Your cart is currently empty!
With winter looming and pandemic life in full swing, staying at home is the new national hobby.
Luckily, we have good books to keep us company. Canadian Independent literary presses publish books that reflect the richness and diversity of Canadian stories. Whether your taste is fiction, memoir, poetry, plays, or graphic novels, indie presses gift us with inventive, edgy, award-winning, homegrown books that inspire, awaken, challenge, and provoke.Books on All Lit Up belong to some of Canada’s best independent presses—all of which are small businesses. And now, more than ever, we want our purchases to support local companies, not internet giants. Scroll down to discover, buy, and collect their new releases.
Showing 1–16 of 98 results
Affect is the surreal love story of a graduate student who, hyperaware of the absurdity of love in a universe where all is finite and death is inevitable, interprets the developing relationship through philosophy.
New to the RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit, Corporal Roxanne Calloway is keen to make her mark. She’s young and ambitious. But when she’s called from the big city to tiny Cullen Village to lead the investigation into the death of the talented but devious star of the local music scene–discovered frozen and dismembered at the local dump–she finds much to contend with. The close-knit community does not give up its secrets willingly. Barely has she begun her investigation when another very dead, very frozen body disturbs the rural peace.
In the summer Cullen Village is filled with cottagers and day-trippers who flock to the lakeshore’s tranquil beaches. But when the temperatures drop the tourists disappear and the year-round residents settle in for months of bitter cold. The local book club likes to cozy up with good food and good friends–and, of course, good books.
But not this winter.
As the wind bowls and the snow deepens, the book club–and the village–are riven by suspicion and rumour. Can there be a serial killer in their midst? As tensions mount, Corporal Calloway scrambles to make sense of an ever more perplexing set of clues–before someone kills again.
***IPPY AWARDS: BEST REGIONAL NON-FICTION: CANADA-WEST – SILVER***
***INDIGENOUS VOICES AWARDS 2021, PUBLISHED PROSE IN ENGLISH: CREATIVE NON-FICTION AND LIFE-WRITING: FINALIST***
***FIRST NATION COMMUNITIES READ AWARDS 2021/22: LONGLIST***
***NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARDS, REGIONAL (NON-FICTION): FINALIST***
***THE MIRAMICHI READER‘S 2020 MOST PROMISING AUTHOR AWARD***
***BMO WINTERSET AWARD 2020 LONGLIST***
In Approaching Fire, Michelle Porter embarks on a quest to find her great-grandfather, the Métis fiddler and performer Léon Robert Goulet. Through musicology, jigs and reels, poetry, photographs, and the ecology of fire, Porter invests biography with the power of reflective ingenuity, creating a portrait which expands beyond documentation into a private realm where truth meets metaphor.
Weaving through multiple genres and traditions, Approaching Fire fashions a textual documentary of rescue and insight, and a glowing contemplation of the ways in which loss can generate unbridled renewal.
I am from Halifax, salt-water city, a place of silted genius, sudden women, figures floating in all waters. “People from Halifax are all famous,” my sister Faith has said. “Because everyone in Halifax knows each other’s business.”
From basement rec rooms to midnight railway tracks, Action Transfers to Smarties boxes crammed with joints, from Paul McCartney on the kitchen radio to their furious teenaged cover of The Ramones, Aubrey McKee and his familiars navigate late adolescence amidst the old-monied decadence of Halifax. An arcana of oddball angels, Alex Pugsley’s long-awaited debut novel follows rich-kid drug dealers and junior tennis brats, émigré heart surgeons and small-time thugs, renegade private school girls and runaway children as they try to make sense of the city into which they’ve been born. Part coming-of-age-story, part social chronicle, and part study of the myths that define our growing up, Aubrey McKee introduces a breathtakingly original new voice.
“An incredible voice in horror”—Tor Nightfire
Horror essays that read like Chuck Klosterman filtered through H.P. Lovecraft.
Slinging ectoplasm, tombstones, and chainsaws with aplomb, Be Scared of Everything is a frighteningly smart celebration of horror culture that will appeal to both horror aficionados and casual fans. Combining pop culture criticism and narrative memoir, Counter’s essays consider and deconstruct film, TV, video games, true crime, and his own horrific encounters to find importance in the occult, pathos in Ouija boards, poetry in madness, and beauty in annihilation.
Comprehensive in scope, these essays examine popular horror media including Silent Hill, Hannibal, Hereditary, the Alien films, Jaws, The X-Files, The Terror, The Southern Reach Trilogy, Interview with the Vampire, Misery, Gerald’s Game, The Sixth Sense, Scream, Halloween, The Blair Witch Project, The Babadook, the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Slenderman stories, alongside topics like nuclear physics, cannibalism, blood, Metallica, ritual magic, nightmares, and animatronic haunted houses.
