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It’s All Lit Up’s first ever Cozy Fest, virtually bringing together 11 authors in their cozy-tie attire to read from their latest books. Shop the books below in our online festival shop.
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brat is an anthology of forest creatures, lost girls and tiny precious moments. In this collection of poetry, smallness begets uprising, rats signify life rather than death and bunnies are slutty woodland sprites. brat makes smallness into power, resilience and survival. In these poems, to be a brat is to be a scamp, an upstart, an agent of mischief: to cause trouble; to riot; to right wrongs; to enact change because it is right, regardless of a corrupt legal system. If brathood is the irreverent claiming of ownership over all good things, then this collection is the quintessential brat.
Philippine-born Vancouverite Sophia is most grateful for two things: her modest hair salon and Adrian, her mild-mannered fiancé. She is eager to get married, move away from her highly educated but career-frustrated parents, who believe that their daughter can be so much more than a beautician.
Then Sophia’s estranged friend reaches out from Manila, desperate for help. After a dubious accident, her fiery Auntie Rosy is on the verge of losing the Cine Star Salon–the place where Sophia first felt the call to become a hairstylist and salon owner. Coming to her auntie’s aid is not so easy though. Sophia worries helping might reopen old wounds and threaten the bright future she has planned.
Leah Ranada’s debut novel is a graphic and engaging depiction of the importance of women’s work and the loyalties that connect friends across oceans. The Cine Star Salon marks the entry of a vital new voice in Canadian literature.
Swinging from post-explosion Beirut to a Parc-Extension balcony in summer, the verse and prose poems in The Good Arabs ground the reader in place, language, and the body. Peeling and rinsing radishes. Dancing as a pre-teen to Nancy Ajram. Being drenched in stares on the city bus. The collection is an interlocking and rich offering of the speaker’s communities, geographical surroundings both expansive and precise, and family both biological and chosen.
The Good Arabs gifts the reader with insight into cycles and repetition in ourselves and our broken nations. This genre-defying collection maps Arab and trans identity through the immensity of experience felt in one body, the sorrow of citizens let down by their countries, and the garbage crisis in Lebanon. Ultimately, it shows how we might love amid dismay, adore the pungent and the ugly, and exist in our multiplicity across spaces.
Medrie Purdham‘s Little Housewolf delves deeply into the world of domestic miniatures, a realm where thimbles, baby teeth, push pins, keyholes, teacups, and wedding rings become meticulously realized scale models of one’s terrors and joys. Purdham uses the fine-grained signatures of her poetry–close observation, exact detail, precise sounds–not only to examine childhood and its fascination with size and scale, but also to measure herself against the larger, untamed landscapes she feels increasingly alienated from (“It is all anachronism, / grasses vintage wild”). Marked by bold emotion and arresting imagery, Little Housewolf is a brilliant debut.
A 49th Shelf 2022 Book of the Year
A tender ensemble novel about coming home to oneself and one’s family through the beauty and soulfulness of Earth, even in an age of unravelling.
Brothers Justin and Oliver have never been close. Justin owns an iconic Toronto restaurant and lives with his wife and daughter in Baby Point. Oliver, a former environmental reporter, does admin for a local gym and rents an attic apartment. Yet both men know their worlds stand on the brink. With their mother’s abrupt death, each sets out to set things right: Oliver to reclaim a beloved home, Justin to save one that’s falling apart.
Intersecting Justin’s and Oliver’s journeys is Gabe: a budding biologist enchanted by the underappreciated beauty of moths, and conflicted by the demands of scientific scrutiny. As the brothers’ pursuits take them from Toronto Island to the Humber River, from drugs and transgressive art to meetings with imperiled activists, Gabe stakes everything on a glimpse of a new possibility.
Sharon English has penned a tender and powerful novel about the claims places make on our hearts, and how journeys into darkness are sometimes necessary to see through catastrophe. Night in the World explores the need to end our separations from each other and from nature — coming home, at last, to a beleaguered yet still beautiful world.
Poet Sareh Farmand was born in Tehran at the start of the Islamic Revolution. In this brave first collection of poems and prose a narrative arc details her family’s escape from Iran, detailing their time as immigrants in limbo, and finally, as Landed Immigrants in Canada. Using family anecdotes, memory, public documents, and images to outline her family’s story, Pistachios in my Pocket moves from the personal to the universal by exploring the influences of migration, political strife, and cultural identity on humanity. Here is a new voice to the conversation on global citizenship and multiculturalism, as themes of loss, home, and belonging are explored in a new way through a wide socio-political lens and personal accounts of a family’s unique, yet universal experiences. Ultimately, bringing forward the many ways immigrants are haunted after fleeing for safety and what it means to be Canadian.
River is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who travels back in time, and across continents, encountering her maternal forbears when they were her age. From the Australian Outback, where she meets a young Aboriginal man, to racist, rigidly segregated South Africa during World War II, to the midst of a pogrom in Lithuania, and then all the way back to the Babylon of biblical times, Emily has deep encounters with the young women she meets, as well as with the history that shapes them — and ultimately, the histories that have mysteriously and yet powerfully shaped her own soul.
Shortlisted, Nelson Ball Prize
Longlisted, Raymond Souster Award
Long-Shortlisted, ReLit Award (Poetry)
Daring in form and unflinching in its gaze, Daniel Scott Tysdal’s latest poetry collection examines madness as lived experience and artistic method. Taking inspiration from Al Jaffee’s illustrated fold-ins in MAD magazine, Tysdal explores living with mental illness through a new kind of poetry: the fold-in poem.
In this innovative collection, each poem does not end at the bottom of the page; instead, the reader is invited to complete the poem by folding the page to reveal the final line. From the effects of being “smiled into an elephantine line” at Pearson International Airport to the rites of official memory and forgetting at a baseball game in the aftermath of tragedy, Tysdal probes both his own psyche and the myriad environments that work to enfold those who are deemed mad.
In The Last Show on Earth, Yvonne Blomer gathers the diverse characters and distinct moments from everyday life, its tragedies, and triumphs, and begins to imagine them in a circus as side shows and exhibitions of the unusual. In her latest collection, Blomer borrows from museum dioramas, the paintings of Robert Bateman, and the animal portraits in National Geographic to question and explore the human element in the lives and survival of other species. In poems that are at times unflinchingly dark yet playful, Blomer balances on a tightrope of grief and hope as she traces the lines from motherhood and caring for aging parents to caring for our planet and its endangered creatures—the whale, the elephant, the wolf, the polar bear—as they face ongoing environmental destruction. The Last Show on Earth imagines us all as performers under the bright striped tent or packed on the circus train heading toward an unknown destination.