5 Canadian books to look for in March

By Bree Duwyn

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

By Alicia Elliott

Release Date: March 26, 2019

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A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott is an important and personal reflection on racism, oppression and trauma.

Alicia Elliott offers raw insight on the treatment of Indigenous people in North America and comprehension to the continuance of colonialism and its legacy. She explores the ties between both emotional, spiritual, and cultural loss in both figurative and literal perspectives by making pivotal connections between past and present. Elliott also attempts to answer questions behind the most pressing Indigenous issues faced in today’s society to forge a welcoming tool for a better future filled with respect.

Alicia Elliot is a Tuscarora author from Brantford, Ont., from Six Nations of the Grand River and lives with her husband and child. She has had work published by The Globe and Mail, Vice, Maclean’s, CBC and Reader’s Digest, among many more. She works at The Fiddlehead as the Creative Nonfiction Editor, is an Associate Nonfiction Editor at Little Fiction | Big Truths, and works as a consulting editor for The New Quarterly. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground won gold at the 2017 National Magazine Awards.

We All Fall Down

By Daniel Kalla

Release Date: March 26, 2019

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We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla is about a woman named Alana Vaughn, who is an infectious diseases expert with NATO. Alana is urgently requested by an ex-lover to travel to Genoa, Italy to examine an unusually ill patient in critical need. She’s shocked to find out that the illness is a recurrence of the Black Death, also known as the Great Plague. Alana suspects bioterrorism but Byron Menke, who works for WHO, disagrees. In a chaotic hunt to track down Patient Zero, they come across a near century old monastery and an old medieval journal that might hold the secret to the outbreak. As the deadly disease rapidly spreads, it’s a dash to uncover the truth before countless lives are lost.

Daniel Kalla resides in Vancouver and works as an Emergency Room Physician in a major teaching hospital. He received his B.Sc. in mathematics and his MD from the University of British Columbia. Kalla also doubles as a writer, managing a dual career. He has written a total of 11 books and his Shanghai trilogy has been optioned for feature films. He pairs his job as a physician to the themes and concepts of his novels. This includes Kalla’s first medical thriller, Pandemic, which was inspired by his experience in facing the SARS crisis of 2003. Kalla has appeared on ABC, FoxNews, NBC, CNN, CBC Radio, The National Post, City TV, The Vancouver Sun and many more. Kalla now works as a clinical associate professor and the department head of St. Paul’s Hospital ER.

Crow

By Amy Spurway

Release Date: March 26, 2019

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Crow is about Stacey Fortune, known to most as Crow, who is diagnosed with three inoperable brain tumours that send her running from her glamorous life in Toronto to her mother’s trailer home in rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Everyone in her hometown believes that Crow’s family is cursed. Crow decides to write a memoir to stun all. She’ll dig into her family’s past, investigate the alleged curse and uncover the mystery of her father, who vanished before she was born. Crow contends with an electric bunch of characters that add more flavour and spice to her memoir and her life. Crow by Amy Spurway is a witty, energetic and humorous tale of twists, drama and soul.

Amy Spurway was raised in Cape Breton, which influenced the setting of Crow. At the young age of 11, Spurway landed her first writing and performing jobs with CBC Radio. From there, she worked as a communications consultant, editor, performer and speech-writer. Spurway’s work has appeared in the Toronto Star, Babble, and Elephant Journal, as well as Today’s Parent. She currently resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

This One Looks Like a Boy

By Lorimer Shenher

Release Date: March 31, 2019

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Lorimer Shenher’s This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man is an honest memoir of his gender transition. It is an inspiring coming-of-age story that embraces identity.

This memoir is thoughtful as Shenher shares his life experience of his gender journey from his childhood to adolescent experimentation to early adulthood denial of his gender identity.  This One Looks Like a Boy brings the reader on Shenher’s journey of self discovery and finding acceptance.

Shenher is an author, the former head of the Missing Persons Unit in Vancouver, and is also an influential public speaker. He speaks on a large spectrum of topics, including police culture and its impact on society in relation to the fight for human rights of marginalized people. Shenher is recently retired and the recipient of a MA in Professional Communication (2017). He is now a full-time writer in multiple media and has experience as a reporter and photographer, as well as a film extra and a TV technical consultant.

