2022 ReLit Award Finalists

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.

All Books in this Collection

Showing 33–48 of 54 results

  • Radical Trust

    Radical Trust


    Radical Trust: Basic Income For Complicated Lives explores the notion that a basic income is a compassionate and dignified response to poverty and income inequality in Canada. Through extensive testimonials with those that the “social safety net” fails most dramatically, it tells the stories of lived experience, as individuals navigate the complicated circumstances of their lives. The myth of meritocracy creates distinctions between the deserving, a distinction that is the basis on which Canada’s entire income support system rests.

    It’s become apparent that Canada’s current income support systems do not work.

    The COVID-19 pandemic shattered the illusion that income support will be there when you need it. But this shattered illusion isn’t new for those with lived experience in these systems. Many have suffered persistent, and generational poverty. For years, Canada’s income support schemes have failed Children in foster care, Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit persons, people who struggle with addiction, and many others who are left on the fringes of our society.

  • Radium Girl

    Radium Girl


    Radium Girl is a collection full of dark wonder where Sofi Papamarko explores the boundaries of love, death, loneliness and justice. In these twelve deft stories, we are introduced to a cast of unforgettable characters: Margie and Lu, teenaged conjoined twins; Rosie who cruises funerals; Pete the predatory magician; the subconscious mind of Marie Curie; Elda the Radium Girl and many more. These are magical stories; they twist and turn in unexpected ways, leaving the reader sometimes shocked, sometimes delighted and often breathless. With pitch-perfect writing, Papamarko shows us how human beings cope, break and triumph in the face of often unbearable circumstances.

  • Saltus



    Evocative of Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness and Diane Warren’s Cool Water, Tara Gereaux’s novel, set in small-town Saskatchewan, dissects themes of Métis identity, female identity and motherhood, aging and regret, and finally, acceptance.Nothing ever seems to happen in the small town of Saltus. At the Harvest Gold Inn and Restaurant off Highway 53, two waitresses spend their evening shifts delivering Salisbury steak specials and slices of pie to the regulars. But everything changes when Nadine, a headstrong single mother, and her teenager, Aaron, arrive at the Gold, where Aaron—who has repeatedly been denied appropriate gender-affirming medical care from the mainstream system—undergoes a near-fatal procedure performed by an unqualified and eccentric recluse who lives on the outskirts of Saltus.The events that transpire that evening force each townsperson to look long and hard at themselves, at their own identities, and at the traumas and experiences that have shaped them. Told from multiple perspectives, Saltus reveals the complexities inherent in accepting the identities of loved ones, and the tragic consequences that unfold if they are ignored. It is a story about relationships with others, and, even more importantly, with ourselves.

  • searching for eastman

    searching for eastman


    Shortlisted for the ReLit Award, Poetry, 2022

    searching for eastman is a multidisciplinary performance–a choreopoem–in four acts, based on the interpretation of four of Julius Eastman’s compositions–evil nigger; prelude to st joan; stay on it; and gay guerrilla. Making use of different artistic forms–poetry, theatre, music, dance, video, and digital–it is inspired by the African griot tradition, the Harlem Renaissance (eg the work of Langston Hughes with jazz and Kurt Weil), and the Black Arts movement (eg Amiri Baraka’s work with Sun Ra).

  • Send Me Into the Woods Alone

    Send Me Into the Woods Alone


    Dispatches from modern motherhood by a reluctant suburbanite.

    Send Me Into The Woods Alone is an honest, heartfelt, and often hilarious collection of essays on the joys, struggles, and complexities of motherhood.

    These essays touch on the major milestones of raising children, from giving birth (and having approximately a million hands in your vagina) and taking your beautiful newborn home (and feeling like you’ve stolen your baby from the hospital), to lying to kids about the Tooth Fairy and mastering the subtle art of beating children at board games. Plus the pitfalls of online culture and the #winemom phenomenon, and the unattainable expectations placed on mothers today.

    Written from the perspective of an always tired, often anxious, and reluctant suburbanite who is doing her damn best, these essays articulate one woman’s experience in order to help mothers of all kinds process the wildly variable, deeply different ways in which being a mom changes our lives.

