Homegrown: Locally Produced Reads (September 28)

We’re back with an all-new batch of Fall releases from your favourite independent Canadian literary presses.

Today’s books include fiction-in-translation, a poetry collection from a covert CanLit lover, and a beautifully-illustrated children’s book. Read on to learn more about all of our picks.

Locally Produced Reads: Homegrown


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The Words We Share by Jack Wong (Annick Press)

Kids’ Fiction

Why it’s on our list: An experience that’s common among the children of immigrants but seldom talked about is the onus on those kids to act as their parents’ translators and advocates in their new home countries. The touchingly-written and beautifully-illustrated The Words We Share by Jack Wong handles this common experience with kindness, empathy, and love, and shows how young Angie and her father help each other and work together to navigate their new life in Canada.

Founded in 1975, Annick Press publishes dynamic, groundbreaking fiction and nonfiction for children and teens, and our books have been recognized with numerous awards and honours. We strive to create educational, entertaining books that will spark a lifelong love affair with the written word.

Click here for more about The Words We Share + purchasing options.

A Ramshackle Home by Felicia Mihali,

translated by Judith Weisz Woodsworth

(Linda Leith Publishing)

Fiction in Translation

Why it’s on our list: In her latest novel A Ramshackle Home, Montreal writer Felicia Mihali details a woman’s return to her childhood house – with her young son in tow – after her marriage ends. Far from a refuge to return to, the house’s surrounding countryside has seen neglect and active destruction from a half-century of communist rule. Instead, the woman seeks solace within her imagination. We love fiction-in-translation and have been fans of Mihali since 2012’s The Darling of Kandahar, and can’t wait to read this new entry.

Linda Leith Publishing is a Montreal-based literary house that publishes in both English and French. Founded in 2011 by Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival founder Linda Leith, LLP seeks out original voices and edgy subjects, with a special interest in bridging the language divide between Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Click here for more about A Ramshackle Home + purchasing options.

Cocktail by Lisa Alward (Biblioasis)

Short Stories

Why it’s on our list: We wouldn’t be the first to call Lisa Alward a “writer to watch” – Kirkus Reviews and the Toronto Star already beat us to it. These precise stories cut like diamonds – or dare we say, cocktail glasses? – and feature the delicate and terse interplay among the most intimate relationships of her characters’ lives: husbands and wives, parents and children. The effect is chilling and gripping at once; and we think you’ll savour every drop of Cocktail.

Biblioasis is a literary press based out of Windsor, Ontario, committed to publishing the best poetry, fiction, and non-fiction in beautifully crafted editions. Biblioasis has a popular International Translation series, which translates important works of literature from its native language into English.

Click here for more about Cocktail + purchasing options.

Soft Inheritance by Fawn Parker (Palimpsest Press)


Why it’s on our list: Fawn Parker’s short story “WunderHorse II” was an ALU team favourite in last year’s book club reading of the anthology After Realism, and we were thrilled to hear she had a debut poetry collection on the docket for this fall. Soft Inheritance is a meditation on grief, sickness, and the things – material and in body – that can be inherited. Written after her mother’s cancer diagnosis, these poems move past questions of our own mortality to that of our loved ones, and trouble our ideas of what needs to be held onto after they die.

Based in Windsor, Palimpsest Press’s mission is to publish high quality work in beautifully designed and collectible volumes. Their belief is that a book should be an object of beauty and inspiration. They aim to seek out the best new and established voices in Canadian literature and have committed to publish at least 20 percent of their titles by authors living with disability.

Click here for more about Soft Inheritance + purchasing options.

Semi-Detached by Elizabeth Ruth (Cormorant Books)

LGBTQ+ Fiction

Why it’s on our list: A story spanning 70 years and connected by a semi-detached house in Toronto, Elizabeth Ruth’s novel Semi-Detached examines the treatment of lesbian women over time. Through the characters of Laura, a realtor tasked with selling the house, and Eddie (Edna), its comatose owner, readers are introduced to the ice storms that bookend their intervening years and a murder that connects them both. It’s a gripping and deeply human story (so much so that we’ll forgive the early mention of ice storms when it’s still just the beginning of fall).

Based in Ontario, Cormorant Books publishes literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as well as books for young people under the imprint DCB. The company’s dedication to publishing a diversity of voices continues, along with the belief that these voices are worth reading, not just for a small and select audience, but for the largest possible one.

Click here for more about Semi-Detached + purchasing options.

Mudflowers by Aley Waterman (Dundurn Press)

LGBTQ+ Fiction

Why it’s on our list: Aley Waterman’s debut novel, the bildungsroman Mudflowers, follows main character Sophie as she leaves her home in Newfoundland after her mother’s death. As she grows accustomed to a new city, she begins to shed herself of her previous identity and crush in favour of dazzling new love, but as secrets emerge between old loves and new, Sophie stands at risk of losing them both. We love a literary love triangle, what can we say?

Established in 1972, Dundurn Press is one of Canada’s largest and leading independent trade publishers. A home for all readers and writers in its community through its welcoming storefront space in Leslieville, Toronto, Dundurn also publishes across numerous genres, from literary and genre fiction, to lifestyle, memoir and biography, history and public policy, and middle-grade and teen fiction.

Click here for more about Mudflowers + 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.