We can’t count our age on one hand anymore: All Lit Up turns six today! To commemorate our birthday, we’re counting to six with a look back on six of our favourite moments on the blog AND six + six books we loved this year (+ discounts & a contest!). Get yourself a cupcake and read to celebrate #ALUturns6.
At All Lit Up we know Canadian books to be compelling, genre-bending, out-of-the-box literature that we love to share. In January we celebrated our national pride and brought you interviews with authors from every provinces and just about every territory along with excerpts from their books. We stand on guard for good lit.
We’ve said it before: National Poetry Month is our Superbowl. This April we pumped our fists with an action-packed celebration of twenty-four poets who write in all kinds of spaces and explore all kinds of styles and themes that delight and soothe our spirits. All month we interviewed poets and shared excerpts from their latest collections and brought you a Choose Your Own Poetry game where you play as the narrator with one ultimate goal: to visit your local bookstore and browse new poetry. (Bonus: our Choose Your Own Poetry game is still available to play here.)
Author Natasha Ramoutar gave us a treat with her timely and thoughtful piece on writing poetry through times of crisis and the value of poetry during such times. Informed by her conversations with poets Kathryn Mockler and Britta B, Natasha got us thinking about how we write in response to global events, like a pandemic, and how we disseminate work when it’s urgent. And she breaks it down so well: “When I consider reasons why one might be compelled to write during this pandemic, I return to this idea of protest and uprising—that we might write in response to the systems which allowed the pandemic to occur and the inequalities that are being exacerbated in its wake. […] I think of this poetry as that which keeps us accountable. Verse as memory-keeper, these lines as a living archive.”
The Spring 2020 books season looked more than a little different this year with no in-person book launches and authors unable to publicly celebrate their new books. That’s why we created the All Lit Up Indie Reading Room, a month-long welcome party of new books. All May long we hosted eight virtual events (featuring a total of 18 authors!) via Zoom with readings and Q&As to give you a chance to connect live with your fave authors. And, no doubt, we recorded ’em — peek our YouTube channel here.
Give us a reading challenge and we’ll take it. Throughout 2020, All Lit Up staffer Tan Light is participating in BookRiot’s Read Harder Challenge—a reading task designed to expand readerly boundaries—and doing so with an indie twist. So far, she’s completed fourteen challenges which have included reading books by refugees to reading a retelling of a classic by an author of colour to reading books about climate change. Check out the challenges she’s completed here and stay tuned for more until the end of the year!
Our fifth annual Summer Book Club was such a gift in a time of isolation. And despite not being in our usual patio-side spot, we got to spend two months gabbing virtually with publishers, authors, and each other about books like it was our job. We loved chatting about Shani Mootoo’s page-turner of a novel Polar Vortex (Book*hug Press) and Ursula Pflug’s magical short story collection Seeds and Other Stories (Inanna Publications)—book clubs FTW!
6 + 6 Books
We’re celebrating with books, natch. Check out our roundup of books that have made an impact on us over the last year with a sweet 20% sale price on them, to match. What’s more is that if you buy one of our #ALUturns6 selections we’ll enter your name in a random draw to win a $50 All Lit Up gift card! Just use the promo code #ALUturns6 at checkout.