Congress 2024 Booklist

All Books in this Collection

Showing 1–20 of 66 results

  • A Dream in the Eye

    A Dream in the Eye


    First collection of visual work by renowed Canadian poet Phyllis Webb *

    A Dream in the Eye presents colour reproductions of the paintings and photocollages of renowned poet Phyllis Webb. A Governor General’s Award–winning poet and a member of the Order of Canada, Webb was a major Canadian cultural figure from the 1950s through the 1980s, publishing ten collections of poetry and prose and co-founding the CBC Radio program Ideas (in 1965). When “words abandoned” her in the early 1990s and she was no longer able to write, she took up photography, photocollage, and eventually painting. Webb’s visual work – a surprising “late style” (the work of an independent artist in her sixties, seventies, and eighties) – is in many ways a response to and extension of concerns explored in her poetry: the natural world of the West Coast, global political strife, the artist’s struggle to express themself. All of this is explored in her more formalist collages and expressive, abstract paintings. 

    In addition to Webb’s seventy-four paintings and eighty collages, A Dream in the Eye includes introductory material by the book’s editor Stephen Collis and art historian and curator Laurie White, as well as supplementary material including some of Webb’s own reflections on her visual work, an essay by Betsy Warland, and a selection of poems written in response to Webb’s paintings by her long-time friend Diana Hayes.

  • A Road Map for Finding Wild Horses

    A Road Map for Finding Wild Horses


    Alongside the dramatic views of the Rocky Mountains lies a precarious ecosystem impacted by the pressures of industries such as mining, forestry, ranching, and oil and gas extraction. Alberta’s wild horse herds can be found roaming these Eastern Slopes, existing in a liminal space as both wild animal and the domesticated companion we have shared so much of our history with.

    A Road Map for Finding Wild Horses is written as a response to the intersections of human, animal, and land that occur while exploring this landscape as a woman alone. The horses offer a reflection on our relationship with nature, particularly now as we witness the impending effects of a climate crisis. We are reminded of the ways in which opening ourselves up to listening, whether to others or to ourselves, makes us tenderly aware of both beauty and loss.

    wild horses ask: why are you a stranger to your body?
    i reply, the earth hurts.

  • Arctic Patrol

    Arctic Patrol


    In the 1920s, Canada’s claim on the Arctic archipelago was tenuous at best. In 1880, the United Kingdom had handed over control of the area to the expanding dominion, though much of the area was still unoccupied and unexplored. The North-West Mounted Police, later to become the RCMP in 1920, were assigned the territory by the Canadian Government. For years, little was done to assert this control; over time, remote detachments were established throughout the archipelago and annual ship patrols were conducted to resupply these posts as well as to demonstrate to the world that Canada was indeed administering to its Arctic.

    But the need to reinforce sovereignty—and quickly—was driven by increasing threats on the horizon. The Americans, Danish and Norwegians were particularly active in the Arctic, posing sovereign challenges from both individuals and their nations; Dr. Donald MacMillan, American, went north with an American Naval Aviation Unit in 1925 with a stated objective to search for new land. He had somehow, concerningly, avoided applying for permits to enter the Canadian Arctic. The Danish Anthropologist and polar explorer Knud Rasmussen was rumoured to be populating Ellesmere Island with Greenland Inuit (Inughuit) to the obvious threat of both the Muskox population there as well as Canadian Arctic sovereignty. Meanwhile, the Canadian Government was wrestling with the Norwegian Government, as well as Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup, over ownership of the Sverdrup group of islands.

    Something drastic had to be done. Legendary RCMP Inspector, Alfred Herbert Joy, joined by young but robust recruit Reginald Andrew Taggart of Ireland, as well as the renowned Inughuit guide, Nukappiannguaq, embark on an 1,800-mile dogsled patrol to the outer fringes of the archipelago. As tensions rise and negotiations with Norway threaten to escalate, the three men face treacherous conditions and unexpected obstacles on a journey that takes on mythic proportions. In Arctic Patrol, Lieutenant Governor’s Medal winner Eric Jamieson uncovers the fascinating history of Canada’s fight to secure its Arctic territories in this thrilling tale of international politics, polar exploration, and human endurance.

  • Ballet Is Not For Muslim Girls

    Ballet Is Not For Muslim Girls


    From biryani to borscht, the food was always fabulous in Canada’s only Polish-Pakistani family. Mariam S. Pal’s memoir, Ballet is not for Muslim Girls, is set in this remarkable Victoria B.C. household in the 60s and 70s. Growing up, Mariam struggled to navigate three cultures: her Pakistani father’s, her Polish-Canadian mother’s and Canada’s, where Mariam was born and raised.

