The CBC Books summer reading list: 45 Canadian books to read this season


Need a good book to relax with this season? Check out this list of buzzworthy Canadian titles out right now.

Do You Remember Being Born? is a novel by Sean Michaels. (Random House Canada)

Do You Remember Being Born? follows a famous poet named Marian Ffarmer, who after years of dedicating herself singularly to her art has started to question her life choices. After receiving an invitation to the Silicon Valley headquarters of one of the biggest tech companies in the world, Marian begins collaborating with a state-of-the-art poetry bot named Charlotte. What follows is a journey of self-discovery for both Marian and Charlotte, as the two begin to form a friendship unlike any Marian has ever known.

Sean Michaels was born in Stirling, Scotland and moved to Montreal, where he currently lives, when he was 18 years old. His first novel, Us Conductors, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2014 and was nominated for the First Novel Award, the Kirkus Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award. Michaels is also the founder of the music blog Said the Gramophone.

LISTEN | Sean Michaels speaks with Matt Galloway on artificial intelligence: 

The Current24:02Could AI put authors out of business?

Hundreds of writers have learned that their books have been used to train artificial intelligence to spit out imitations. Bestselling authors Sean Michaels and Linwood Barclay discuss what AI might mean for human creativity and artist compensation.

A black book cover featuring bright, closely photographed flowers.
Dispersals is an essay collection by Jessica J. Lee. (Hamish Hamilton, Ricardo A. Rivas)

Dispersals: On Plants, Borders, and Belonging is a collection of 14 essays that use the global world of flora to examine how the lives of plants and human beings intersect and connect with each other. Blending memoir, scientific research and history, Jessica J. Lee interrogates displacement, identity and belonging to explore the movement and evolution of individuals and plant species across borders.

Lee is a British Canadian Taiwanese author and environmental historian. She won the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the 2021 Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature and the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. She is the author of Turning and Two Trees Make a Forest, which was championed by musician Scott Helman on Canada Reads in 2021.

A red book cover with 4 illustrated yellow winders and a fifth that is blue and has a comet shooting out of it.
Interesting Facts About Space is a novel by Emily Austin. (Atria Books, Bridget Forberg)

Interesting Facts About Space tells the story of Enid, a space-obsessed serial-dating lesbian. With a penchant for true crime podcasts, she can easily handle the vastness of space and gruesome murder details. But she’s got one major phobia: bald men. And while she desperately tries to keep it under control, she can’t shake the feeling that someone is following her.

Emily Austin is a writer based in Ottawa who studied English literature and library science at Western University. She is also the author of the novel Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead and the poetry collection Gay Girl Prayers

LISTEN | Emily Austin shares Interesting Facts About Space:

The Next Chapter12:53Interesting Facts About Space and a phobia of bald men

Ottawa-based writer Emily Austin talks about her funny, heartfelt novel about being yourself — and more importantly being OK with that.

Composite of author Carley Fortune and one of her book cover that reads: This Summer will be Different.
Carley Fortune is the author of This Summer Will be Different. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press, Viking Canada)

Vacationing one summer on Prince Edward Island, Lucy meets Felix in an electric, chemistry-filled night. Only one problem: Felix is her best friend Bridget’s younger brother. On her annual return trips to P.E.I., Lucy vows to avoid Felix and his bed, that This Summer Will Be Different — easier said than done. When Bridget rushes home to P.E.I. in crisis a week before her wedding, Lucy can only follow and remind herself to protect her heart, but finally wonders if she really wants to do that after all. 

Carley Fortune is a Toronto-based journalist who has worked as an editor for Refinery29, The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine and Toronto Life. Her second book, Meet Me at the Lake was a contender for Canada Reads 2024, when it was championed by Mirian Njoh.

LISTEN | Carley Fortune on what inspires her work:

385:50:00Carley Fortune: On leaving journalism to become a romance novelist

nCarley Fortune is the Canadian author behind the New York Times bestselling novels “Every Summer After” and “Meet Me at the Lake” (the latter of which is being adapted for Netflix by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle). Carley talks to Tom about her new book “This Summer Will Be Different,” leaving journalism to pursue being a novelist, and why the romance genre is having a moment right now.

A cartoon book cover of a man and woman fishing off a dock. A photo of a woman with long black hair wearing a pink dress.
The Catch is a book by Amy Lea. (Amy Lea, Berkley)

American influencer Melanie and burly Canadian B&B owner Evan collide on Canada’s eastern fishing coast in The Catch. Attempting to rescue her fading brand, Melanie agrees to be Evan’s fake fiancée, whose family is in the midst of a longtime feud over the B&B. Sparks fly in the Canadian wilderness despite their best efforts and Melanie must quickly decide if they’re worth giving up her perfect city life.

Amy Lea is an Ottawa-based contemporary romance writer and Canadian bureaucrat. Her previous novels include Woke Up Like This, which was on the Canada Reads 2024 longlist, Exes and O’s and Set on You

LISTEN | The Catch on All In A Day‘s Book Club:

10:58Amy Lea’s Exes And O’s is the next book for the All In A Day Book Club

Amy talks to Alan about the June 24th event at Station Eleven

Last Woman by Carleigh Baker. Illustrated book cover shows a great whale swimming upwards in a pink, purple and blue ocean. Portrait of the author.
Last Woman is a collection of short stories by Carleigh Baker. (McClelland & Stewart)

Last Woman is a collection of 13 short stories that explore the “hellscape” world of the contemporary moment through anxious and sometimes otherworldly characters. A group of billionaire aliens observe planet Earth, a snobbish professor looks down upon genre fiction, homes are lost to wildfires and floods. In these ever-present and absurd stories is a greater theme of climate change and our fear of what is to come. 

