Four Debuts on our Reading Radar

No worthy reading list is complete without some debut books to discover from emerging writers who might just be your next scrollmate. Check out the four debuts from 2018 that we’re excited about. 


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Four debuts on our 2018 reading radar.


Leila MarshyThe Philistine (Linda Leith Publishing)

Montrealer and founder of Friends of Hutchison Street Leila Marshy has made it into the good books of literary veterans like Ann-Marie MacDonald who describes Marshy’s ’90s-set-LGBTQ novel The Philistine as a “coming-of-age story that spans – and transgresses – sexuality, culture and countries” and Kathleen Winter who said, Marshy “makes you feel you’ve watched her scenes through a high-definition kaleidoscope.” We’ve got our specs on for this one. 

Hana Shafi

It Begins With the Body (Book*hug)

Known on Instagram as Frizz Kid, Toronto-writer-and-illustrator Hana Shafi is an emerging voice we’re watching with stars in our eyes. Candidly exploring feminism, body politics, and racism in a weekly Instagram series, Shafi’s art is horror leaning and leading the charge on Insta poetry. Recently published is her debut poetry collection It Begins With the Body, an arresting and honest collection about a brown girl addressing everything from body hair and image, to heartbreak and relationships, to identity and faith.    



Tyler Hellard Searching for Terry Punchout (Invisible Publishing)

PEI native and Calgary-dwelling author Tyler Hellard is scoring goals with his first punch-packing, breakaway novel Searching for Terry Punchout, a truly Canadian tale of hockey, small-town Maritime life, and the universal truth of becoming our parents. Stacey May Fowles, author of Baseball Life Advice, says of this debut: “Hellard makes sense of what home really means, and in doing so reveals how close we actually are to the people and places that can often feel so far away.” We’re cheering this one on from the bleachers!


Casey PlettLittle Fish (Arsenal Pulp Press) 

While Lambda-Literary-Award-winner Casey Plett isn’t new to the scene having previously published the short story collection A Safe Girl to Love, we’re soaking in her debut novel Little Fish. In it, a 30-year-old transgender woman discovers her grandfather, who happened to be a devout Mennonite, may have been trans too and sets out to unravel the mystery of her grandfather’s life. We’re hooked!