September is upon us and fall is in the air. Between new releases, literary awards, and launch events, there is no better time to be a book lover! To celebrate the season, we’ve curated a collection of new and forthcoming books to fill out your “to be read” list this fall. Use the "Shop Local" button to pick up or pre-order these titles at your nearest indie bookstore.
By André Alexis
Published by Coach House Books (September 28)
From their very first meeting, it would seem that Gwen and Tancred were made for one another. Like all good romances, Ring will bring them together. There is, of course, a wrinkle. Gwenhwyfar’s mother, Helen Odhiambo Lloyd, upon intuiting that her daughter is in love, gives her a ring. This ring has been passed down from endless generations of mothers to their daughters and it may be magic. It grants the bearer the opportunity to change three things about her beloved. Complete with a long narrative poem about Aphrodite, Ring turns the literary romance upside down and shakes out its pockets. It’s a playful meditation on the past, on magic, on honour, on faith, and yes, on love.
André Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
What Storm, What Thunder
By Myriam J.A. Chancy
Published by HarperCollins Canada (September 14)
At the end of a long, sweltering day, as markets and businesses begin to close for the evening, an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude shakes the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. What Storm, What Thunder charts the inner lives of the characters affected by the disaster – including Richard, an expat and wealthy water-bottling executive with a secret daughter; the daughter, Anne, an architect who drafts affordable housing structures for a global NGO; a small-time drug trafficker, Leopold, who pines for a beautiful call girl; and more. Artfully weaving together these lives, this gripping story gives witness to the desolation wreaked by nature and by man.
Myriam J. A. Chancy, born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised there and in Canada, is the author of four books of literary criticism and of four novels. Her novel, The Loneliness of Angels, won the Guyana Prize for Literature Best Caribbean Fiction Award 2011, and was shortlisted in the fiction category of the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature. Her first novel, Spirit of Haiti, was shortlisted for Best First Book, Canada/Caribbean for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2004.
By Chantal Gibson
Published by Caitlin Press (September 17)
with/holding is a collection of genre-blurring poems that examines the representation and reproduction of Blackness across communication media and popular culture. In this follow-up to her award-winning debut collection, Chantal gives sombre voice to Nostalgia, “the signifying ache in search of its signified.” A meditation on the rise of falling monuments, in the wake of Add to Cart consumer culture, this collection draws on the language of brand marketing, news and social media, DIY culture and graphic design—”the tyranny of copy and paste” – to confront the role of the new colonial machinery in the relentless consumption and commodification of Black bodies.
Chantal Gibson is an award-winning writer-artist-educator living on the unceded, traditional, ancestral lands of the Coast Salish Peoples. Working in the overlap between literary and visual art, her work confronts colonialism head on, imagining the BIPOC voices silenced in the spaces and omissions left by systemic cultural and institutional erasure. Her visual art has been exhibited in museums and galleries across Canada and the US, most recently in the Senate of Canada building in Ottawa.
Leonard Cohen opens in Los Angeles on the last night of the man’s life in 2016. Alone in his final hours, the beloved writer and musician ponders his existence in a series of flashbacks that reveal the ups and downs of a storied career. A young Cohen traded in the promise of steady employment in his family’s upscale Montreal garment business for the unlikely path of a literary poet. His life took another sharp turn when, already in his 30s, he recorded his first album to widespread international acclaim. Written with careful attention to detail and drawn with a palette of warm, lush colours by Quebec-based cartoonist Philippe Girard, this book is an engaging portrait of a cultural icon.
Philippe Girard was born in Québec City, Canada, in 1971. He published his first comic in a children’s magazine when he was 8 years old and has since published more than 20 books. His comics have received the Joe Shuster, the Bedelys Quebec, and the Bedeis Causa Awards. He lives in Quebec, Canada.
While sorting through the possessions of his recently deceased neighbour, Harold Johnson discovered an old, handwritten manuscript containing epic stories composed in an obscure Swedish dialect. The first saga tells of three Björkans, led by Juha, who set out from their valley to discover what lies beyond its borders. Their quest brings them into contact with the devious story-trader Anthony de Marchand, a group of gun-toting aliens in search of Heaven, and an ethereal Medicine Woman named Lilly. In the second saga, Juha is called upon to protect his people from invaders bent on stealing the secrets contained within the valley’s sacred trees. The third saga chronicles the journey of Lilly as she travels across the universe to bring aid to Juha and the Björkans, who face their deadliest enemy yet.
