Fall Preview 2020: Staff Picks

Cue the pumpkin spice lattes: fall books are lining the shelves. Check out which books All Lit Up staffers are excited for this season.


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Leyla’s pick

Edited by Joshua Whitehead (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Available Now

This fall I’m really looking forward to reading Love After the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, edited by Joshua Whitehead. With these uncertain times we’re living in, speculative fiction has seen a revival and this collection adds something fresh to that movement, featuring new and emerging 2SQ Indigenous writers and stories that give us everything from bioengineered AI rats to transplanted trees in space. Speculative fiction is inherently difficult—it forces us to confront tough topics that don’t always have a tidy ending. The gift, for those who are up for the challenge, is to see the world from a different perspective. In this case, it is from a uniquely queer Indigenous lens that reclaims its history and guides us towards a new future—one filled with strength, love, beauty and hope.

Mandy’s pick

Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty by Hana Shafi (Book*hug Press)
Available September 22, 2020

Since her debut book of poetry It Begins With the Body—an unputdownable mashup of art and poetry about a brown girl addressing everything from body politics to relationships to faithI’ve been a huge fan of Toronto-writer-and-illustrator Hana Shafi. Her newest book Small, Broke, and Kind of Dirty: Affirmations for the Real World promises that same millennial-women-of-colour insight built around art from Shafi’s popular online affirmation series. This book does not fancy itself a book of advice, but rather a call to action to remember our worth as Shafi explores body politics and pop culture, racism and feminism, and friendship and allyship. 

Tan’s pick

The Cyborg Anthology by Lindsay B-e (Brick Books)
Available October 1, 2020

I am craving a book unlike anything I have read so far this year, and I think I’ve found what I need in The Cyborg Anthology by Lindsay B-e. Hiromi Goto, author of Chorus of Mushrooms and Darkest Light, describes it thus: “With echoes of Le Guin, Brunner and Monáe, Lindsay B-e’s debut is layered and smart, provocative, and deeply satisfying. […] Speculative poetry at its best.”The Cyborg Anthology takes place in a future where a thriving world of robots and cyborgs has been living peacefully beside humans, but the narrative takes place in the time after a cataclysmic event and the collection wrestles with the loss. The collection is organized like a typical anthology of literature, split into sections that include a biography of each poet and a sample of their poetry. It covers early cyborg poetry, political, celebrity, and pop culture poets, and ends with the next generation of cyborg poets. Altogether, it tells the story of a complex and enthralling world-to-come, exploring topics of personhood that are important in the future, and also urgent right now. My only question is whether to read it aloud to my devices.

Rayzel’s pick

Edited by Lorna Jane Harvey (Brindle & Glass) 
Available November 3, 2020


At the beginning of 2020, I challenged myself to read more intentionally by choosing books that would help expand my knowledge of current affairs, and I believe that Somewhere is the perfect place to end the year. I hope to see some of my own experiences reflected in the migration stories of the twenty different women and to really appreciate all the wisdom they have to offer. It seems like the type of book I’d read during a quiet, introspective afternoon with a soothing cup of Earl Grey.  

Laura’s pick

Alfabet/Alphabet by Sadiqa de Meijer (Palimpsest Press)
Available October 1, 2020

I can’t wait to read poet Sadiqa de Meijer’s new book from Palimpsest Press, Alfabet/Alphabet, which is a memoir about her first language, Dutch, and the interplay between Dutch and English. I’m a huge fan of de Meijer’s poetry (The Outer Wards, from Vehicule Press, is one of my favourite books of the year), and the ways that she plays with language in prose. I had a preview of this book last summer when the literary journal Brick published her essay, “Mother Tongue,” which has since been published on Lithub. Read it and let it hold you until the book comes out.  

Barb’s pick

A Bite of the Apple by Lennie Goodings (Biblioasis)
Available October 1, 2020

Part memoir, part literary history, and part reflection on more than forty years of feminist publishing, A Bite of the Apple is a story of idealism and pragmatism, solidarity and individual ambition, of challenges met and the battles not yet won—and, above all, a steadfast celebration of the making and reading of books.”I love reading about the history of publishing so when I saw A Bite of the Apple coming down the pipe I was thrilled. I moved to Toronto in 2002 specifically because I wanted to find a way to work with books, and at a Word on the Street event, somewhere I picked up a card about a company called Virago. I immediately signed up for their newsletter and began to read all the authors they published. It was a real revelation to me, and so amazing to find all these great new women writers. Virago is of course out of the UK, so I had to find these authors’ Canadian publishers which was enlightening for me in terms of really looking at who publishes what sort of books and authors, what publishers call their “list.” My Virago newsletters really led me to publishing (I am 15 years in the industry this month), as a whole, so this book is one I’m really excited for.