    “Easily the most validating book you’ll read this year.”—Ann Douglas, author of Happy Parents, Happy Kids and The Mother of All Pregnancy Books

  • Seven




    “Be prepared for this novel to stay with you for a long time, especially its ending.”?GLOBE AND MAIL
    “[An] extraordinary book… packed with discovery and jarring emotional arcs.”?TORONTO STAR
    “Penetrating and subtle … [An] immersive, absorbing portrait.”?EDEN ROBINSON
    “Explores with courage and storytelling finesse the harsh truths within the ideals of kinship and community.” ?DAVID CHARIANDY
    “An urgent and passionate read.” ?VIVEK SHRAYA
    “Visceral and emotional… a courageous feat.”?QUILL & QUIRE (starred review)

    A brave, soulfully written feminist novel about inheritance and resistance that tests the balance between kinship and the fight against customs that harm us.

    When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India in 2016, she thinks that she?s going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. What captures her imagination is not his rags-to-riches story, but the mystery of his four wives, missing from the family lore. She ends up excavating much more than she had imagined.

    Sharifa?s trip coincides with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and there is no escaping its politics. A group of feminists is speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa?s two favourite cousins are on opposite sides of the debate and she seeks a middle ground. As the issue heats up, Sharifa discovers an unexpected truth and is forced to take a position.

  • Still Living the Edges: A Disabled Women’s Reader

    Still Living the Edges: A Disabled Women’s Reader


    <More than a decade after the publication of Living the Edges: A Disabled Woman’s Reader, the lives of women with disabilities have not changed much. Still Living the Edges provides a timely follow-up that traces the ways disabled women are still on the edges, whether that be on the cutting edge, being pushed to the edges of society, or challenging the edges?the barriers in their way. This collection brings together the diverse voices of women with various disabilities, both physical and mental, from nations such as Canada, the United States, Australia, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. Through articles, poetry, essays, and visual art, disabled women share their experiences with employment, relationships, body image, sexuality and family life, society’s attitudes, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. In their own voices, they explore their identity as women with disabilities, showcasing how they continue to challenge the physical and attitudinal barriers that force them to the edges of society and instead place themselves at the centre of new and emerging narratives about disability.

  • Sunday Drive to Gun Club Road

    Sunday Drive to Gun Club Road


    In her debut short story collection, Quednau offers unsettling examinations of “what really happened” with rich, complex characters that might equally arouse our suspicions or sympathy: we pay attention. She gives voice to the interludes between actions, what almost occurred, or might yet, the skewed time of “before” and acute reckoning of “afterward.”Seemingly innocent gestures leave their marks in comeuppance: the blurt of an intimate nickname becoming an ad hoc striptease in a public place, a parked car leading to a woman flailing in a dunk tank, a garage sale with no early birds ending in vengeance, the redemptive act of shucking corn with an ex-husband’s new lover transforming into greater loss. These stories attest to Quednau’s belief that the most significant moments in our lives—the things that alter us—lie in the margins, just out of sight of what was once presumed or predicted. In these short fictions timing is everything, the rusted twentieth-century myths of ownership or conquest are set against the incoming reality of pandemic, our separate notions of love or of courage, of painful transformation, yet to be believed.

  • Suture



    To make her films, Eva must take out her eyes and use them as batteries. To make her art, Finn must cut open her chest and remove her lungs and heart. To write her novels, Grace must use her blood to power the word processor.

    Suture shares three interweaving stories of artists tearing themselves open to make art. Each artist baffles their family, or harms their loved ones, with their necessary sacrifices. Eva’s wife worries about her mental health; Finn’s teenager follows in her footsteps, using forearm bones for drumsticks; Grace’s network constantly worries about the prolific writer’s penchant for self-harm, and the over-use of her vitals for art.

    The result is a hyper-real exploration of the cruelties we commit and forgive in ourselves and others. Brewer brings a unique perspective to mental illness while exploring how support systems in relationships—spousal, parental, familial—can be both helpful and damaging.

    This exciting debut novel is a highly original meditation on the fractures within us, and the importance of empathy as medicine and glue.

  • The Crash Palace

    The Crash Palace



    A joy ride set on a crash course with the past.

    Audrey Cole has always loved to drive. Anytime, anywhere, any car: a questionable rustbucket, a family sedan, the SUV she was paid to drive around the oil fields. From the second she learned to drive, she’s always found a way to hit the road.

