Queer Coded: Canadian Must-Reads

Join us in celebrating All Lit Up’s first ever segment of Queer Coded. To kick off Queer Coded we’re starting off with a list of Canadian must-reads. Read more below.


Share It:

Want to start queering your reading list and don’t know where to start? Need a new book club pick? Welcome to our new blog segment Queer Coded created by our very own Marketing Coordinator, Christie Martin. This segment is set up to explore the queerness within our bookshelf varying across genres and publishers. 

Personal Attention Roleplay by H. Felix Chau Bradley (Metonymy Press)

This short story collection is H. Felix Chau Bradley’s uncanny yet grounded debut. Since then they have been thriving in the Canadian literary scene. Personal Attention Roleplay is charged by queer loneliness, mixed-race confusion, late capitalist despondency, and the pitfalls of intimacy. Queer readers are bound to relate and see themselves in Chau Bradley’s characters. Be sure to check out their short interview with us and their ALU Gift Guide with another amazing queer author, Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch. 

Horrible Dance by Avery Lake (Brick Books)

Of course we couldn’t forget to add a splash of poetry to this list! This title is an accomplished addition to transfeminist thought and theory. Horrible Dance is a 2022 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalist and was Shortlisted in the 2022 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. This brilliant poetic debut dismantles received definitions of both gender and violence. These poems hold a survivor’s guilt and rage with regard to relational trauma. 

Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr (Coach House Books)

I’m sure by now most of you have seen Suzette Mayr’s acceptance speech at the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize award ceremony—if not make sure you’re prepared with some tissues to dry your eyes. Mayr dedicates her speech to those that are closeted and cannot come out or are too scared to come out, much like the protagonist Baxter in Sleeping Car Porter. This is a highly praised title that cannot be missed and is an important historic representation of what it meant to be a closeted gay Black man within North America in 1929.

A Dream of a Woman by Casey Plett (Arsenal Pulp Press)

The short stories from this collection scope into the true trans* lived experience. From wanting to leave your home town to explore a new life with your chosen family, to being forced to live with your parents after living an unconventional lifestyle, and to navigating your new found body with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Finding comfort in familiar relationships, A Dream of a Woman welcomes a space for those wandering queers searching for home. Be sure to check out this title by award-winning author Casey Plett. 

The Pump by Sydney Hegele (Invisible Publishing)

We know, another short story collection! Well we can’t be stopped in adoring The Pump by Sydney Hegele. This title has received much praise, winning the 2022 ReLit Awards and contending as a finalist for the 2022 Trillium Book Award. This is a Gothic collection of stories featuring carnivorous beavers, art-eaters, and family intrigue. If you’re a fan of Alice Munro and Shirley Jackson you’ll love The Pump

Duecentomila by kai fig taddei (Playwrights Canada Press)

Coming out is a big deal, and Kat accidentally exposes Eli when she creates a crowdfund for him to get a flight to attend Toronto Pride. Duecentomila is full of poetry, laughter, and big questions, this touching story paints a portrait of what it’s like for young people wanting to reconcile what they’ve inherited with what feels right. Perfect for both adult and young adult readers making this title a must-read. 

* * *

Thanks for tuning in for our first segment of Queer Coded. What would you like to see featured on Queer Coded? Let us know in the comments below or on social channels at @alllitupcanada.