Carleigh Baker is a writer and teacher of Cree-Métis and Icelandic heritage. Her debut story collection, Bad Endings won the City of Vancouver Book Award and was a finalist for the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award. She previously taught creative writing at Simon Fraser University. 

LISTEN | Carleigh Baker on The Next Chapter with Ali Hassan: 

The Next Chapter18:44Worries and weirdness of the contemporary world in Last Women

<p>Vancouver-based author Carleigh Baker’s latest short story collection brings her irreverent point of view to a cast of characters dealing with concerns at the forefront of readers’ minds.</p><p><br></p>

A book cover featuring a painting of a pristine valley, with the book cover title and author name floating in white font over it.
The Other Valley is a book by Scott Alexander Howard. (Simon & Schuster, Veronica Bonderud)

The Other Valley follows the story of Odile Ozanne, who lives in a town with a magical valley. To the east, the town exists twenty years forward in time. To the west, it’s 20 years behind. Odile seeks to join the Conseil, who decides which of the town’s residents may cross the border into the valley to see departed loved ones. When she recognizes two mourners by accident, Odile realizes they have travelled from the future to see someone Odile knows in her present — setting off a chain of events that change the course of several lives. 

The Other Valley is Scott Alexander Howard’s first novel. He holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. He currently lives in Vancouver.

LISTEN | Becky Toyne shares a vacation reading list:

Day 612:37Day 6 books columnist Becky Toyne shares her annual list of best summer reads

Summer is here and Day 6 books columnist Becky Toyne is back with four great book recommendations for your vacation reading list. This year’s list includes This Summer Will Be Different by Carley Fortune, The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard, My Friends by Hisham Matar and The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness by Jonathan Haidt.

A yellow book cover of a woman diving into shark infested waters next to an Asian woman smiling at the camera.
Never Been Better is a novel by Leanne Toshiko Simpson. (HarperCollins, Soko Negash)

Each with their own struggles that landed them in the psych ward, Dee, Misa and Matt became inseparable friends in Never Been Better. When Misa and Matt are set to be married at a destination wedding a year after being discharged, Dee arrives with her own form of baggage. She’s in love with Matt, and unlike everyone else attending the wedding, Dee knows how Misa and Matt met. Telling him would jeopardize not only their friendships but mutual support systems — but Dee will have to decide what matters most.

Leanne Toshiko Simpson lives with bipolar disorder while teaching at the University of Toronto. Never Been Better is her first novel, and she was Scarborough’s Emerging Writer in 2016 and was nominated for the Journey Prize in 2019. 

LISTEN | Leanne Toshiko Simpson speaks with Tom Power:

Q26:08Leanne Toshiko Simpson: Why the rom-com is the perfect format to discuss mental illness

Leanne Toshiko Simpson is looking at romantic comedy through a new lens. The fourth-generation Japanese Canadian writer has just released her debut novel, “Never Been Better,” which tells a love story set at a psychiatric facility. Leanne lives with bipolar disorder and has spent time in a psych ward herself. She joins Tom to tell us why she wanted to use the rom-com format to talk about mental illness.

A Black woman with her hair pulled up smiles at the camera next to an orange book cover featuring sunflowers.
Village Weavers is a novel by Myriam J. A. Chancy. (Tin House Books, N. Affonso)

Childhood friends Gertie and Sisi are extremely close, despite the socioeconomic differences that separate their daily lives in 1940s Port-au-Prince. An end-of-life secret tears their families apart in Village Weavers, and we follow the girls across the decades as Sisi moves to Paris and Gertie marries into a rich Dominican family — eventually both landing in the United States. A sudden phone call forces their lives back together, where they might finally be able to forgive and trust again.

Myriam J. A. Chancy is the author of four novels and four books of literary criticism. Her novel The Loneliness of Angels won the Guyana Prize for Literature Caribbean Award in 2011 and was shortlisted for the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize in Caribbean Literature for fiction. Chancy was raised in Haiti and Canada and now resides in the United States. Her previous book, What Storm, What Thunder, was longlisted for the 2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize and the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.

LISTEN | Myriam J. A. Chancy on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter18:05Myriam J. A. Chancy tells the story of two friends and the divide between Haiti and the D.R.

Haitian Canadian American author Myriam J. A. Chancy was born in Port-au-Prince. During her formative years, she traveled back and forth between Haiti and Canada. Her latest novel Village Weavers dives into the politics at play between the friendship of two Haitian girls.

An illustrated cover of a couple stranded on the beach next to a woman with long brown hair wearing a green sweater and jeans smiling at the camera
Not How I Pictured It is a novel by Robin Lefler. (HarperAvenue, Alex Dekker)

Agnes “Ness” Larkin surprises herself more than anyone when she signs up for the reboot of a hit teen TV drama she starred in 20 years ago. Joining her are former best friend Libby and Hayes, the one who got away. The drama begins quickly in Not How I Pictured It when the group of seven actors and their production assistant are stranded on a remote island with only a derelict mansion and each other for survival. Can they learn from the past, and each other, and make it through the storm?

