely an infant when he was adopted. He grew up as a Black child in a fundamentalist revivalist church and was constantly abused for the colour of his skin. Twenty-five years later, his biological mom told her son the truth: she wanted to keep him. This book examines the controversial practice of transracial adoption.

Mooney is a writer and journalist who has worked for nearly a decade at the Vancouver Sun. He was born to a West African mother and adopted as an infant by a white family in British Columbia's Bible belt. He has also been published in the National Post, the Guardian, Yahoo and Macleans. Mooney lives in East Vancouver.

LISTEN | Harrison Mooney discusses Invisible Boy:

The Vancouver Public Library's writer-in-residence has a new memoir about being a black boy raised by a white family before being meeting his birth mother in his 20s. Author Harrison Mooney discusses his book: "Invisible Boy."

Sideways by Josh O'Kane

On the left is a bearded man in a grey shirt standing near a lake. On the right is a white and blue book cover that says "Sideways. The city that google couldn't buy" in black text.
SIdeways is a book by Josh O'Kane. (Penguin Canada)

Sideways uncovers the investigation into the bigger story behind the 2017 Sidewalks Lab fiasco in Toronto. Told by the Globe and Mail technology reporter Josh O'Kane, Sideways details former New York mayor Dan Doctoroff's bid for a piece of land on Toronto's underdeveloped waterfront. With support from Google CEO Larry Page and his chairman Eric Schmidt, Doctoroff's bid won. But soon, questions emerged about how much the public would gain from this proposed high-tech neighbourhood and what data would be collected. 

O'Kane is a Toronto writer and reporter with the Globe and Mail. He is also the author of Nowhere with You, a deep dive into musician Joel Plaskett's life and career. In 2019, he won the Germany's Arthur F. Burns Award for transatlantic political and cultural reporting. He's also received multiple Best in Canada awards from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. 

Bedroom Rapper by Rollie Pemberton

(McClelland & Stewart, Rollie Pemberton)

Rollie Pemberton is best known by his stage name, Cadence Weapon. The Edmonton-born rapper won the 2021 Polaris Prize for his album Parallel World.  His memoir, Bedroom Rapper, intertwines his own personal journey in the music industry with an in-depth exploration of the history of hip hop. 

Pemberton's writing has been published in Pitchfork, The Guardian, Wired and Hazlitt. Currently based in Toronto, he is a former poet laureate for the City of Edmonton.

LISTEN | Why Cadence Weapon is sharing his story:

Rollie Pemberton, aka Cadence Weapon discusses his new memoir, “Bedroom Rapper: Cadence Weapon on Hip-Hop, Resistance and Surviving the Music Industry" with guest host Mary Ito. He's part of Toronto's literary festival, Word On The Street.

Run Towards the Danger by Sarah Polley

Run Towards the Danger is by Sarah Polley (George Pimentel/WIREIMAGE/Getty Images, Penguin Random House)

In this collection of essays, actor, screenwriter and director Sarah Polley reflects on the pieces of her life and the fallibility of memory. From stage fright to high risk childbirth, Polley contemplates these events and how she remembers them. In struggling with the aftermath of a concussion, she must retrain her mind to find a new path forward. Run Towards the Danger is a book about learning, changing and what it's like to live in one's body.

Polley is an Oscar-nominated Canadian 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 shares her story from child star to acclaimed filmmaker:

From her beginnings as a young performer, to becoming an internationally acclaimed filmmaker herself, Sarah Polley has made bold, unusual choices in her work. Her first feature film, Away from Her, won multiple awards, while her personal documentary, Stories We Tell, was included in the Top Ten Canadian Films of All Time. Now she’s published a powerful collection of personal essays called Run Towards the Danger. They probe some of the most difficult experiences she has faced.

Lost in the Valley of Death by Harley Rustad

Lost in the Valley of Death is a book by Harley Rustad. (Michelle Proctor, Knopf Canada)

Justin Alexander Shetler was an American who was trained in wilderness survival. He travelled across America by motorcycle and then made his way to the Philippines, Thailand and Nepal, in search of authentic and meaningful experiences. After several weeks of training, Justin embarked on a journey through the Parvati Valley, a remote and rugged corner of the Indian Himalayas, never to return. Lost in the Valley of Death is about Shetler's disappearance and presumed death — and the many ways we seek fulfilment in life.