    Mariam wanted to be a Canadian girl.

    A “normal” first name would have been a good start. At school they called her Marilyn, Marian – anything but Mariam. Hers was the only house for miles that didn’t hand out Halloween candy or put up Christmas lights. When Mariam came home from Grade 1 bawling because she was the only kid who didn’t have a turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving, her parents started a roasting a bird each year.

    Mariam was determined to be Canadian, fighting hard to attend high school dances or act in a drama class play. Ballet, Brownies forget it. Sleepovers were not allowed. Her martini-loving Muslim father fretted that a bacon and eggs breakfast might be on the menu the morning after.

    Ballet Is Not For Muslim Girls is an engaging, fascinating account of Mariam’s search for identity and belonging. Though her journey is sometimes painful, it is always thought provoking. Each chapter begins with an evocative and often hilarious photograph from Mariam’s family album.

    Ballet is not for Muslim Girls raises, with humour and affection, the fundamental issues of integration and cultural adaptation that all immigrants, from Adelaide to Quebec to Yonkers, grapple with. Ballet is not for Muslim Girls’ poignant yet uplifting story will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers, regardless of their origin.

  • Bear Bones & Feathers

    Bear Bones & Feathers


    In this new edition of her powerful debut, Plains Cree writer and National Poet Laureate Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer reckons with personal history within cultural genocide.

    Employing Indigenous spirituality, black comedy, and the memories of her own childhood as healing arts, celebrated poet Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer finds an irrepressible source of strength and dignity in her people. Bear Bones and Feathers offers moving portraits of Halfe’s grandmother (a medicine woman whose life straddled old and new worlds), her parents (both trapped in a cycle of jealousy and abuse), and the people whose pain she witnessed on the reserve and at residential school.

    Originally published by Coteau Books in 1994, Bear Bones and Feathers won the Milton Acorn People’s Poet Award, and was a finalist for the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award, the Pat Lowther Award, and the Gerald Lampert Award.

  • Beautiful Beautiful

    Beautiful Beautiful


    Imbued with passion, creativity and insight, Brandon Reid’s debut novel is a wonderfully creative coming-of-age story exploring indigeneity, masculinity and cultural tradition.

    Twelve-year-old Derik Mormin travels with his father and a family friend to Bella Bella for his grandfather’s funeral. Along the way, he uncovers the traumatic history of his ancestors, considers his relationship to masculinity and explores the contrast between rural and urban lifestyles in hopes of reconciling the seemingly unreconcilable, the beauty of each the Indigenous and “Western” way of life—hence beautiful beautiful.

    He travails a storm, meets long-lost relatives, discovers his ancestral homeland; he suffers through catching fish, gains and loses companions, learns to heal trauma. In Beautiful Beautiful we delve into the mind of a gifted boy who struggles to find his role and persona through elusive circumstance, and—

    All right, that’s quite enough third-person pandering; you’re not fooling anyone. Redbird here, Derik’s babysitter, and narrator of this here story. Make sure to smash that like button. We’re here to bring light to an otherwise grave subject, friends. It’s only natural to laugh while crying. I bring story to life. One minute I’m a songbird singing from a bough, the next, I’m rapture. I connect you to the realm of spirit… Well, as best I can, given your mundane allocation.

    Follow us through primordial visions, dance with a cannibal (don’t worry, they’re friendly once tamed) and discover what it takes to be united. Together, we’ll have fun. Together, we are one. So tuck in, and believe what you’ll believe, for who knows what yesterday brings. Amen and all my relations, all my relations and amen.

  • Bells of Memory, The

    Bells of Memory, The


    The distinguished Arabic scholar, author, and translator Issa J. Boullata grew up in a Palestinian family in the Jerusalem of the 1930s and 1940s, when Palestine was under the British Mandate. His memoir, The Bells of Memory, is delightful in its reflections on an idyllic youth and detailed in its recollections of family members, classmates and teachers, remembered scents and foods, the pleasures of reading, and his early experience of the working world. This is a love letter to a Jerusalem that was changed immeasurably by Al-Nakba, the Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948 that dispossessed the Palestinians of their homeland and dislocated many as refugees when Israel was established.

