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Homegrown: Locally Produced Reads (October 3)
We’re back this week with an all-new batch of fall releases from your favourite independent Canadian literary presses.
Today’s books include much-anticipated literary fiction, a Stranger-Things-esque YA novel, magical realism, and short stories.
The Legend of Baraffo by Moez Surani (Book*hug Press)
Why it’s on our list: Poet Moez Surani’s debut fiction has been on our most anticipated list for good reason: it’s an exceptionally written and propulsive fable-like story with fascinating philosophical questions. About revolution, political will, and friendship, The Legend of Baraffo is a coming-of-age about a young boy wrestling to understand the motivations of a man imprisoned for an act of arson, and a town called Baraffo, gripped by revolutionary fervour. A chain of events leads to pressing questions about social change: is it better accelerated by those who seek total transformation, or attained by those trying to work within the system?
Book*hug Press is a radically optimistic, award-winning Canadian indie press publishing culturally urgent books. Committed to building an equitable and inclusive publishing landscape by amplifying culturally diverse voices, they specialize in dynamic and contemporary literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and literature in translation.
Click here for more about The Legend of Baraffo + purchasing options.
Deep Sea Feline by Dave Hurlow (Latitude 46 Publishing)
Why it’s on our list: We sure do love a debut, and this action-packed rumination on greed versus humanity from writer and musician Dave Hurlow has us excited. In it, Charlie, a failing musician in Toronto, is gifted a song that has drastic implications for his life and musical career. Who does the gifting? A mysterious creature from another world, of course. In this all-that-glitters-is-not-gold scenario, Charlie must figure out a way to restore equilibrium and save Toronto as chaos reigns around him.
Latitude 46 Publishing has been publishing literary works by established and emerging writers with connections to northern Ontario since 2015. They publish a variety of genres, including fiction and non-fiction, poetry, and young adult from diverse storytellers.
Click here for more about Deep Sea Feline + purchasing options.
The Grimmer by Naben Ruthnumm (ECW Press)
Young Adult / Horror
Why it’s on our list: The supernatural horror-thriller we wished we had when we were teens, Naben Ruthnum’s first YA offering The Grimmer is unlike any. When highschooler Vish, one of the only brown kids in his town, is attacked after being mistaken for a relative of a weird local bookseller, he’s pulled into the world of the occult and must defeat an interdimensional invasion before it destroys their peaceful town. Cinematic and gripping, this Stranger-Things-esque novel is just as much a wild ride of jump scares, body horror, and twists as it is a thoughtful consideration of racial issues, marginalization, and identity.
ECW Press – Entertainment, Culture, Writing – publishes a heady mix of commercial and literary works. Publishing fifty titles per year, ECW has a vibrant backlist which includes poetry, fiction, mysteries, and pop culture writing. An indie that is far-reaching, their books have been translated into several languages and distributed throughout the world.
Click here for more about The Grimmer + purchasing options.
The Twistical Nature of Spoons by Patti Grayson (Turnstone Press)
Fiction / Magical Realism
Why it’s on our list: A whimsical tale about family myths, secrets, and magical powers told from alternating perspectives, The Twistical Nature of Spoons opens with a prophecy, a pregnancy, and a curse. In it, single mother Ina tries to ward off a dire fate for her daughter, Blisse, while creating a sense of love and wonder. A novel full of magic, both in story and prose, Patti Grayson’s newest novel is about the lengths a mother will go to protect her child and herself from the fallout of half-truths.
Founded in a Winnipeg pub in 1976, Turnstone Press publishes fiction, poetry, literary criticism and non-fiction with an imprint dedicated to mysteries and thrillers. Their list is made up of about fifty percent Manitoba writers and books with local content, as well as a significant number of new writers.
Click here for more about The Twistical Nature of Spoons + purchasing options.
Avalanche by Jessica Westhead
Why it’s on our list: From dazzling stylist Jessica Westhead, Avalanche is a collection of stories that explore white entitlement and identity. Often funny, and always thoughtful, these stories feature white, cis, straight, and mostly middle-aged characters who are spectacularly misguided and oblivious to their privilege and to the violence of everyday racism, and who often try and fail at being socially aware. This is an empathetic, must-read collection that provokes the systems of white supremacy and shines a light on the harmful actions of its self-absorbed characters.
A small but mighty indie publisher with a reputation for producing beautiful and downright-rad contemporary books, Invisible Publishing has been taking chances on debut authors and diverse projects since 2007. They are all about building communities that encourage current and engaging literary writing—and it shows in the authors they publish.
Click here for more about Avalanche + purchasing options.
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Join us here every Tuesday and Thursday until October 12 for a roundup of fresh new books. 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.