Homegrown: Locally Produced Reads (October 10)

We’ve picked some of the highlights and best of the fall season and recently released with weekly batches of fresh new books. Equally stoked to spotlight some of the Canadian indie publishers we know and love—all with their own unique identities—we’ve chosen one exciting book each from over 40 indies.

In this penultimate Homegrown feature, we look at a middle-grade novel featuring magic and dyslexia, speculative fiction blended with Chinese mythology, the latest from Tamara Faith Berger, and more.

Locally Produced Reads: Homegrown


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Yara by Tamara Faith Berger (Coach House Books)


Why it’s on our list: We’ve been faithful readers of Tamara Faith Berger since the darkly sexual coming-of-age novel Maidenhead, and Yara, her latest novel, promises more complex grappling with sexuality, identity, and womanhood. In this book, the eponymous Yara is sent from Brazil to Israel on a birthright trip. There she finds herself free of both her mother and her older lover’s controlling natures, and that freedom takes her on a debauched trip through North America in the early 2000s, an era when celebrity sex tapes and underwear-less paparazzi photos were commonplace.

Tucked away on Toronto’s historic bpNichol Lane, Coach House Books has been publishing and printing high-quality innovative fiction, poetry and non-fiction since 1965.

Click here for more about Yara + purchasing options.

A Dream Wants Waking by Lydia Kwa (Wolsak & Wynn)

Speculative Fiction

Why it’s on our list: Set in the contrasting time and place of the year 2219 in Luoyang, one of the oldest cities in China, the novel A Dream Wants Waking features a half-human, half-fox spirit named Yinhe. Yinhe finds herself at the mercy of the city’s all-encompassing artificial intelligence system that starts to go awry, and worsening sentiment about “chimeras” – part-human spirits. But while summoned to do dangerous work in the Dream Zone, Yinhe finds the key that might turn things around. This novel blending spec-fic elements with Chinese mythology hurtles toward revelations about love and humanity.

Wolsak & Wynn is an eccentric literary press based in the heart of Hamilton, Ontario. With steel mills on one side of them, the Niagara Escarpment on the other, and Toronto somewhere off in the distance, they spend their time producing brilliant, highly individual, and sometimes provocative books. With over 30 years of publishing behind them, Wolsak & Wynn publishes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction for nearly every taste.

Click here for more about A Dream Wants Waking + purchasing options.

Stazy and the Magic List by Nancy Hundal

(Rebel Mountain Press)

Kids Fantasy

Why it’s on our list: Perfectly timed for the start of spooky season, Stazy and the Magic List is a heartwarming and unique new addition to the long tradition of kids’ books about discovering magic in their everyday lives. When Stazy moves to a new town and school, she finds herself on the cruel end of rejection from three other girls in her class. But when she learns a secret about them, and they learn about a secret of hers, their lives are forever intertwined. Identifying as having a disability, author Nancy Hundal writes with compassion and honesty about Stazy’s dyslexia.

Founded in 2015, Rebel Mountain Press is a small, independently-owned Canadian book publisher of anthologies, poetry, children’s and young adult literature, memoir, and adult fiction. Rebel welcomes new and emerging Canadian authors, as well as more established Canadian writers, and aims to create books that are insightful and promote greater social awareness and tolerance.

Click here for more about Stazy and the Magic List + purchasing options.

Dwelling by Laurie Freedman (At Bay Press)


Why it’s on our list: With the real estate and rental markets what they are these days, Laurie Freedman constructs a potently terrifying thriller in her debut novel Dwelling. After her husband dies, main character Nora flees her small town for the anonymity of big-city Toronto, and finds an apartment with excellent rent. But is the rate – and the seeming helpfulness of her next-door neighbour and landlord Henry – too good to be true?

Manitoba’s At Bay Press strives to seek out new work by undiscovered authors and artists and bring their work to light. They are known for original, thoughtful content as well as exceptionally crafted and well designed titles, some of which are constructed by hand.

Click here for more about Dwelling + purchasing options.

Jawbone by Meghan Greeley (Radiant Press)

Literary Fiction

Why it’s on our list: Meghan Greeley’s debut novel Jawbone has elements of the uncanny – a woman dreams of winning a one-way trip to Mars – but is ultimately about loneliness and the stories we tell ourselves to circumvent it. When the protagonist barricades herself in a cabin to prepare what she hopes will be a prize-winning submission video, she contends with the dissolution of two huge relationships in her life – her boyfriend and her best friend – as well as her jaw, wired closed; a major obstacle to completing the video.

Radiant Press is a small literary press located on Treaty 4 Territory in Regina, Saskatchewan. Radiant is committed to publishing exceptional books by emerging and established authors, regionally and nationally. Their books include poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction as well as those that defy genre.

Click here for more about Jawbone + purchasing options.

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There’s just one more day of fresh new books to come! Books can be purchased on All Lit Up (with free shipping Canada-wide), or from your local indie bookstore (try our Shop Local button located on every book listing to find copies at your local indie).

Click here for more Homegrown picks.