This is a book that shows us everything is terrifying—from Pokemon to PTSD—and that horror can be just as honest, vulnerable, and funny as it is scary.
“Be Scared of Everything is a heady mix of memoir and critical essays. Discerning, unafraid to examine larger questions without easy answers, the collection is also warm and entertaining.”—Paul Tremblay
“Counter’s brilliant essay collection Be Scared of Everything is a poetic and deeply thoughtful exploration of all the ways that horror permeates our everyday life.”—Rue Morgue
Pop culture stereotypes, shopping frustrations, fat jokes and misconceptions about health are all ways society systemically rejects large bodies. BIG is a collection of personal and intimate experiences of plus-sized women, non-binary and trans people in a society obsessed with thinness. Revealing insights that are both funny and traumatic, surprising and challenging, familiar and unexpected, 26 writers explore themes as diverse as self perception, body image, fashion, fat activism, food, sexuality, diet culture, motherhood and more. These stories offer a closer look at what it means to navigate a world designed to fit bodies of a certain size (sometimes literally) and, in turn, invite readers to ask questions about–and ultimately reconsider–our collective and individual obsession with women’s bodies. Contributors include Dr. Rohini Bannerjee, Amanda Scriver, Cassie Stocks, Jo Jefferson, Layla Cameron, Rabbit Richards, Sonja Boon, Simone Blais, Tracy Manrell and other writers from across Canada, the US, and the UK.
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Selection
Hamilton Reads 2021 Selection
A Writers’ Trust of Canada Best Book of the Year
A 49th Shelf Books of the Year (Fiction) Selection
One of “20 books you need to read this winter,” Maclean’s
For those who loved Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior comes a new climate-themed, Shakespeare-inspired novel from bestselling author Catherine Bush.
The time is now or an alternate near now, the world close to our own. A Category Five hurricane sweeps up the eastern seaboard of North America, leaving devastation in its wake, its outer wings brushing over tiny Blaze Island. During this wild night, a stranger washes up on the doorstep of the isolated house where Milan Wells lives with his daughter Miranda.
A climate scientist whose career was destroyed by climate change deniers, Wells has fled to this remote island with his daughter years before, desperate to protect her from the world’s worsening weather.
Seemingly safe in her father’s realm, Miranda walks the island’s rocky shores, helping her father with his daily weather records. But the stranger’s arrival breaks open Miranda’s world, stirs up memories of events of long ago and compels her to wonder what her father is up to with his mysterious weather experiments. In the aftermath of the storm, she finds herself in a world altered so quickly that she hardly knows what has happened or what the unpredictable future will bring.
Poems about a young two-spirit Indigenous man moving through shadow and trauma toward strength and awareness.
Bones, Tyler Pennock’s wise and arresting debut, is about the ways we process the traumas of our past, and about how often these experiences eliminate moments of softness and gentleness. Here, the poems journey inward, guided by the world of dreams, seeking memories of a loving sister lost beneath layers of tragedy and abuse. With bravery, the poems stand up to the demons lurking in the many shadows of their lines, seeking glimpses of a good that is always just out of reach.
At moments heartrending and gut-punching, at others still and sweet, Bones is a collection of deep and painstaking work that examines the human spirit in all of us. This is a hero’s journey and a stark look at the many conditions of the soul. This is a book for survivors, for fighters, for dreamers, and for believers.
“Here is a spare and urgent voice that speaks of ‘wounds and beauty,’ that gestures to a story of trauma and abuse while offering us a potent journey of self-reckoning and reclamation. Bones entwines brutality with the deepest tenderness and in its clear-eyed way asks us, as poetry must, to re-see the world.” –Catherine Bush, author of Accusation and The Rules of Engagement
“Tyler Pennock’s poetry unfurls like breath: measured, light, caught, whispering, and vital. It charts memory with a steady hand and unerring allegiance to locating the ‘beauty/in terrible things.’ Bones addresses the effects of intergenerational, state-sponsored trauma with an enviable grace, inscribing and affirming life on the other side of overwhelming pain, abuse, and grief. It carries on, resilient, defiant, gazing at the stars, one breath at a time.” –Laurie D. Graham, author of Settler Education
“Tyler Pennock’s Bones is a soft meandering through the memories of the narrator’s hearthome: a place in which trauma, kinship, abuse, and nostalgia cradle one another in a circle. Here, poetics are deployed to inspect the most minute of objects with such wild abandon that the narrator transplants us into a world rife with sharpness so as to make the image complete, focussed, lifelike, photographic even as he continually ‘wish[es he] were like water’. Here we find memory and dream animated in equal measure: two spirits sitting in a basement, a headless mother, a white bear, wihtiko, and a sister slowly vanishing. Lyrical, witty, heart-wrenching, and empowering, Pennock’s debut book of poetry is a contemplative epic asking us to ponder the ethics of remembrance in all of its lacings of razing and revitalization.” –Joshua Whitehead, author of Full-Metal Indigiqueer and Jonny Appleseed
Inspired by her time working in isolated construction camps in northern Alberta, Lindsay Bird’s Boom Time describes the unruly social space of the work camps and the ‘in-between’ state of existence that they create. Like any resource boom, Canada’s oil patch is awash in contrasts and contradictionsbetween risk and reward, isolation and assimilation, and wilderness and industrial intrusion. Deep in the oil patch, the luxuries of civilizationthings like rules and objective factssometimes seem in short supply, but Bird’s poems attempt to chart a place where there “isn’t a decent map to be had,” sketching blurry boundaries between truth and talk, reckoning with rumours and half-truths heard around camp.