Robin Lefler lives and writes in her hometown near Toronto. Her first book is called Reasonable Adults

An Asian woman with long hair smiles at the camera next to an illustrated book cover featuring two characters and cherry pie slices.
Love, Lies and Cherry Pie is a novel by Jackie Lau. (Emily Ding, Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

Emily Hung’s mother will not stop talking to her about Mark Chan, single man extraordinaire for her last unwed daughter. When they’re forced together at a family wedding in Love, Lies, and Cherry Pie, Emily isn’t exactly enthused since Mark clearly thinks he’s too good for her. But he reluctantly agrees to a fake dating scheme so that Emily’s mother — along with family friends that keep popping up on their dates — will leave them alone. But as the ruse continues, Emily is forced to wonder: is Mark really as bad as she originally thought?

Jackie Lau is a Toronto-based author of over a dozen romantic comedies, including The Stand-Up Groomsman, Donut Fall in Love and the Holidays with the Wongs series. She went to school for engineering and worked as a geophysicist before writing romance novels. 

A book cover of two shirtless figures with their arms intertwined next to an Indigenous man with short hair in a jean jacket and orange shirt.
Coexistence is a short story collection by Billy-Ray Belcourt. (Hamish Hamilton, Jaye Simpson)

Complex Indigenous lives intersect in the stories that make up Coexistence. Stretching across Canadian prairies and the west coast, we travel to reserves, university campuses and lodgings of old residential schools to meet characters learning to live with and love one another and accept the realities of the past, present and future happening together all at once. 

Billy-Ray Belcourt is a writer from Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta. His first novel is A Minor Chorus. His debut collection of poetry, This Wound is a World, is unapologetically Indigenous and queer at the same time. Belcourt won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for This Wound is a World. The collection also won the 2018 Indigenous Voices Award for most significant work of poetry in English and was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry.

LISTEN | Billy-Ray Belcourt on Q with Tom Power:

23:50Billy-Ray Belcourt: His debut short story collection and writing about queer, Indigenous love

The award-winning Canadian writer Billy-Ray Belcourt is back with his fifth book and first collection of short stories, “Coexistence.” Following characters with gently intersecting lives, the stories deal with themes of love, loneliness and belonging. Billy-Ray sits down with Tom to talk about putting Indigenous, queer love at the centre of this book, and the freedom that comes when you don’t have to explain everything to a non-Indigenous audience.

A Brown woman with short dark hair and tattoos looks at the camera next to a yellow book cover.
Behind You is a novel by Catherine Hernandez. (Noor Khan, HarperAvenue)

Alma’s life as a film editor for a corny true crime series with her wife and teenage son seems comfortable and safe. But when Infamous’ latest episode features the Scarborough Stalker — who terrorized Alma’s own neighborhood when she was a girl — Alma realizes what she’s long held in around consent to stop her young son from making terrible choices toward his own girlfriend. Unfolding in two timelines, Behind You challenges and dissects rape culture and champions one girl’s resilience into adulthood. 

Catherine Hernandez is a Canadian writer, author and playwright. She is the author of several books, including the novels Scarborough and Crosshairs and the children’s books I Promise, M is for Mustache and Where Do Your Feelings Live?. She is also the creator and star of the Audible Original sketch comedy podcast Imminent Disaster. Scarborough was championed by actor Malia Baker on Canada Reads 2022. It was also adapted into a feature film that premiered at TIFF in 2021. CBC Books named her a writer to watch in 2017.

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together by Maurice Vellekoop. Illustrated book cover shows a young white boy and his white mom in bathing suits in front of some trees and a blue sky. Headshot of the author illustror.
I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together is a graphic memoir by Maurice Vellekoop. (Random House Canada)

I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together depicts author Maurice Vellekoop’s intense childhood and difficult young adulthood as a young gay person in a strict Christian household. Set in Toronto from the 1970s, Vellekoop begins to see his relationships with his mother and father fracture. As he ventures out on his own, he explores his passion for art and is set on finding romance, but is met with violent attacks and the anxiety surrounding the AIDS era. I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together shows an artist’s personal journey to self-love and acceptance.

Vellekoop is a Toronto-born writer and artist. He has been an illustrator for the past three decades, including for companies like Air Canada and Bush Irish Whiskey. He is also the author of A Nut at the Opera.

LISTEN | Maurice Vellekoop on The Next Chapter with Ali Hassan:

The Next Chapter18:56Maurice Vellekoop reflects on family, art, and growing up gay in a religious household

In Maurice Vellekoop’s vividly drawn graphic memoir I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together, we see how faith, family, fraught sexuality and a deep love of art shaped the course of his life.

Beautiful Beautiful by Brandon Reid. Illustrated book cover shows an eagle with its wings open. Composite with a portrait of the the author.
Beautiful Beautiful is a novel by Brandon Reid. (Nightwood Editions)

Beautiful Beautiful is a debut coming-of-age novel that tells the story of 12-year-old Derik Mormin who’s travelling with his father to Bella Bella, B.C., for his grandfather’s funeral. The book explores the beauty of rural and urban landscapes, his relationship with masculinity and the task of reconciling an Indigenous and Western way of life. 

Brandon Reid is a writer whose work has been published in the Barely South Review, the Richmond Review and The Province. He is a member of Heiltsuk First Nation, with a mix of Indigenous and English ancestry. He lives in Richmond, B.C. Beautiful Beautiful is his first book and is also a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

LISTEN | Brandon Reid on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter4:40Brandon Reid combines two worlds in Beautiful Beautiful

In his debut novel, the B.C.-based author tells a traditional story of a voyage taken by a father and son, accompanied by a mysterious figure called Raven.