  • Bottom Rail on Top

    Bottom Rail on Top


    Shortlisted 2024 Raymound Souster Award

    A rolling call and response between antebellum Black history and the present that mediates it.

    Somewhere in the cut between Harriet Jacobs and surveillance, Southampton and sneaker game, Lake Providence and the supply chain, Bottom Rail on Top sets off a mediation between the complications of legacy and selfhood. In a kind of archives-powered unmooring of the linear progress story, award-winning poet D.M. Bradford fragments and recomposes American histories of antebellum Black life and emancipation, and stages the action in tandem with the matter of his own life. Amidst echoes and complicities, roots and flights, lineage and mastery, it’s a story of stories told in knots and asides, held together with paper trails, curiosities, and hooks — a study that doesn’t end.

  • But We Built Roads for Them

    But We Built Roads for Them


    In the fiery political debates in and about Italy, silence reigns about the country?s colonial legacy. Reducing European colonial history to Britain and France has effectively concealed an enduring phenomenon in Italian history that lasted for 80 years (1882 to 1960). It also blots out the history of the countries it colonized in Northeastern Africa.

    Francesco Filippi challenges the myth of Italians being “nice people” or “good” colonialists who simply built roads for Africans. Despite extensive historiography, the collective awareness of the nations conquered and the violence inflicted on them remains superficial, be it in Italy or internationally. He retraces Italy’s colonial history, focusing on how propaganda, literature and popular culture have warped our understanding of the past and thereby hampered our ability to deal with the present

    Filippi’s unique approach in which he deftly pits historical facts against popular myths provides a model that could be adapted to countries everywhere.

  • Canada’s Long Fight Against Democracy

    Canada’s Long Fight Against Democracy


    Canada’s Long Fight against Democracy is a sweeping overview of Canadian-backed coups since 1950. It documents Canada’s contribution to the ouster of over 20 elected governments from Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran to Patrice Lumumba in Congo, Salvador Allende in Chile, and Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti.

    As part of subverting democracy abroad, Ottawa has cut off aid and imposed illegal sanctions in the hopes of turning the population against the targeted government. Canada has also financed opposition civil society groups and allowed protesters to use its embassy as a staging point to topple a president. They?ve even organized a secret international gathering to discuss overthrowing a popularelected leader, decided a marginal opposition politician was the legitimate president, and dispatched the Canadian military to subvert democracy.

    While government officials and the media regularly frame conflicts with geopolitical competitors as motivated by a belief in democracy, the authors debunk the notion that decision-makers in Ottawa are driven by promoting democracy abroad.

    Washington’s role in subverting elected governments has been detailed in countless studies by scholars and observers from around the world. The literature on Canada?s role in anti-democratic meddling is comparatively limited. In fact, this is the first book to focus on Canada’s role in subverting democracy around the globe.

  • Claws of the Panda

    Claws of the Panda


    Claws of the Panda tells the story of Canada’s failure to construct a workable policy towards the People’s Republic of China. In particular, the book tells of Ottawa’s failure to recognize and confront the efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate and influence Canadian institutions and to exert control over Canadians of Chinese heritage. It shows how Canadian leaders have constantly misjudged the reality of the relationship while the CCP and its agents have benefited from Canadian naivete.

    The Expanded and Updated edition of Claws of the Panda arrives at a crucial point as Canada’s delusions abouts its friendly relations with the CCP have fallen apart since the book’s initial publication. This edition sets out to uncover Ottawa’s relationship with Beijing in light of the CCP regime’s increasingly suspicious and belligerent relations with the US and Europe. The age of a distinctly Canadian bilateral relationship with Beijing is over.

  • Climate Chaos

    Climate Chaos


    Climate change is already under way with unpredictable consequences. Evidence of changes to the earth’s physical, chemical and biological processes is obvious everywhere. Greenhouse gas emissions have increased the carbon cycle concentration in the atmosphere. In the past, half of this carbon was stored in forests, while the other half was removed by oceans, but with deforestation and warming oceans, oxygen is at its lowest breathable point.

