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Browse the winningest books of 2021 with this handy list: Canada Reads, Governor General’s Awards, Giller Nominees…they’re all here.
Showing 1–16 of 19 results
This autobiographical novel traces the journey of a woman from her youth in Socialist Eastern Europe to her transplanted life in Montreal, Canada. She is a precocious, thoughtful child, whose early life in Romania is marked by the scarcities of the time and the political games needed to survive, but she is not unhappy. Placed around her family’s house are hives–the bees discourage the secret police from visiting too often–and they provide both a childish diversion and an overarching metaphor for departure and home. An elegant, candid book, A Cemetery for Bees is an elegy for childhood, a declaration of francophile love, and a complicated look at who we are, who we were, and where we might find ourselves.
A History of the Theories of Rain explores the strange effect our current sense of impending doom has on our relation to time, approaching the unfolding climate catastrophe through its dissolution of the categories of “man-made” and “natural.” How do we go on with our daily lives while a disastrous future impinges upon every moment?
Stephen Collis provides no easy answers and offers no simple hope. Instead, he probes our current state of anxiety with care, humour, and an unflinching gazing into the darkness we have gathered around ourselves. Asking what form a resistance to the tenor of these out-of-joint times might take, A History of the Theories of Rain explores the links between climate’s “tipping points” and the borders constraining the plants, animals, and peoples forcibly displaced by a radically altered world ecology.
2021 CANADA READS FINALIST
Winner, Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging Writers (Writers’ Trust of Canada); Longlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize; finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award; finalist, Amazon Canada First Novel Award; finalist, Lambda Literary Award
An intergenerational saga about three Nigerian women: a novel about food, family, and forgiveness.
Butter Honey Pig Bread is a story of choices and their consequences, of motherhood, of the malleable line between the spirit and the mind, of finding new homes and mending old ones, of voracious appetites, of queer love, of friendship, faith, and above all, family.
francesca ekwuyasi’s debut novel tells the interwoven stories of twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi feels she was born an Ogbanje, a spirit that plagues families with misfortune by dying in childhood to cause its mother misery. She believes that she has made the unnatural choice of staying alive to love her human family and now lives in fear of the consequences of that decision.
Some of Kambirinachi’s worst fears come true when her daughter, Kehinde, experiences a devasting childhood trauma that causes the family to fracture in seemingly irreversible ways. As soon as she’s of age, Kehinde moves away and cuts contact with her twin sister and mother. Alone in Montreal, she struggles to find ways to heal while building a life of her own. Meanwhile, Taiye, plagued by guilt for what happened to her sister, flees to London and attempts to numb the loss of the relationship with her twin through reckless hedonism.
Now, after more than a decade of living apart, Taiye and Kehinde have returned home to Lagos to visit their mother. It is here that the three women must face each other and address the wounds of the past if they are to reconcile and move forward.
***2021 GOVERNOR GENERAL’S LITERARY AWARD FINALIST, DRAMA CATEGORY***
Crippled is a story about love, death, life and redemption. You will laugh, you will cry and you will walk away with a new perspective about life and what matters.
Paul Power’s play, Crippled, has garnered awards and glowing reviews for his portrayal of his experiences as a person living with a disability. Now in a published form, his story of challenge, loss, and redemption presents universal themes and emotions told through a voice that is not often heard in the mainstream. Though dark and mournful, there is a thread of hope in the way the characters share their lives and memories, underlining both differences and similarities in experience. In highlighting his own personal turmoil, Power evokes empathy and introspection in his audience. From childhood conflicts to overwhelming adult loss and grief, from despair to hope, Crippled presents the commonality of our inner struggles with personal demons, framed against our exterior struggles with the perceptions of others.