A black book cover featuring a Black man wearing wired headphones with his eyes closed, next to a Black man with his hair closely shaven wearing a blue collared shirt and glasses looking at the camera.
Perfect Little Angels is a collection of stories by Vincent Anioke. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Samuel Nwaokpani)

Perfect Little Angels is a short story collection set mostly in Nigeria, pondering questions of expectation, desire and duty among its various characters. From boarding school tensions to secret rendezvous between lovers in a hill, the stories explore masculinity, religion, othering, queerness, love and self-expression.

Vincent Anioke was born and raised in Nigeria and now lives in Waterloo. Ont. He has been a finalist for the 2023 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and won the Austin Clarke Fiction Prize in 2021. His short story Leave A Funny Message At The Beep was longlisted for the 2024 CBC Short Story Prize. His story Utopia was longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize twice, in 2021 and 2023. His work has been featured in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Rumpus, The Masters Review and Passages North.

Broughtupsy is a novel by Christina Cooke
Broughtupsy is a novel by Christina Cooke. (House of Anansi Press, Eli Jules)

In the novel Broughtupsy, the death of her brother brings Akúa home to Jamaica after a decade. There, she struggles to reconnect with her estranged sister while they spread his ashes and revisit landmarks of their shared childhood. A chance meeting with a stripper named Jayda forces Akúa to reckon with her queerness, her homeland, her family and herself over two life-changing weeks.

Christina Cooke is a Jamaican Canadian writer based in New York City. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Caribbean Writer, Prairie Schooner and Epiphany: A Literary Journal. She has won the Writers’ Trust M&S Journey Prize and Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award. Broughtupsy is her debut novel.

LISTEN | Christina Cooke on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter13:09Broughtupsy and queerness in Jamaica

Jamaican-born Vancouver writer Christina Cooke’s debut novel reflects on reconnecting with your roots and searching for a sense of belonging.

A Syrian man wearing a purple shirt crosses his arms and smiles at the camera. A red book cover with an abstract white pointed tooth.
Crooked Teeth is a memoir by Danny Ramadan. (Amanda Palmer, Penguin Canada)

Crooked Teeth is Danny Ramadan’s memoir that refutes the oversimplified refugee narrative and transports readers on an epic and often fraught journey from Damascus to Cairo, Beirut and Vancouver. Told with nuance and fearless intimacy about being a queer Syrian-Canadian, Crooked Teeth revisits parts of Ramadan’s past he’d rather forget. 

Ramadan is a Vancouver-based Syrian-Canadian author and advocate. His debut novel The Clothesline Swing was longlisted for Canada Reads in 2018 and his second novel The Foghorn Echoes won a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction.

LISTEN | Danny Ramadan on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter19:32Danny Ramadan on seeking refuge and acceptance

Vancouver-based author Danny Ramadan tells his story in Crooked Teeth: A Queer Syrian Refugee Memoir. He discusses facing persecution in his home country, and seeking refuge in Canada in hopes of succeeding as a free and fulfilled young queer man.

Black Boys Like Me by Matthew R. Morris. Illustrated book cover of a vinyl record. A man with a black t-shit looks into the camera.
Black Boys Like Me is a book by Matthew R. Morris. (Viking, Anthony Gebrehiwot)

Black Boys Like Me is Matthew R. Morris’ debut collection of eight essays that examines his experiences with race and identity throughout his childhood into his current work as an educator.

The child of a Black immigrant father and a white mother, Morris was influenced by the prominent Black male figures he saw in sports, TV shows and music as he was growing up in Scarborough, Ont. While striving for academic success, he confronted Black stereotypes and explored hip hop culture in the 1990s.

Morris is a writer, advocate and educator based in Toronto. As a public speaker, he has travelled across North America to educate on anti-racism in the education system. Morris was recently announced as one of the readers for the 2024 CBC Nonfiction Prize.

WATCH | What Morris brings to his classroom:

Teacher pens bestseller on how schools treat Black boys like him

Matthew R. Morris turned his experiences as a Black student and a teacher into a bestselling memoir called Black Boys Like Me. He talks to CBC’s Deana Sumanac-Johnson about navigating the education system from both sides of the classroom.

A composite image of an illustrated book cover beside a black and white portrait of a white woman with brown hair looking into the camera.
Portrait of a Body is a graphic novel by Julie Delporte, pictured, and translated by Helge Dascher and Karen Houle. (Drawn & Quarterly, Plum Paycha)

In Portrait of a Body, Julie Delporte examines her life experiences and trauma in an attempt to answer the haunting questions she has about her gender and sexuality. The book focuses on the journey inward to heal oneself and live more authentically.

Julie Delporte is a comic creator and poet based in Montreal. Her other books include This Woman’s Work, Everywhere Antennas and Journal.

Helge Dascher is a frequent translator of comic books. She’s also translated many of Guy Delisle’s titles, Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, White Rapids by Pascal Blanchet and Paul Goes Fishing by Michel Rabagliati.

Karen Houle used to be a Professor of Philosophy but now she is a full-time Earth worker-activist and a sometimes translator.