    Ecological degradation is global and the earth is becoming increasingly inhospitable with unprecedented weather events. The changing temperature has altered the balance of communities and degraded ecosystems. For example, in May 2016, as a result of a drier winter combined with an unusually hot, dry air mass over Northern Alberta, Canada, the temperature climbed to 32.8 °C (91°F) (Daily Data Report) resulting in 49 active wildfires covering an estimated 522,892 hectares. During the summer of 2017, hundreds of wildfires also razed thousands of hectares in the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

    More destructive events due to warmer ocean surface temperatures are also taking place. Warmer oceans hold less dissolved gases, including oxygen, which affects marine organisms, particularly mammals. In January 2014, in Peru’s Pacific, more than 400 dolphins washed ashore dead (Foley); similarly, in New Zealand, in February 2017, more than 400 whales had beached themselves to die (Farewell). El Niño, which is a cold, low-salinity ocean current that runs along Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, has been heating and altering weather in all Pacific Rim countries. Each of the El Niño and La Niña cycles in the past twenty years have occurred with increased frequency and violence.

    In sum, the latest scientific evidence tell us that we are approaching climate catastrophe: global average temperature is rising, if another decade of business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions continues we can reach 2° C, a dangerous warming threshold.

    Climate change deepens ethical issues explored and discussed by ecofeminists around the world. This book describes the academic field of material ecofeminism, provides an overview of the land question, and explores how reigning discourses of “sustainable development” have led to a commodification of nature and have effaced the multiple visions, uses, and relationships of local human communities. The articles in this book are spaces of political projects and values that nurture anticapitalist, antipatriarchal, and anticolonial oppressions. We argue that the centrality of resisting the colonization of Mother Earth and Pachamama is supreme.

  • Crushed Wild Mint

    Crushed Wild Mint


    Crushed Wild Mint is a collection of poems embodying land love and ancestral wisdom, deeply rooted to the poet’s motherland and their experience as a parent, herbalist and careful observer of the patterns and power of their territory. Jess Housty grapples with the natural and the supernatural, transformation and the hard work of living that our bodies are doing—held by mountains, by oceans, by ancestors and by the grief and love that come with communing.

    Housty’s poems are textural—blossoms, feathers, stubborn blots of snow—and reading them is a sensory offering that invites the reader’s whole body to be transported in the experience. Their writing converses with mountains, animals and all our kin beyond the human realm as they sit beside their ancestors’ bones and move throughout the geography of their homeland. Housty’s exploration of history and futurity, ceremony and sexuality, grieving and thriving invites us to look both inward and outward to redefine our sense of community…

    Through these poems we can explore living and loving as a practice, and placemaking as an essential part of exploring our humanity and relationality.

  • Disobedience


    Shael lives in a vast prison camp, a monstrosity developed after centuries of warfare and environmental catastrophe. As a young transfeminine person, they risk abject violence if their identity and love affair with Coe, an insurrectionary activist, are discovered. But desire and rebellion flare, and soon Shael escapes to Riverwish, a settlement attempting to forge a new way of living that counters the camp’s repression.

    As the complexities of this place unfold before Shael, Disobedience asks: How can a community redress harm without reproducing unaccountable forms of violence? How do we heal? What might a compassionate, sustainable model of justice look like?

    This is a remarkable work of queer and trans speculative fiction that imagines how alternative forms of connection and power can refuse the violent institutions that engulf us.

  • Dream of No One but Myself

    Dream of No One but Myself


    Winner of the 2022 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry * 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize Finalist * 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award Shortlist * 2022 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Shortlist * 2022 Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal Jury Selection * 2022 Concordia University First Book Prize Shortlist

    An expansive, hybrid, debut collection of prose poems, self-erasures, verse, and family photo cut-ups about growing up in a racially trinary, diversely troubled family.

    Dream of No One but Myself is an interdisciplinary, lyrical unravelling of the trauma-memoir-as-proof-it’s-now-handled motif, illuminating what an auto-archival alternative to it might look like in motion. Through a complex juxtaposition of lyric verse and self-erasure, family keepsake and transformed photo, David Bradford engages the gap between the drive toward self-understanding and the excavated, tangled narratives autobiography can’t quite reconcile. The translation of early memory into language is a set of decisions, and in Dream of No One but Myself, Bradford decides and then decides again, composing a deliberately unstable, frayed account of family inheritance, intergenerational traumas, and domestic tenderness.

    More essayistic lyric than lyrical essay, this is a satisfyingly unsettling and off-kilter debut that charts, shapes, fragments, and embraces the unresolvable. These gorgeous, halting poems ultimately take the urge to make linear sense of one’s own history and diffract it into innumerable beams of light.

  • Duty, Honour & Izzat

    Duty, Honour & Izzat


    Why are certain histories covered, discussed and inquired about, while others remain hidden? Going beyond the old tropes of colonised histories, this book presents the Indo-Canadian community’s pioneer experience within the events leading to the ejection of the Komagata Maru from Canadian waters in July 1914 and the subsequent outbreak of the Great War in August 1914. A great book to introduce Canadian youth to a more inclusive look at our history.