Harold R. Johnson has authored many works of fiction and nonfiction. Born and raised in northern Saskatchewan, Johnson served in the Canadian Navy and has been a miner, logger, mechanic, trapper, tree planter, and heavy-equipment operator. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and managed a private practice before becoming a Crown prosecutor. Johnson is a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation.
In 2019, the restaurant business was booming. Americans spent more than half of their annual food budgets dining out. In a generation, chefs had gone from behind-the-scenes labourers to TV stars. The arrival of Seamless, DoorDash, and other meal delivery apps was overtaking home cooking. Beneath all that growth lurked serious problems. Many of the best restaurants in the world employed unpaid cooks. Meal delivery apps were putting many restaurants out of business. And all that dining out meant dramatically less healthy diets. And, then, along came COVID-19. From the farm to the curbside pickup parking spot, everything about the restaurant business is changing, for better or worse. The Next Supper tells this story, and offers clear and essential advice for what and how to eat to ensure the well-being of cooks and waitstaff, not to mention our bodies and the environment.
Corey Mintz is a freelance food reporter focusing on the intersection between food with labor, politics, farming, ethics and culture. He has been a cook, a restaurant critic and is the author of How to Host a Dinner Party, which chronicled 192 dinner parties he hosted with fascinating people.
In this sumptuous and precisely researched biography, celebrated poet and biographer Molly Peacock brings Mary Hiester Reid, foremother of painters such as Georgia O’Keefe, out of the shadows, revealing a fascinating, complex woman who insisted on her right to live as a married artist, not as a tragic heroine. Molly uses her poet’s skill to create a structurally inventive portrait of this extraordinary woman whom modernism almost swept aside, weaving threads of her own marriage with Hiester Reid’s, following the history of empathy and examining how women manage the demands of creativity and domesticity, coping with relationships, stoves, and steamships, too.
Molly Peacock is the author of The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72, as well as seven volumes of poetry, including The Analyst: Poems. She is an arts activist and a former Leon Levy Center for Biography Fellow. Molly divides her time between Toronto and New York City.
The small southern Ontario town known as The Pump lies at the crossroads of this world’s violence – a tainted water supply, an apathetic municipal government, the Gothic decay of rural domesticity – and another’s. In this collection of interconnected stories, no one is immune to The Pump’s sacrificial games. Lighthouse dwellers, Boy Scouts, queer church camp leaders, love-sick and sick-sick writers, nine-year-old hunters, art-eaters—each must navigate the swamp of their own morality while living on land that is always slowly (and sometimes very quickly) killing them.
Sydney Warner Brooman was raised in Grimsby, ON. They attended Western University in London, Ontario, and currently live in Toronto. The Pump is their debut short fiction collection. Their story “The Bottom” was shortlisted for The Malahat Review’s 2020 Open Season Awards, and they have recent work in American Chordata, Thorn Literary Magazine, and other literary journals.
Jesse Wente remembers the exact moment he realized that he was a certain kind of Indian – a stereotypical cartoon Indian. He was playing softball as a child when the opposing team began to war-whoop when he was at bat. Part memoir and part manifesto, Unreconciled is a stirring call to arms to put truth over the flawed concept of reconciliation, and to build a new, respectful relationship between the nation of Canada and Indigenous peoples.
Jesse Wente is an Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster, and arts leader. Born and raised in Toronto, his family comes from Chicago and Genaabaajing Anishinaabek and he is a member of the Serpent River First Nation. Best known for more than two decades spent as a columnist for CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, he also worked at the Toronto International Film Festival for eleven years. In February 2018 he was named the first Executive Director of the Indigenous Screen Office. Wente was appointed Chair of the Canada Council for the Arts in 2020, the only First Nations person to ever hold the position.
Grace Porter is reeling from grief after her partner of seven years unexpectedly leaves. Amidst her heartache, the thirty-year-old library tech is tasked with reading newly discovered letters that Amelia Earhart wrote to her lover, Gene Vidal. She becomes captivated by the famous pilot who disappeared in 1937. Letter by letter, Grace understands more about Amelia while piecing her own life back together. Underscoring the power of reading and writing letters for self-discovery, Letters to Amelia is, above all, a story of the essential need for connection—and our universal ability to find hope in the face of fear.
Lindsay Zier-Vogel is a Toronto-based writer, arts educator, and the creator of the internationally-acclaimed Love Lettering Project. Her writing has been widely published in Canada and the U.K. Since 2001, she has been teaching creative writing workshops in schools and communities. Her hand-bound books are housed in the permanent collection at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto.