Super Secret Festival of Lit: LGBT Voices

We’re revealing our Super Secret Festival of Lit mystery titles! Today’s pick is a fresh voice that has already won awards despite this being a first published book-length work. The tone is both heartbreaking and funny, but relatable to many as our narrator navigates both rural and urban experiences. Buy any one of these titles from now until December 18th and receive a free set of four CanLit holiday cards.Drum roll please…


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Sideshow Concessions by Lucas Crawford (Invisible Publishing)

What It’s About

A collection populated by the circus-like bodies and experiences of a narrator navigating rural pasts and urban presents, Sideshow Concessions is the unofficial story of someone who is both a bearded lady and the fattest man in the world.ALU’s Julia Horel picked Sideshow Concessions as her fall preview pick saying, “This collection is themed on the narrator’s experiences of a sometimes-hostile rural coming of age, living in a fat, queer, transgender body that is perceived as and likened to a circus. I’ve been lucky enough to read an advance manuscript and found Sideshow Concessions to be incredibly readable and honest, with many phrases and passages that jump off the page and demand to be re-read.” Learn more.*We already gave Sideshow Concessions our Chappy Hour treatment – read an excerpt here.

Why We Chose It

Lucas Crawford provides readers with a fresh and honest voice. One that has already received critical acclaim; Sideshow Concessions won the 2015 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Lucas was also selected as the 2015 critic-in-residence at the Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (CWILA) association.

Who Would Love This Book

This book will especially resonate with those readers who are interested in considering new ways to think about gender, bodies, memory, time, sex, etc. Crawford touches on fat politics, gender, sexuality, and complicated family dynamics.

Reviews & Media

Sideshow Concessions is fresh, honest, heartbreaking, and funny, with turns of phrase equally intelligent and moving.” – Karen Solie, 2015 Robert Kroetsch Award judge* * * 

More books featuring LGBT Voices:

Late Company by Jordan Tannahill (Playwrights Canada Press)

One year after the suicide of their teenage son Joel, Debora and Michael Shaun-Hastings sit down to dinner with their son’s bully and his parents. Late Company is a compelling drama that raises more questions than answers, and urges you to explore themes of bullying, teen suicide, grief, and forgiveness. Learn more.

Why We Chose It

Tannahill’s writing is subtle, and his characters are frustrating, flawed, and human as they take turns in the hot seat at a truth and reconciliation dinner. Be prepared to join them as you sit at different ends of the table from one minute to the next. 

Who Would Love This Book

This book is for those that want to be challenged, read great dialogue, and for those that liked Herman Koch’s The Dinner. (But also for those who didn’t like that novel.)

Jazz by Elizabeth Copeland (Quattro Books)

When he is forced to leave his suburban home at age seventeen, Jazz – a transgender F2M – moves into the heart of Toronto’s LGBT community in hopes of finding the help he needs to begin his transition to reclaim his body and identity. Learn more.

Why We Chose It

This engaging and dramatic story won the 2013 Ken Klonsky Novella Award. It is an important story that highlights the realities of the courage it takes to be transgendered in today’s society.

Who Would Love This Book

For those looking for insight into what it’s like to be a transgendered youth in today’s world. The emotional and personal growth by the 17-year-old protagonist will be satisfying for both teens and adults.

Breathing Lessons by Andy Sinclair (Vehicule Press)

Henry craves lasting intimacy in his life amidst the equal-opportunity freedom afforded by his generation’s openness. However, finding what he wants from life is as delicate as learning to breathe again. Learn more.

Why We Chose It

Sinclair’s writing is very original and honest: Angie Abdou says “Readers will recognize themselves in these scenes, even when they least want to.”

Who Would Love This Book

For the reader who is still searching for what they want out of life, and/or for those who aren’t afraid to admit when their mother might have a point.

Bodymap by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Mawenzi House)

Leah documents the small moments of the body’s resistance and delves deep into what it means to be a queer woman of colour in North America. Learn more.

Why We Chose It

Leah’s poems discuss many threads that we can all relate to: ancestors, lovers, families, our own bodies, and she does so with a strength of voice that is inspiring to read.

Who Would Love This Book

For people who are not looking for tidy answers in their literature, Bodymap will speak to the reader that is looking to be challenged in an honest way.* * *We’re revealing each of our eight mystery titles: get caught up on our Super Secret Festival of Lit here. Buy any one of these titles from now until December 18th and receive a free set of four CanLit holiday cards.