A black book cover with an image of teeth made out of beads. A man wearing a black t-shirt and glasses crosses his tattooed arms.
Teeth is a poetry collcetion by Dallas Hunt. (Nightwood Editions, Conor McNally)

Teeth is a poetry collection that explores the consequences of colonization and why it continues to repeat itself in today’s society. The book also celebrates the successes of Indigenous peoples and looks into the realities they face.

Dallas Hunt is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty Eight territory in northern Alberta. His children’s book, Awâsis and the World-Famous Bannock, illustrated by Amanda Strong, was nominated for several awards and was one of the 2024 CBC Kids Reads contenders. Hunt lives in Vancouver.

An Indian woman wearing a red top with long dark hair smiles at the camera next to a colourful book cover featuring a hand holding up a mirror with several eyes in the reflection.
Peacocks of Instagram is a short story collection by Deepa Rajagopalan. (House of Anansi Press, Ema Suvajac)

The collection of stories in Peacocks of Instagram paint a tapestry of the Indian diaspora. Tales of revenge, love, desire and family explore the intense ramifications of privilege, or lack thereof. Coffee shop and hotel housekeeping employees, engineers and children show us all of themselves, flaws and all.

Deepa Rajagopalan was the 2021 RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award winner. Born to Indian parents in Saudi Arabia, she has lived across India, the United States and Canada. Her previous writing has appeared in publications such as the Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology, the New Quarterly, Room and Arc. Rajagopalan now lives and works in Toronto.

LISTEN | Deepa Rajagopalan on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter0:00Truth telling and power dynamics in Peacocks of Instagram

Ontario-based author Deepa Rajagopalan’s debut short story collection features rule-breaking characters, savvy social media sellers — and peafowl.

A book cover of the tips of two pairs of shoes -- converse and brown boots. A woamn with short grey hair wearing blue.
Talking to Strangers is a poetry book by Rhea Tregebov. (From Véhicule Press, Sam Znaimer)


Talking to Strangers is a poetry collection that explores new encounters with people and objects. As is characteristic of celebrated poet Rhea Tregebov, the book dabbles in the art of recollection and elegy with skill and tenderness. 

Tregebov is a Vancouver-based poet, novelist and children’s writer. She’s written seven books of poetry and two novels, including Rue des Rosiers, and has won the J. I. Segal Award, the Nancy Richler Memorial Prize for Fiction, the Malahat Review Long Poem Prize, the Pat Lowther Award and the Prairie Schooner Readers’ Choice Award.

A book cover of a little shack and a shining moon. A woman with grey curly hair peeks out of a wooden cabin window.
Northerny is a poetry collection by Dawn Macdonald. (University of Alberta Press, Sean Pond)

Northerny tells of what it’s like to grow up in the North — and the many ways in which the North can be messy, beautiful and painful. This poetry collection breaks free of the perception of the North as a way to enlightenment or escape and gives a Northerner’s perspective of growing up and making a living in the region.

Dawn Macdonald lives in Whitehorse and studied mathematics and physics at university. Her poetry has been published in The Antigonish Review, Canadian Literature, The Fiddlehead, FOLIO, Grain, Literary Review of Canada and The Malahat Review, among others. Northerny is her first book. 

LISTEN | Dawn Macdonald on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter15:00Life in the north according to Dawn MacDonald

Dawn MacDonald grew up in a cabin in Whitehorse with no electricity. Her childhood living in the North and “off the grid” takes centre stage in her latest poetry collection Northerny.

Two men with short grey hair and glasses, one in a grey suit and the other in a blue collared shirt, smile with their arms around each other next to a blue and black book cover.
Mystery in the Title by is a novel Ian Ferguson, left, and Will Ferguson. (David Kotsibie/Wordfest, HarperCollins)

Miranda Abott returns in the sequel to I Only Read Muder, where the actress is finally able to break a dry spell with the lead role in a movie of the week. But this all sounds too good to be true according to Miranda’s trusted assistant Andrew, who turns out to be right when her co-star crashes through the hotel window, dead. From Police Chief Ned Buckley and a grumpy bookstore owner to soon-to-be-ex Edgar Abott and Bea of Bea’s B&B, the citizens of Happy Rock are enlisted to help solve the case in Mystery in the Title.

Will Ferguson has written humour, travel books and fiction. The Calgary-based writer won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his thriller 419. He has won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times: for his novel Generica (now titled Happiness), his Canadian travel book Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw and his travel memoir Beyond Belfast

Ian Ferguson won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for Village of the Small Houses and is the co-author, with his brother, Will, of How to Be a Canadian, which was shortlisted for the Leacock Medal and won the CBA Libris Award for nonfiction. A writer and creative director in the film and television industry, Ian Ferguson lives in Victoria.

A beige book cover. A man wearing a black shirt with white hair.
A Year of Last Things is a poetry collection by Michael Ondaatje. (Knopf)

A Year of Last Things is Michael Ondaatje’s long-awaited return to poetry. Drawing on his personal experiences, this collection goes back in time to all the borders that he’s crossed with imagery at once witty, moving and wise. 

Ondaatje is a Canadian literary icon. His novels and poetry have earned international acclaim, and he was the first Canadian ever to win the Man Booker Prize — in 1992, for the wartime story The English Patient. Born in Sri Lanka and educated in England, Ondaatje moved to Canada when he was 18 to attend university.

Ondaatje began his writing career in 1967 as a poet, winning two Governor General’s Literary Awards for poetry before turning to fiction. Over his career, he’s won the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award and France’s prestigious Prix Medicis.