    Years ago, when she abandoned her oil field job, she found herself chauffeuring around the Lever Men, a B-list band relegated to playing empty dive bars in far-flung towns. That’s how she found herself at the Crash Palace, an isolated lodge outside the big city where people pay to party in the wilderness.

    And now, one night, while her young daughter is asleep at home, Audrey is struck by that old urge and finds herself testing the doors of parked cars in her neighbourhood. Before she knows it, she’s headed north in the dead of winter to the now abandoned Crash Palace in a stolen car, unable to stop herself from confronting her past

    The Crash Palace is a funny, moving, and surprising novel by the author of the Amazon First Novel Award–nominated The Milk Chicken Bomb. Audrey is unlike any character you’ve met before, and you’ll love being along for the ride.

  • The Endless Garment

    The Endless Garment


    In a fresh and unique look at epic poetry, Marguerite Pigeon has created what may be a new classic. With equal parts love of the art form and social critique, Pigeon ranges over time and space in a series of long poems that delve into the history and impact of fashion. Guided, and haunted, by a series of ghosts, from Coco Chanel to Gypsy Rose Lee to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Pigeon’s narrator moves through the floors of a grand existential department store, comprehending, reinventing and questioning her approach to, and understanding of, fashion. At times manic, at times surreal and always needle sharp, The Endless Garment is an extraordinary work of imagination that every reader will want to try on.

  • The Fifth

    The Fifth


    Critically acclaimed in the original French, The Fifth offers a refreshing take on sexuality and desire. Alice, Gayle, Camille and Simon live together in a polyamorous relationship, affectionately referred to as the Family. Camille, a trans woman, and Gayle are lovers; Simon is in a relationship with Alice; and Alice is in a relationship with everyone. But when Alice invites her seemingly straight ex-boyfriend Eloy to move into their Sherbrooke, Quebec apartment—albeit temporarily—the Family’s dynamic begins to change in unexpected ways.

    Narrated by each Family member along with script-like interludes, the daily lives of Alice, Gayle, Camille, Simon, and Eloy show a loving and satisfying non-traditional relationship. Infused with Quebecois culture, The Fifth is a story rarely represented in Canadian literature. Not about infidelity or possessiveness, rather, it is about the individuals as they navigate love and desire, and punch stereotypes and stigma in the face. Now available for the first time in English from translator and award-winning author Monica Meneghetti, The Fifth is honest, delightfully unconventional, breaks down barriers and challenges norms in our society.

  • The Infinite Park

    The Infinite Park


    Occurring in the rooms and corridors where life is lived, these poems emerge from the spaces behind the sofa cushion where things get lost, and in the bedroom where people inhale and exhale together. The Infinite Park documents the ways each day comes undone, and celebrates the tireless minute-by-minute heroics required to put it back together. Honouring the labours of love and confusion, these poems pursue a language of the commonplace, of memories that are kept in boxes, of the family bed where the cats and kids gather, and where words spoken and the warm presence of loved others become indistinguishable from the day.

    With his second collection Peter Unwin further develops a verse the Malahat Review praised for its “sardonic clarity … forever tempered by a deeper caring.” These pages vibrate with moments in which life’s fullness is found in its seemingly empty and random places, and spoken in a language of plain necessity.

  • The Pigeon Wars of Damascus

    The Pigeon Wars of Damascus


    Pigeon Wars of Damascus, The

  • The Pump

    The Pump


    Winner of the 2022 ReLit Awards
    Finalist for the 2022 Trillium Book Award

    A Gothic collection of stories featuring carnivorous beavers, art-eaters, and family intrigue, for fans of Alice Munro and Shirley Jackson

    The small southern Ontario town known as The Pump lies at the crossroads of this world’s violence—a tainted water supply, an apathetic municipal government, the Gothic decay of rural domesticity—and another’s.

    In Hegele’s interconnected stories, no one is immune to The Pump’s sacrificial games. Lighthouse dwellers, Boy Scouts, queer church camp leaders, love-sick and sick-sick writers, nine-year-old hunters, art-eaters—each must navigate the swamp of their own morality while living on land that is always slowly (and sometimes very quickly) killing them.

    “An inescapable, ferocious dream of a book. Good luck getting out.”—John Elizabeth Stintzi, author of Vanishing Monuments

    “[The] writing is beautiful… Nightmarish and yet somehow fantastical.”This Magazine

  • The Troupers

    The Troupers