OKCanLit: The Artisanal Wordsmith

OKCanLit: The Artisanal Wordsmith
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You have a distinctive style and refined taste, and everything in your life undergoes careful consideration: why would your reads be any different? Your OKCanLit match is The Artisanal Wordsmith; presses that exhibit unique, visible editorial and art direction, for books that look as good as they read.

Some of these presses hearken back to some combination of the old model of publisher-printer-bookseller. Coach House Books presses books like Sina Queyras' MxT straight off their Heidelbergs in their namesake coach house in Toronto. Both Wolsak & Wynn in Hamilton and Biblioasis in Windsor are publishers and storefronts, welcoming readers in to peruse their critically-acclaimed novels, short stories, non-fiction and poetry in a bookstore setting and engaging with the local arts community.

TAWs extend their reach outside of their physical locations, too – their books exhibit a cosmopolitanism that speaks to Canadians and readers all over the world. ECW Press and Invisible Publishing each had books nominated for the Giller Prize in 2014 and 2013, respectively: ECW Arjun Basu's Waiting for the Man and Jennifer LoveGrove's Watch How We Walk, and Invisible How to Get Along with Women, by Elisabeth de Mariaffi. View books in this list

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By Sina Queryas

Winner of the 2014 A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry

MxT, or ‘Memory x Time,’ is one of the formulas acclaimed poet Sina Queyras posits as a way to measure grief. These poems mourn the dead by turning memories over and over like an old coin, by invoking other poets, by appropriating ... Read more

Watch How We Walk

By Jennifer LoveGrove

Alternating between a woman’s childhood in a small town and as an adult in the city, this novel traces a Jehovah Witness family’s splintering belief system, their isolation, and the erosion of their relationships. As Emily becomes closer to her closeted Uncle Tyler, she ... Read more

How to Get Along With Women

By Elisabeth de Mariaffi

A sharply original debut collection, How To Get Along With Women showcases Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s keen eye and inventive voice. Infused with a close and present danger, these stories tighten the knot around power, identity, and sexuality, and draw the reader into the pivotal ... Read more

Umbrella Mender, The

By Christine Fischer Guy

"In her haunting debut novel, The Umbrella Mender, Christine Fischer Guy transports us to 1950s Moose Factory, where the beleaguered staff of the local hospital are fighting to stem the tide of tuberculosis among the indigenous peoples of the North. At the heart of the novel ... Read more


By Spencer Gordon

Winner of the 2013 CBC Overlookie Bookie Award for Most Underrated Canadian Book!

An admirer of Miley Cyrus performs a three-thousand word sentence in defence of his passion. Actor Matthew McConaughey descends into a surreal, stupefying desert of the soul. An aging porn star ... Read more


By Stacey May Fowles

Ronnie, an engaged hairdresser with a history of teenage recklessness and mystery childhood illnesses, feels stifled by the unavoidable pull of the predictable, comfortable life laid out before her. Charlie, an anxiety-ridden, award-winning writer, feels suffocated by his literary ... Read more

Enjoy It While It Hurts

By JonArno Lawson

Winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry

Enjoy It While It Hurts is an edifying miscellany of quarrelsome quips, holiday oddities, benevolent advice, curious thoughts and comically apocalyptic melancholia. This delightful collection of light ... Read more


By Christian Bok

Winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize (2002)

The word ‘eunoia,’ which literally means ‘beautiful thinking,’ is the shortest word in English that contains all five vowels. Directly inspired by the Oulipo (l’Ouvroir de LittÃ? ©rature Potentielle), a French writers’ group ... Read more