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The ReLit Awards celebrate the best in poetry, short fiction, and novels published by independent Canadian presses every year. We love to see it! Browse the ALU finalists here.
Showing 1–16 of 53 results
In the tradition of Sandor Marai, Mihail Sebastian is a captivating Central European storyteller from the first half of the 20th century whose work is being rediscovered by new generations of readers throughout Europe, Latin American and the United States. The 2000 publication of his Journal 1935-1944: The Fascist Years introduced his writing to an English-speaking audience for the first time, garnering universal acclaim. Philip Roth wrote that Sebastian’s Journal “deserves to be on the same shelf as Anne Frank’s Diary and find as huge a readership.”
Outside the English-speaking world, Sebastian’s reputation rests on his fiction. This publication of The Accident marks the first appearance of the author’s fiction in English. A love story set in the Bucharest art world of the 1930s and the Transylvanian mountains, this deeply romantic tale of two people who meet by chance has enthralled readers all over Europe. Along snowy ski trails and among a mysterious family in a mountain cabin, Paul and Nora, united by an attraction that contains elements of repulsion, find the keys to their fate.
Taken from her Native birth mother as a baby. Removed from her adoptive parents’ home at 5 and caught shoplifting at 11. On the streets prostituting herself at 14. This is the stark childhood and adolescence of Tara Lee, the protagonist of As I Remember It. But she triumphs over rejection and abuse, thanks to her indomitable spirit and the efforts of a pair of unique foster parents.Breakdowns in the fostering system make the headlines, but what is day-to-day life really like for foster children and teens? What struggles do they face, and what resources do they draw on? Why are kids in care more liable to get involved in crime?As I Remember It yields first-person insight into these issues, but beyond that, it will draw you in with its unblinking portrait of a young girl who discovers that she possesses a core of strength equal to that of her storybook heroines.
A visceral, vital, unblinking debut collection of poems exploring kinesthetic memory and longing, inherited violence, and the body as a geographical site.
We’re often told that we are given only what we can bear. For some of us our first lessons are in how much pain we’re made to think we deserve–and the resulting scars are always meant to be kept secret. Assiyah Jamilla Touré’s debut collection is a record of those scars–not those inflicted on us by the thousands of little wars we live in everyday, but those that come afterwards, those we inflict upon ourselves to mark the path.
Each and every poem in Autowar was written on a cell phone, transcribing an urgent revisiting of old sites of pain, and also a revisiting of one young person’s power and ability–to hurt themself, or others. These poems are powerful evocations of how even our scars have worlds and lives.
here in the dark, me-space
i am insatiable for my flesh
i just can’t get enough
of tiny after-wounds
that’s me giving, still too soft
for my own teeth
Cover image by Ayo Tsalithaba.
Daniel is a young Métis man searching for a way to exist in a world of lateral violence, intergenerational trauma and systemic racism. Facing obstacles of his own at every turn, he observes and learns from the lived realities of his family members, friends, teachers and lovers. He finds hope in the inherent connection of Indigenous Peopls to the land, and the permanence of culture, language and ceremony in the face of displacement.
Set in Edmonton, this story considers Indigenous youth in relation to the urban constructs and colonial spaces in which they survive—from violence, whitewashing, trauma and racism to language revitalization, relationships with Elders, restaking land claims and ultimately, triumph. Based on Papaschase and Métis oral histories and lived experience, Conor Kerr’s debut novel will not soon be forgotten.
In this jarring collection, Adam Pottle cracks open the world of disability, illuminating it with an idiom that is both unsettling and exhilarating. His subjects are gritty and multifarious: amputee sex swingers; drug-related shootings; institutionalized adolescents coerced into sterilization. Difficult as their circumstances may seem, Pottle’s denizens learn to navigate the world with creative resolve, even defiance, searching for an identity that includes their disabilities rather than spites them. His poems scrape our nerves; they test and undermine poetic forms, challenging our own sensibilities in the process.
In D.A. Lockhart’s Breaking Right ordinary Hoosiers experience extraordinary moments that reveal the complicated correlations between their beliefs, their relationships and the land beneath their feet.
Mallory Amirault’s debut collection Brine is an ambitious land-metaphor; merging history and imagination, it’s a work of poetry that doubles as a prose novel. Subtly unfolding character-led intimacies, it acts as an interruption to long-standing Maritime coloniality. Amirault describes Brine as an aboiteau at the shoreline of a colonial event. Engaging the elemental and political act of arriving and departing, the story is a mechanism that slowly removes salt from the Maritimes, and points to say ?wound.?
Winner of the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction • A Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award Finalist • A 2022 ReLit Award Finalist • A Siskiyou Prize Semi-Finalist • A Miramichi Reader Best Fiction Title of 2021
Oil-soaked and swamp-born, the bruised optimism of Huebert’s stories offer sincere appreciation of the beauty of our wilted, wheezing world.