Immigrant City

By David Bezmozgis

Release Date: March 12, 2019

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Immigrant City is a collection of short stories written by David Bezmozgis that all focus on the lives of immigrants. Immigrant City, the titular tale, tells the story of a father and daughter duo who find themselves in an unusual version of his immigrant childhood. These tales create a sense of wonder and journey as the underlying themes play with self-discovery and following one’s heart. Within these enriched stories, Bezmozgis presents complex immigrant characters in a heartfelt demonstration.

An award-winning writer and filmmaker, David Bezmozgis has had his work published in The New Yorker, Harpers, Zoetrope All-Story and The Walrus. Bezmozgis has also written Natasha and Other Stories, a story collection and novels such as The Free World and The Betrayers.

Bezmozgis’ first feature film, Victoria Day, premiered in competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and has received a Genie Award nomination (Canada) for Best Original Screenplay.

He graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and now lives in Toronto.

5 Black Canadian authors you should be reading right now

By Chloe Cook

February is Black History Month, and there’s no time like the present to start reading some of Canada’s most celebrated black authors.

Dionne Brand

Photo courtesy Pearl Pirie/Flickr

Photo courtesy Pearl Pirie/Flickr

Dionne Brand is an award winning poet, novelist and documentarian. Born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1953, Brand moved to Canada after high school to attend the University of Toronto. In 2017, she was admitted to the Order of Canada. Brand is also an outspoken activist for women’s and immigrant issues in Canada.

Dionne Brand’s must read: What We All Long For. This is a story of a group of friends who are learning to balance the difficulties that young adulthood and life throw their way. Based in Toronto, this novel shares stories of people from all different backgrounds and shows a true representation of Toronto’s diversity.

Esi Edugyan

Photo courtesy Daniel Harasymchuk/Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy Daniel Harasymchuk/Wikimedia Commons

Esi Edugyan is a black fiction novelist from Alberta, Canada. She wrote her first book, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, which gained critical acclaim at just 24-years-old. She often writes about the black experience from a historical perspective, showing that the themes from yesterday still hold true today.

Esi Edugyan’s must read: Washington Black. In the latest novel by Edugyan, Washington Black is an 11 year old boy who is born and raised on a plantation in Barbados until his master’s brother chooses him to become his personal manservant. Washington Black explores the complexities of relationships and freedom in this deeply moving tale.

Dany Laferrière

Photo courtesy Nemo Perier Stefanovitch/Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy Nemo Perier Stefanovitch/Wikimedia Commons

Dany Laferrière is a French Canadian author whose many literary works have garnered a lot of attention throughout the years. He was born in Haiti and moved to Canada in 1978 where he began a career as a journalist. Shortly thereafter, he made the jump into fiction writing in 1985. While his works are written in French, they are mostly all translated into English for us anglophones to enjoy.

Dany Laferrière’s must read: How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired. Published in 1985, this novel launched Laferrière’s career. Provocative, witty and charming, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, gives a biting look into the life of a Black man living in Montreal.

Lawrence Hill

Photo courtesy Nigel Dickson/Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy Nigel Dickson/Wikimedia Commons

Lawrence Hill is a wildly popular novelist from Newmarket, Ont. In his youth, Hill sought to be an Olympic athlete but turned to writing as a teenager. He started his career in journalism and eventually became the parliamentary bureau chief for a newspaper in Ottawa where he covered Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court before moving to Spain to write fiction full time.

Lawrence Hill’s must read: The Book of Negroes. Easily Hill’s most popular book, The Book of Negroes tells the story of Aminata Diallo, a young woman who escapes her slave owner after being abducted from her village. She goes on to work for the British Army, creating The Book of Negroes, a ledger with all of the names of slaves that were freed by the British side during the Revolutionary War. The Book of Negroes is a real document that can been seen in the National Archives in London, England.

André Alexis

Photo courtesy vabookfest via Instagram

André Alexis has gained a lot of buzz recently for his fictional works. He was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1957 and moved to Ottawa where he started a career in theatre. Throughout his stage career and up until present day, he wrote novels and short stories. Alexis now lives in Toronto where he continues writing while also teaching english and creative writing at the University of Toronto.

André Alexis’ must read: Fifteen Dogs. This follows the story of 15 dogs who are given human consciousness after Greek gods, Hermes and Apollo, make a wager in a Toronto bar one night. Fifteen Dogs studies the human condition and its many complexities as the dogs adapt to their newfound capabilities. Make sure to keep an eye out for all of the Toronto landmarks named in this novel, too!