12 Days of CanLit: 5 Golden Sheaves

December 8, 2014

We’re doing a spin on the classic holiday ditty, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with our 12 Days of CanLit series this holiday season. Sing along with our countdown of themed book picks, straight down to our number 1 (that’s 78 books in all!).

On the eighth day of 12 Days of CanLit, All Lit Up highlights five golden sheaves! (Or, really just a fancy way of saying, prairie writing)

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The prairies are a very storied portion of the Canadian landscape. They bring to mind wide open plains, a simple way of life, and cowboys. Yet there is a lot more to the modern prairies and this is reflected in the writing being published by our very own Canadian presses. Take an extra beat today to peruse our very eclectic mix of titles, from a queer western to the Regina music scene, on this the eighth day of 12 Days of CanLit.

Bittersweet Sands
by Rick Ranson (NeWest Press)

Ranson spends twenty-four days at an oilsands operation in Fort McMurray, Alberta as it is being shut down. Bittersweet Sands gives readers an inside look to something we really only encounter in the news. Meet the people Ranson encounters, experience what life is really like there, and have a few laughs along the way.

Blue Sunflower Startle
by Yasmin Ladha (Freehand Books)

A young girl and her family immigrate to Calgary and she loves prairie life. However, she recalls that her grandfather’s passion for his country consumed him and so resists settling for geographical monogamy. As she travels the world she is startled by things that remind her of the prairies and aches for this place that might actually be home.

Whitetail Shooting Gallery
by Annette Lapointe (Anvil Press)

Set in a Saskatchewan prairie landscape, Lapointe has created a convincing teenage world filled with all the turmoil, raging emotions, and hormones you’d expect. Whitetail Shooting Gallery is not pastoral or idyllic prairie writing but rather showcases the often desolate landscape and gritty small town rural life. 




Quivering Land
by Roewan Crowe (ARP Books)

The traditional Western gets a gritty feminist makeover in this experimental long poem from Roewan Crowe. Go on a journey of the West with Clem, Violet, and a dead girl in a red dress. Clem gets caught up in the violence of the time and place as he travels through ghost towns; Violet uses art to try to understand this aggression; and the dead girl shakes our romanticized views of the West.   

After You've Gone
by Lori Hahnel (Thistledown Press)

Travelling between different eras, readers will discover the city of Regina both in the 30s and the 80s in this tale of grandmother and granddaughter. In 1935, Lita discovers her love of the guitar and joins a Regina jazz combo. Falling in love with the group’s lead singer seals her fate. Elsa is the lead singer and guitarist for Regina punk band, Speed Queen, in the 80s. She discovers how hard it is to balance career and art, as well as music and family when she falls in love.




While you sing for an extra beat on 5 Golden Sheaves, lets recap what 12 Days of CanLit has brought so far: 12 Lit Locales, 11 Past Prose, 10 True-Life Stories, 9 Monograph Melodies, 8 Notes on Nature, 7 Cathartic Cries, and 6 Mid-Life Crises. We're getting close to the end. Come back tomorrow and see what day nine brings us!


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