***IPPY: INDEPENDENT VOICE AWARD – WINNER***
***LONGLISTED FOR CANADA READS 2021***
***APMA BEST ATLANTIC PUBLISHED BOOK AWARD: WINNER***
***STEPHEN LEACOCK MEADAL FOR HUMOUR: SHORTLIST***
***THOMAS RADDALL ATLANTIC FICTION AWARD: SHORTLIST***
***MARGARET AND JOHN SAVAGE FIRST BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION: SHORTLIST***
***FOREWORD INDIES HUMOUR AWARD: SILVER***
***THE GLOBE AND MAIL SUMMER’S HOTTEST READS***
***2021 RELIT AWARD: LONG SHORTLIST***
In late 2008, as the world’s economy crumbles and Barack Obama ascends to the White House, the remarkably unremarkable Milton Ontario – not to be confused with Milton, Ontario – leaves his parents’ basement in Middle-of-Nowhere, Saskatchewan, and sets forth to find fame, fortune, and love in the Euro-lite electric sexuality of Montreal; to bask in the endless twenty-something Millennial adolescence of the Plateau; to escape the infinite flatness of Saskatchewan and find his messiah – Leonard Cohen. Hilariously ironic and irreverent, in Dirty Birds, Morgan Murray generates a quest novel for the twenty-first century—a coming-of-age, rom-com, crime-farce thriller—where a hero’s greatest foe is his own crippling mediocrity as he seeks purpose in art, money, power, crime, and sleeping in all day.
In 1973, fifteen-year old Qʷóqʷésk?i?, or “Squito” Bob, is a mixed-blood N?e?kepmx boy trying to find his place in a small, mostly Native town. His closest friends are three n?e?kepmx boys and a white kid, an obnoxious runt who thinks himself superior to his friends. Accepted as neither Native nor white, Squito often feels like the stray dog of the group and envisions a short, disastrous life for himself. Home Waltz follows the boys over thirty-six hours on what should be one of the best weekends of their lives. With a senior girls volleyball tournament in town, Squito’s favourite band performing, and enough alcohol for ten people, the boys dream of girls, dancing and possibly romance. A story of love, heartbreak and tragedy, Home Waltz delves into suicide, alcohol abuse, body image insecurities, and systemic racism. A coming of age story like no other, Home Waltz speaks to the indigenous experience of growing up in a world that doesn’t want or trust you.
2021 CANADA READS WINNER
WINNER, Lambda Literary Award; Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
Finalist, Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction; Amazon Canada First Novel Award; Indigenous Voices Award; Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award; Firecracker Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
A tour-de-force debut novel about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man and proud NDN glitter princess who must reckon with his past when he returns home to his reserve.
“You’re gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine” is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling debut novel by poet Joshua Whitehead.
Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the “rez”–and his former life–to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The seven days that follow are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny’s life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages–and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life.
Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.
After five years of working with bees on her farm in northern Alberta, Jenna Butler shares with the reader the rich experience of keeping hives. Starting with a rare bright day in late November as the bees are settling in for winter she takes us through a year in beekeeping on her small piece of the boreal forest. Weaving together her personal story with the practical aspects of running a farm she takes us into the worlds of honeybees and wild bees. She considers the twinned development of the canola and honey industries in Alberta and the impact of crop sprays, debates the impact of introduced flowers versus native flowers, the effect of colony collapse disorder and the protection of natural environments for wild bees. But this is also the story of women and bees and how beekeeping became Jenna Butler’s personal survival story.
Jiv is “Canadian.” And “Indian.” And “Hindu.” And “West Indian.” “Trinidadian,” too. Or maybe he’s just colonized. He’s not the “white boy” he was teased as within his immigrant household. Especially since his Nova Scotian neighbours seemed to think he was Black. Except for the Black people—they were pretty sure he wasn’t. He’s not an Arab, and allegedly not a Muslim—at least that’s what he started claiming after 9/11. Whatever he is, the public education system was able to offer him the chance to learn about his culture from a coffee table book on “Eastern Mythology.” And then he had a religious epiphany while delivering a calf in Trinidad. By now, Jiv’s collected a lot of observations about trying to find your place in your world.
In this funny, fresh, and skeptical take on the identity play, Jivesh Parasram blends personal storytelling and ritual to offer the Hin-dos and Hin-don’ts within the intersections of all of his highly hyphenated cultures. This story asks the gut-punching questions: What divides us? Who is served by the constructs of cultural identity? And what are we willing to accept in the desire to belong? Then again—it doesn’t really matter, because we are all Jiv.
Personal, primordial, and pulsing with syncopated language, Tolu Oloruntoba?s poetic debut, The Junta of Happenstance, is a compendium of dis-ease. This includes disease in the traditional sense, as informed by the poet?s time as a physician, and dis-ease as a primer for family dysfunction, the (im)migrant experience, and urban / corporate anxiety. In the face of struggles against social injustice, Oloruntoba navigates the contemporary moment with empathy and intelligence, finding beauty in chaos, and strength in suffering. The Junta of Happenstance is an important and assured debut.