In 1982, Ondaatje won the CBC Short Story Prize.

An abstract orange book cover with an eye. A black and white photo of a woman with glasses and short hair wearing a button-up.
Oh Witness Dey! is a poetry book by Shani Mootoo. (Book*hug Press, Darren Rampersad)

With no record of how they got there and where they’re originally from, Shani Mootoo’s great-great-grandparents were brought to Trinidad by the British. Oh Witness Dey! discusses the concept of “origin” through an exploration of history, displacements and legacy, starting with her own. 

Mootoo is a writer and visual artist who currently lives in Ontario. Her debut novel was 1997’s Cereus Blooms at Night. Her novel Polar Vortex was shortlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her other books include the novels Cane | Fire, Moving Forward Sideways like a Crab and Valmiki’s Daughter. In 2022, she won the Writers’ Trust Engel Findley Award for fiction writers in the middle of their career

A book cover of two eggs balancing on top of one another at the edge of a table. A Black woman leans on her hand resting on a wooden table.
Scientific Marvel is a poetry book by Chimwemwe Undi. (House of Anansi Press, Imalka Nilmalgoda)

Scientific Marvel is a poetry collection that looks into the history of and current life in Winnipeg. With humour and surprise, it delves into deeper themes of racism, queerness and colonialism while keeping personal lived experiences close to the page. 

Chimwemwe Undi is a Winnipeg-based poet, editor and lawyer. She was the Winnipeg poet laureate for 2023 and 2024. She won the 2022 John Hirsch Emerging Writer Award from the Manitoba Book Awards and her work can be found in Brick, Border Crossings, Canadian Literature and BBC World.

Undi was longlisted for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize.

A Black woman with curly hair smiles at the camera. A yellow book cover with pink and orange-toned writing.
We Rip the World Apart is a book by Charlene Carr. (HarperCollins)

We Rip the World Apart tells the layered story of Kareela, a 24-year-old, biracial woman, who finds out she’s pregnant and is struggling to find herself; her mother, Evelyn, who fled to Canada from Jamaica in the 1980s; and her paternal grandmother, Violet, who moved into their house after Kareela’s brother was killed by the police. 

Charlene Carr is a Toronto-raised writer and author based in Nova Scotia. She is the author of several independently published novels and a novella. Her first novel with a major publisher is Hold My Girl. She was named a writer to watch in 2023 by CBC Books.

LISTEN | Charlene Carr on The Next Chapter with Ryan B. Patrick:

The Next Chapter12:55The cost of keeping silent in We Rip the World Apart

Moving from the diverse streets of Toronto to rural Atlantic Canada at a young age is something both Charlene Carr and the protagonist of her latest novel share in common. The Nova Scotia writer discusses race, politics and grief in her latest book We Rip the World Apart.

A yellow book cover featuring 3 figures on a Penrose triangle next to a sepia toned photo of a man with close shaven hair and glasses smiling at the camera.
The Bezzle is a novel by Cory Doctorow. (Tor Books, Jonathan Worth)

The sequel to Red Team Blues continues the adventures of forensic accountant Martin Hench in The Bezzle as he navigates the long guerilla war between those who want to hide and find money. During a vacation on Catalina Island, Martin accidentally disrupts an on-going scheme and finds himself caught between the ultra-wealthy and California’s Department of Corrections, with hundreds of thousands of prisoners caught in the middle. 

Cory Doctorow is a Toronto-born author, activist and journalist living in Los Angeles. His work, spanning nonfiction and fiction, adult, YA and childhood audiences, has seen him inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and earned him the Sir Arthur Clarke Imagination in Service to Society Award for lifetime achievement. His book Radicalized was a Canada Reads 2020 contender, when it was defended by Akil Augustine.

LISTEN | Cory Doctorow takes the Proust Questionnaire:

The Next Chapter111:23:20Writer Cory Doctorow shares his lost utopia in the Proust Questionnaire

nToronto-born author and journalist Cory Doctorow has written over 30 books. He talks about why he values geeky friends and celebrating publishing a book with a new pair of shoes.

I Hope This Finds You Well by Natalie Sue. Illustrated book cover of an office cubicle and a water cooler station. Portrait of an Iranian woman with wavy blonde hair.
I Hope This Finds You Well is a novel by Natalie Sue. (HarperCollins Publishers, Svetlana Yanova)

I Hope This Finds You Well follows an anxious admin for Supershops, Inc., as she navigates a workplace of unsatisfactory colleagues. Jolene copes with the frustrations of her office job through passive aggressive messages in emails that are never meant to be seen. When she is caught and reprimanded, an IT mishap results in her having access to the confidential messages of her superiors. Can Jolene use this to the advantage of her career? 

Natalie Sue is a Calgary-based writer of Iranian and British descent. I Hope This Finds You Well is her debut novel.  

LISTEN | Natalie Sue discusses office comedy in new book, I Hope This Finds You Well

The Next Chapter13:18Office fighting words in I Hope This Finds You Well

In Natalie Sue’s debut novel, the protagonist Jolene is sick of her corporate life. She’s been sending angry messages to colleagues hidden in emails. But when her secret is revealed, she’s forced to deal with the consequences. 