Harley Rustad is a writer, journalist and editor from Salt Spring Island, B.C. He is the author of Big Lonely Doug, which was shortlisted for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. Lost in the Valley of Death is his second book. 

LISTEN | Harley Rustad on the allure of the Valley of Death:

U.S. musician and traveller Justin Shetler went to the Parvati Valley in India seeking enlightenment — but never returned. He’s one of dozens who have disappeared in the area. Canadian author Harley Rustad explores what happened and his own journey to that part of the world in his book Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas.

The Mother of All Degrassi by Linda Schuyler

A middle-aged white woman with short blonde hair and bangs sits on a director's chair that is faced away from camera, holding a movie clapperboard. She is wearing a red leather jacket and is turned to face camera. The book cover beside this image features a black and white photo of a woman with curly hair and large, square glasses looking up and to the right. The title of the book appears over the photo with the word "Degrassi" in larger, yellow and purple block font.
The Mother of All Degrassi is a book by Linda Schuyler. (Epitome Pictures, ECW Press)

The co-creator and executive producer of the long-running television series DegrassiLinda Schuyler shares her personal stories about what it took to make it as a woman entrepreneur in the independent Canadian television industry of the early 1980s in her memoir The Mother of All Degrassi. Through sharing stories, insights and some behind-the-scenes memories from the Degrassi set, Schuyler reflects on the lessons she learned along the way. 

Linda Schuyler is the executive producer and co-creator of over 500 episodes of the multi-award-winning Degrassi television franchise. She is a member of both the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. She lives in Toronto.

LISTEN | Linda Schuyler reflects on the enduring appeal of Degrassi:

Degrassi co-creator Linda Schuyler spoke with guest host Talia Schlanger about her new memoir, The Mother Of All Degrassi, which details how she went from being a Toronto high school teacher to an award-winning television producer.

Valley of the Birdtail by Andrew Stobo Sniderman & Douglas Sanderson

A composite photo featuring a blue and green book cover with an illustration of a river and on either side, one of the book's authors, both who are black and white portraits of men with short hair in their 30s.
Valley of the Birdtail is a book by Andrew Stobo Sniderman, right, and Douglas Sanderson. (V. Tony Hauser, HarperCollins Canada)

Valley of the Birdtail is a book that looks at the past 150 years of two connected communities in Manitoba: the small town of Rossbun and the nearby Waywayseecappo Indian reserve. Valley of the Birdtail tells the stories of two families from these communities and intersects their stories with the larger story of Canadian history, and of the impact colonization and racism have throughout history. The book also looks at how reconcilation between these communities could be possible, and suggests a path forward for a better future for all.

Andrew Stobo Sniderman is a writer and lawyer from Montreal. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Globe and Mail and Maclean's.

Douglas Sanderson is a Swampy Cree writer and a professor in law and public policy at the University of Toronto.

LISTEN | Douglas Sanderson and Andrew Stobo Sniderman on what reconciliation could look like:

Douglas Sanderson and Andrew Stobo Sniderman have written a book about what reconciliation looks like in sibling prairie communities

The Long Road Home by Debra Thompson

The Long Road Home is a nonfiction book by Debra Thompson. (Simon & Schuster, Roshayne Alannah Morrison)

In The Long Road Home, Debra Thompson traces the roots of Black identities in North America and the routes they took across the Canada-U.S. border — the world's longest undefended border — in search of freedom and belonging. She starts in Shrewsbury, Ont., then revisits her four homes in the U.S. and at last, settles in Montreal. The places Thompson visits each reveal something about racism, democracy and the myth of multiculturalism. 

Thompson is an associate professor of political science at McGill University and one of only five Black women in a political science department in Canada. She's also the author of The Schematic State: Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census, which received three awards from the American Political Science Association. 

LISTEN | Debra Thompson on anti-Black racism in Canada:

When it comes to anti-Black racism, it's easy to point to the obvious. Empires and oppressors. Slavery and segregation. But political scientist Debra Thompson says we need to make space for nuance. Especially when we talk about racism in Canada. In her new book, The Long Road Home: On Blackness and Belonging, Thompson weaves her political science scholarship with personal narrative to have an honest conversation with Chattopadhyay about how race and anti-Black racism operate in Canada and the U.S.