Boom Time shifts from passages of prosaic observation to rhyming word play and witty, imagistic asides. With this range of modes the collection offers contrasting accounts of the disorienting locale. A common thread throughout the collection is people’s uncanny ability to adapt to or resist the environments they throw themselves intoother than Donnie, who fell into a tailings pond and disappeared, becoming “a murmured lunchroom tale.” The characters populating Bird’s poems have both immediacy and inevitability, their complexities presented with little explication, judgment or endorsement, their stories narrated with compassion and humour. While her stance is most often one of amusement, Bird doesn’t shy away from the more troubling aspects of life in camp, touching on subjects like workplace safety, harassment, gendered violence, over-indulgence and infidelity.
Many travel to the oil patch in pursuit of prosperity, accepting the demands of the work, the isolation of the job sites and the sometimes stifled living environment in exchange for better wages than they could make at home. While the poems in Boom Time depict this as a world somewhat apart, they also acknowledge there’s something intriguing about this experience that we’ve willfully edited out of our everyday notion of the civilized world, and yet it has remained “just over / the hill this whole time.”
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.
Cam and Beau are best friends, roommates, and massive potheads. Life is sweet, except for one crucial thing: Cam will never get up the nerve to tell Beau Larky he’s in love with him. Cam is a man of thought, not action, and would rather linger in doubt than risk losing the friendship. That is, until the mysterious and unwelcome involvement of a mutual friend with an unshakable conviction that Beau reciprocates Cam’s feeling and needs to be told the truth. Equal parts gonzo bromance and melancholy longing, Cam & Beau is a novel about unspoken knowledge between people, the parameters of seeing and not seeing, and what happens when familiar things are made strange.
It’s business as usual at the residence of Titus and his motley crew. Champagne baths, reckless scientific experimentations, casual littering. It’s all fun and games, until their house decides it has had enough and goes looking for a better life… leaving the gang without a place to call theirown! Will Titus and his friends find a new home, or convince their old one to come back?
Thom shows an ever-growing mastery of visual storytelling in this brilliant follow-up to his 2017 debut VII. Once again eschewing words altogether, the Montréal-based author channels the chaotic yet precise slapstick of Chuck Jones’ Looney Tunes while infusing it with a subtle sense of existential dread. Casa Rodeo is about finding one’s place in the world, both literally and figuratively.
Childhood Thoughts and Water is a collection of Beat Poetry, Spoken Word, Performance Art and Lyrical Verse. This is a work which journeys into the memories and events of an Urban Indigenous warrior’s struggles to reconnect with a language and culture that is seemingly always almost out of reach. The common theme of reconnecting with nature and with water is interspersed with the imagery of childhood recollections and anecdotes about life and love, aspirations and defeats, and the desire to achieve greatness in spite of the obstacles and barriers inherent in a life lived on the fringes, in the shadows and on the streets, in the spotlight and behind the backstage curtain.
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.
None of us want to experience the loss of a loved one, but the sad reality is we’ve all experienced it, and it is certain that grief will come knocking many times throughout our lives. A psychotherapist for more than twenty years, Lise Leblanc has learned that we are rarely fully prepared for a loved one’s death or our reaction to it. Like so many others, you may not know how to deal with the emotions, communication problems, and other complexities that arise in times of grief and loss.
Although this book cannot take your suffering away, Conscious Grief & Loss Guide will provide you with deep insights and effective strategies. It will answer many of your questions while guiding you to achieve an optimum state of wellness throughout your grief journey.
Lise carefully constructs a step-by-step, profound yet practical approach to help you understand your grief, assess your mental and emotional state, recognize your self-care needs, find helpful resources, and communicate productively during highly emotional and painful times.
You may never be able to embrace grief with open arms, but perhaps you can learn to accept it as a necessary part of having the gift of loving someone who makes saying goodbye so difficult.
This book is the ideal companion to other books in the “Wish I Knew” series.