A book cover featuring an illustrated couple under an umbrella next to a Pakistani woman in an orange dress smiling at the camera.
Maya’s Laws of Love is a novel by Alina Khawaja. (HarperCollins, Sabrina Khawaja)

Maya’s life has always been guided by a series of rules, always rooted in misfortune: Maya’s Laws of Love. Chiefly, that anything that can, will in fact go wrong. Things seem to be looking up when Maya sets off for Pakistan for an arranged marriage to a handsome doctor, a match she’s all too happy to accept. But when disaster strikes at every turn, Maya finds herself stuck in Switzerland with a cynical lawyer, Sarfaraz, wondering if this detour is exactly what she needs after all.

Alina Khawaja is a Canadian Pakistani writer who lives in Ontario. She holds degrees in English, history, creative writing and literatures of modernity. Maya’s Laws of Love is her first novel.

A book cover featuring an abandoned waterpark next to a woman with light brown hair in a bob looking at the camera.
What’s Not Mine is a novel by Nora Decter. (ECW Press, Nora Decter)

In What’s Not Mine, Bria Powers’ 16th summer is full of strange and dark occurrences. From plagues of insects, wandering bears and forest fires to the tightening grip of fentanyl throughout her hometown, Bria’s life is divided in two. She lives and works with her cousin, babysitting and slinging burgers by day, and hangs out with an older guy, Somebody, by night. All the while, the creeping shadow of dependence hangs over Bria — until we wonder if she’ll ever beat the odds stacked against her.

Nora Decter is a writer from Winnipeg. Her previous work includes How Far We Go and How Fast, which won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in 2019.

LISTEN | Nora Decter on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter220:00:00Metal bands, microwave meals and misogyny in What’s Not Mine

nAuthor Nora Decter tells the story of a family plagued by addiction in her latest novel, and discusses how growing up in Winnipeg has shaped her writing.

A book cover featuring a woman in a yellow top, next to a woman with short grey hair in a blue sweater looking at the camera.
The Secret Keeper is a novel by Genevieve Graham. (Simon & Schuster, Snickerdoodle Photography, Nicola Davison)

Once inseparable, twin sisters Dot and Dash Wilson’s lives are fractured by the Second World War in The Secret Keeper. Dot’s skill with puzzles and Morse code lands her in a top-secret spy school, while Dash escapes their family’s personal tragedy by training as a pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary. Secrecy oaths threaten to tear the sisters apart, but Dot’s loyalties are tested when a close contact goes missing in a Nazi-occupied territory. With all eyes on her operation, Dot uses all her skills to save lives. 

Genevieve Graham has written many novels, including The Forgotten Home Child, Letters Across the Sea and Bluebird. She lives and writes in Alberta.

On the left, a Black bald man wearing a black turtle neck sitting in front of a mantle looking at the camera. In the centre, a multi-colour book cover. On the right, a Lebanese man with short dark hair and facial hair looking at the camera.
The War You Don’t Hate is a novel by Blaise Ndala, left, and translated by Dimitri Nasrallah. (Vehicule Press, Pascale Castonguay, Bruno Destombes)

As Montreal documentary filmmaker Véronique Quesnel accepts awards and praise for her telling of Sona’s story, a young woman who escaped sex slavery, danger emerges. Across the ocean, on the other side of The War You Don’t Hate, Master Corporal Red Ant and his cousin Baby Che are on a mission for truth and vengeance after the Second Congo War and they’ve set their sights on Véronique. 

Blaise Ndala is the Ottawa-based Congolese Canadian author of the novels J’irai danser sur la tombe de Senghor, which won the Ottawa Book Prize in the French Fiction category and Sans capote ni kalachnikov, winner of the 2019 edition of the Combat national des livres.

Dimitri Nasrallah is the author of four novels. His most recent book Hotline, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and championed by bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher on Canada Reads 2023. Nasrallah was born in Lebanon in 1977 and moved to Canada in 1988. His previous books include The Bleeds, Niko and Blackbodying.

A book cover of a half-eaten beach with a bee near the juice. A woman with long Black hair smiles.
Death By A Thousand Cuts is a short story collection by Shashi Bhat. (McClelland & Stewart, Olivia Li)

Death by a Thousand Cuts traces the funny, honest and difficult parts of womanhood. From a writer whose ex published a book about their breakup to the confession wrought by a Reddit post, these stories probe rage, loneliness, bodily autonomy and these women’s relationships with themselves just as much as those around them. 

Shashi Bhat’s previous novels include The Family Took Shape, a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and The Most Precious Substance on Earth, which was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 2022. Her short stories won the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize and have been shortlisted for a National Magazine Award and the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Bhat lives in New Westminster, B.C. 

A man with short brown hair wearing a blue collared shirt smiles at the camera next to a  book cover featuring a woman in bright lipstick looking at her reflection in broken glass.
High Society is a novel by Daniel Kalla. (Simon & Schuster, Michael Bednar)

Psychiatrist Holly Danvers wants to use psychedelics to treat her patients suffering from addiction in High Society. While psychedelics helped her emotionally recover from surviving the car crash that killed her father as a teenager, she ignores the risks and tries an unproven protocol that yields promising results… until it doesn’t. This turns her life upside-down and sends her on a solo mission to find out why her clients are relapsing and dying — one that’ll put her life at risk and force her to revisit her trauma. 

Daniel Kalla is an emergency room doctor and the author of more than 10 books, including Fit to Die, The Darkness in the Light, Lost Immunity, The Last High and We All Fall Down.

LISTEN | Daniel Kalla on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter5:00Daniel Kalla takes The Next Chapter Proust questionnaire

Daniel Kalla, author of The Darkness in the Light, takes The Next Chapter’s Proust questionnaire.