    Presented as a historical scrapbook with beautifully realised, photo-realistic artwork. Framing the history is a graphic novel story about a teenage boy, in Surrey BC, caught up in drug gangs. He rethinks his choices after his 95 year old great-grandfather comes to visit the family in Canada. His stories of their past, and seeing him reunited with a Canadian soldier his great grandfather saved during WW2, opens up a different path to live his life.

  • Echoes of Growing Up Italian

    Echoes of Growing Up Italian


    What you will find in Echoes of Growing up Italian are accounts of the immigrant experience as told through the eyes of women. The Italian diaspora is one of the most significant of the 20th century, with a far-reaching impact in the Americas, Australia and Northern Europe. The Italian immigration narrative is a universal one. The stories in this book of the Italian woman in North America and how she learned to survive as she lived with two cultures in her heart and home. This collection provides the reader with a candid glimpse into the lives of fifteen women from across North America: some were born and raised in Italy while some have only been there on holidays; some are mothers and grandmothers and some are single; some only know a few words of Italian, while others are fluent, but we all have a discerning perspective on what it means to live with two cultures.

  • Elvie, Girl Under Glass

    Elvie, Girl Under Glass


    Elvie, Girl Under Glass tells the poignant story of a child transplanted from a sunny mountain village in Italy to Montreal, Quebec, in 1952.

    Raised in a household ruled by a cruel, controlling father, her desire to free herself from his oppression mirrors the French-language majority’s battle to wrest control of the province’s economic resources from the English-speaking elite.

    Unlike some of the separatists who eventually turn violent, Elvie responds to her father’s growing strictures by withdrawing deeper into herself. Respite comes from the company of friends and long hours immersed in the thrall of books. Nevertheless, this coping mechanism results in an adult plagued by bouts of depression.

    The memoir explores Elvie’s experience of growing up by the rules of an Italian household while navigating the French-English divide in Montreal with ease. She learns French on the streets of her lower-working-class neighbourhood and attends school in the English system.

    Her efforts to break free of her constricting heritage coincide with the aftermath of Quebec’s Revolution of the 1960s and subsequent bloodshed and violence as the French-language majority wrests control of the province’s resources from the English elite.

    Elvie, Girl Under Glass peeks into one person’s heart and soul as she seeks safe harbour.

  • Excerpts from a Burned Letter

    Excerpts from a Burned Letter


    Award-winning writer Joelle Barron looks back at history through queer eyes in their second poetry collection.

    Excerpts from a Burned Letter places the experiences of historical figures and fictional characters in modern contexts—and makes their queerness explicit. This collection highlights the circular nature of time, demonstrating how even in a post-marriage-equality world, queer experiences and queer histories still face erasure.

    From the perspective of a single, modern speaker, each poem is haunted by a fictional or historical queer couple, connecting ancestors to their descendants and underlining the ancientness of being queer. The book also explores themes of religion, disability, motherhood, birth, and the experience of being a queer child. The poems zoom in and out; gross, visceral depictions of bodies and their functions stand beside poems that call out the hypocrisies of religion in both its extreme and subtle forms. These poems describe the experience of being a queer person in the present day—writing the queer history of the future.

    When searching for stories of themselves in history books, queer people are often met with
    denial and resistance. Excerpts from a Burned Letter provides explicit acknowledgement where
    it didn’t exist before: You were here. You live on.

  • Finding Edward

    Finding Edward


    Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award
    Longlisted for the Toronto Book Award
    Longlisted for Canada Reads 2023

    A Globe and Mail Best Book

    Cyril Rowntree migrates to Toronto from Jamaica in 2012. Managing a precarious balance of work and university he begins to navigate his way through the implications of being racialized in his challenging new land.

    A chance encounter with a panhandler named Patricia leads Cyril to a suitcase full of photographs and letters dating back to the early 1920s. Cyril is drawn into the letters and their story of a white mother’s struggle with the need to give up her mixed race baby, Edward. Abandoned by his own white father as a small child, Cyril’s keen intuition triggers a strong connection and he begins to look for the rest of Edward’s story.

    As he searches, Cyril unearths fragments of Edward’s itinerant life as he crisscrossed the country. Along the way, he discovers hidden pieces of Canada’s Black history and gains the confidence to take on his new world.