From refinery operators to long term care nurses, dishwashers to preppers to hockey enforcers, Chemical Valley’s compassionate and carefully wrought stories cultivate rich emotional worlds in and through the dankness of our bio-chemical animacy. Full-hearted, laced throughout with bruised optimism and sincere appreciation of the profound beauty of our wilted, wheezing world, Chemical Valley doesn’t shy away from urgent modern questions—the distribution of toxicity, environmental racism, the place of technoculture in this ecological spasm—but grounds these anxieties in the vivid and often humorous intricacies of its characters’ lives. Swamp-wrought and heartfelt, these stories run wild with vital energy, tilt and teeter into crazed and delirious loves.
In her debut collection, Canadian National Slam Champion Nisha Patel commands her formidable insight and youthful, engaged voice to relay experiences of racism, sexuality, empowerment, grief, and love. These are vitally political, feminist poems for young women of colour, with bold portrayals of confession, hurt, and healing.
Coconut rises fiercely like the sun. These poems bestow light and warmth and the ability to witness the world, but they ask for more than basking; they ask readers to grow and warn that they can be burnt. Above all, Nisha Patel’s work questions and challenges propriety and what it means to be a good woman, second-generation immigrant, daughter, consumer, and lover.
Conspicuous Accents is a must-have volume for anyone who loves to read short fiction! Forty-two literary gems that are conspicuous by their power to move the reader. Some are serious, others are romantic, others still are grim; some are introspective, others comical, and some combine different elements that defy categorization. The settings are also diverse: Canada and Italy dominate, but readers will delight in the multiplicity of geographical and physical locations ? the canals of Venice, a deserted park in an otherwise crowded Toronto, the sky over Beijing, the edge of Mount Vesuvius, a toilet in Perugia, a confessional in a church in Florence. The characters we encounter run the gamut of human behaviour: some are sensitive and sympathetic, others are vile and not the type to associate with ? but all, just like the stories, reveal something about humanity and ultimately about ourselves.
piles shock on top of shock until all one can feel is the places where ones nerves are twitching liked downed Hydro wires. A long poem outlining the trauma and resolution of teenage sexual abuse acts as the centre piece for a collection which examines the chaotic imbalance of power dynamics. These rowdy, risky poems are like sticking your fingers into an electric fan. Whether detailing love torn at every corner, family tragedy or economic anxiety, Nathaniel G. Moore’s fourth collection of poetry examines the pulsing shrapnel years after the case has run cold.
Creeland is a poetry collection concerned with notions of home and the quotidian attachments we feel to those notions, even across great distances. Even in an area such as Treaty Eight (northern Alberta), a geography decimated by resource extraction and development, people are creating, living, laughing, surviving and flourishing—or at least attempting to.
The poems in this collection are preoccupied with the role of Indigenous aesthetics in the creation and nurturing of complex Indigenous lifeworlds. They aim to honour the encounters that everyday Cree economies enable, and the words that try—and ultimately fail—to articulate them. Hunt gestures to the movements, speech acts and relations that exceed available vocabularies, that may be housed within words like joy, but which the words themselves cannot fully convey. This debut collection is vital in the context of a colonial aesthetic designed to perpetually foreclose on Indigenous futures and erase Indigenous existence.
the Cree word for constellation
is a saskatoon berry bush in summertime
the translation for policeman
in Cree is mîci nisôkan, kohkôs
the translation for genius
in Cree is my kôhkom muttering in her sleep
the Cree word for poetry is your four-year-old
niece’s cracked lips spilling out
broken syllables of nêhiyawêwin in between
the gaps in her teeth
An assault survivor realizes she can rewind time and relives the experience in order to erase it. A teen athlete wonders why she isn’t more afraid of death when the plane carrying her team catches fire. The daughter of a superhero ruminates on how her father neglected his children to pursue his heroics. Two shut-in depressives form a bond on Twitter while a deadly virus wipes out most of the population of North America.
The stories in Erase and Rewind probe the complexities of living as a woman in a skewed society. Told from the perspective of various female protagonists, they pick at rape culture, sexism in the workplace, uneven romantic and platonic relationships, and the impact of trauma under late-stage capitalism. Quirky, intelligent, and darkly comic, Meghan Bell’s debut collection is a highwire balance of levity and gravity, finding the extraordinary in common experiences.
The 14 stories in Exit Strategies explore the subtleties of memory and storytelling, masterfully creating the universal picture from the quotidian details. These stories do not shy away from difficult truths: a former actuary with a head injury which has robbed her of her mental acuity takes a job caring for a defiant farmer who is facing the decline of his body and his property; an elderly Belgian woman refuses to continue a road trip in BC when her soon-to-be-Canadian son and his dollhouse-obsessed girlfriend stop to help a stranded motorist; an intellectually disabled woman kidnaps three Black children and has the happiest day of her life. This collection gives voice to characters who are not always heard.