Scoundrel by Sarah Weinman

Sarah Weinman is the author of Scoundrel (Nina Subin, Knopf Canada)

Scoundrel tells the true story of Edgar Smith, a convicted murderer who was saved from Death Row via an unlikely friendship with a famous figure in the neo-conservative movement. After Smith killed a 15-year-old girl in 1957, he was set to be executed. But then he struck up a friendship with the conservative William F. Buckley Jr., who hired lawyers to fight for a new trial. Smith also enlisted the help of Sophie Wilkins, a book editor he would go on to have an affair with, and would be released from prison to become a bestselling author.

Sarah Weinman is a journalist and author based in New York City. Her other novels include The Real Lolita, which tells the tale of the life of 11-year-old Sally Horner, who was abducted in 1948 and whose story inspired Vladimir Nabokov's seminal novel Lolita. The Real Lolita won the Arthur Ellis Award for best nonfiction crime book.

LISTEN | Sarah Weinman discusses Scoundrel with Shelagh Rogers:

Sarah Weinman on her true-crime thriller Scoundrel, about a convicted killer who conned his way to freedom from Death Row.

The Invisible Siege by Dan Werb

The Invisible Siege is a nonfiction book by Dan Werb. (Crown, Submitted by the Writers' Trust of Canada)

The Invisible Siege: The Rise of Coronaviruses and the Search for a Cure traces the surprisingly long history of the virus family and the scientists who went to war with it, as well as the lessons learned and lost during the SARS and MERS outbreaks. Journalist Dan Werb argues there is no doubt coronaviruses will strike again, and that understanding them is the best way to be prepared.

Werb is an epidemiologist, policy analyst and writer currently based in Toronto. He is also the author of the nonfiction work City of Omens.

Dan Werb is the author of The Invisible Siege: THE RISE OF CORONAVIRUSES AND THE SEARCH FOR A CURE.

Making Love with the Land by Joshua Whitehead

Making Love with the Land is a book by Joshua Whitehead. (Knopf Canada)

Making Love with the Land is a personal work of nonfiction by Joshua Whitehead that employs a range of genres — essay, memoir, notes and confession — to explore queerness, Indigeneity and community work, as well as mental and physical health.

Whitehead is a two-spirit, Oji-nêhiyaw Indigiqueer scholar, poet, nonfiction writer and novelist from Peguis First Nation. His debut noel Jonny Appleseed, was longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and won a Lambda Literary Award for gay fiction. It also won Canada Reads 2021, when it was championed by actor Devery Jacobs.

LISTEN | Joshua Whitehead wants us to rethink how we talk to artists about trauma:

When Joshua Whitehead was writing his first novel, Jonny Appleseed, he had a small, queer Indigenous audience in mind. But the book went on to become a bestseller, picking up literary prizes and winning CBC's Canada Reads. Now, Whitehead says it's time readers, journalists and academics start rethinking how we interrogate Indigenous authors about their work. In his new non-fiction collection of essays, Making Love with the Land, the two-spirit Oji-Cree storyteller from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba addresses all the uncomfortable and harmful questions he was asked in the wake of Jonny Appleseed. He joins Elamin Abdelmahmoud to argue for a more caring and respectful approach to storytelling and story sharing.

Generation Dread by Britt Wray

(Arden Wray/Penguin Random House)

Science writer and scholar Britt Wray specializes in the mental health impacts of the ecological crisis. Her book Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis shares productive ways to cope, think, and act while facing an anxious ecological present and uncertain future.

Wray is a science writer who focuses on the intersection of mental health and climate change. She is also the author of Rise of the Necrofauna. She is currently a fellow at Stanford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has hosted and produced programs for CBC Radio and the BBC.

LISTEN | Britt Wray on what to do about climate anxiety:

Science writer and scholar Britt Wray specializes in the mental health impacts of the ecological crisis. Her new book, Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis, shares productive ways to cope, think, and act while facing an anxious ecological present and uncertain future.

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