A book cover of grey black and blue shapes framed in white next to a brunette woman with bangs sitting in a car looking at the camera.
Parade is a novel by Rachel Cusk. (HarperCollins, Siemon Scamell-Katz)

Parade is a novel that tells the story of the artist G which ignores the limits of identity, character and plot. G is both a 22-year-old painter who explores a different country and a middle-aged man who starts to paint upside down in this mind- bending novel. 

Rachel Cusk is a Canadian-born novelist who lives in the U.K. She is best known for her Outline trilogy, which includes the novels Outline, Transit and Kudos. Both Outline and Transit were shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, in 2015 and 2017, respectively.

The Downloaded is a novel by Robert J. Sawyer.
The Downloaded is a novel by Robert J. Sawyer. (Shadowpaw Press, Bernard Clark)

The Downloaded follows two vastly different groups of people in the year 2059: a group of astronauts planning to embark on an “interstellar voyage” and a group of convicts stuck in a virtual reality prison. Suddenly, both virtual realities converge as space adventurers and criminals alike must return to the real world and save the planet from annihilation. 

Robert J. Sawyer is a Canadian American writer of science fiction. He is the recipient of the Nebula Award in 1995 and the Hugo Award in 2003. He has written 25 books including Quantum NightThe Oppenheimer Alternative and Flashforward.

LISTEN | Robert J. Sawyer on writing his 25th novel: 

The Next Chapter17:35The mind, body and cryogenics in The Downloaded

Robert J. Sawyer is a prolific science fiction writer. In his 25th novel, a group of astronauts and a group of prisoners find themselves cryogenically frozen — and wake up 500 years in the future.

A composite image of an Indigenous woman with dark brown hair, red lipstick and trees behind her looking at the camera beside an illustrated book cover with a girl's face obstructed by tree branches and leaves and the words And Then She Fell by Alicia Elliott written on it.
Alicia Elliott is the author of the novel And Then She Fell. (Submitted by Alicia Elliott, Doubleday Canada)

And Then She Fell is a horror novel which follows a young woman named Alice struggling to navigate the early days of motherhood and live up to the unrealistic expectations of those around her. And Then She Fell was the winner of the 2024 Amazon First Novel Award.

Alicia Elliott is a Mohawk writer currently based in Brantford, Ont. Her writing has been published most recently in Room, Grain and The New Quarterly. She is also the author of the essay collection A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

LISTEN | Alicia Elliott talks about her debut novel on The Sunday Magazine:

The Sunday Magazine22:11Alicia Elliott on fiction, motherhood and mental illness

Following her acclaimed essay collection A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, Mohawk writer Alicia Elliott is back with a new novel that draws on her own deeply personal experiences to tell a story of motherhood, mental illness and intergenerational trauma. And Then She Fell follows Alice, a young Haudenosaunee mother who goes through a kind of looking glass, as she deals with postpartum depression and married life away from her family and traditions. It’s a story of difficult truths, told with humour, horror and a bit of surrealism. Elliott joins Rebecca Zandbergen to talk about the novel, the personal experiences that inspired it, and best practices for sharing difficult stories – both in fiction and beyond.

A composite of an author and his book.
Kilworthy Tanner is a book by Jean Marc Ah-Sen. (Nightwood Editions)

In Jean Marc Ah-Sen’s novel Kilworthy Tanner, Jonno is a young writer looking to make waves in the literary world. 

When he meets legendary author Kilworthy Tanner at a party, he’s shocked when she takes an interest in him — and the two fall into a complicated relationship that blurs the lines between mentorship and an affair. 

Ah-Sen is a Toronto-based writer of Mauritian descent. His books include Grand Menteur and In the Beggarly Style of Imitation and his writing has appeared in Literary Hub, Catapult, The Comics Journal, Maclean’s, Hazlitt, the Globe & Mail, The Walrus and The Toronto Star.

A book cover featuring an overhead shot of a road map of Winnipeg.
Wînipêk is a book by Niigaan Sinclair. (McClelland & Stewart, University of Manitoba)

Wînipêk: Visions of Canada from an Indigenous Centre is the story of Winnipeg, told in a series of essays through the lens of Indigenous resilience and reconciliation.

From the Indian Act and atrocities of colonialism to the creativity and ferocity of the Indigenous peoples preserving their heritage, Sinclair illustrates the way a place — how we love, lose, and fight for it — can help pave the way for the future of an entire country.

Niigaan Sinclair is an Anishinaabe (St. Peter’s/Little Peguis) thinker and assistant professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba. He has written for The Exile Edition of Native Canadian Fiction and Drama, The Guardian and CBC Books and is a regular contributor on APTN, CTV and CBC News. Sinclair is also the editor of The Debwe Series and the author and co-editor of award-winning Manitowapow and Centering Anishinaabeg Studies

LISTEN | Niigaan Sinclair on The Sunday Magazine:

The Sunday Magazine29:33How Winnipeg helps tell the story of Canada

It’s been dubbed Canada’s coldest city, poorest city and even most racist city. But also: chill, artsy and the best city in our country to raise a family. Most importantly to Niigaan Sinclair, though… Winnipeg is home. The columnist and Indigenous studies professor joins Piya Chattopadhyay to talk about his new essay collection Wînipêk, which marries his personal stories of Winnipeg with reflections on how the city helps tell the story of Canada.

A white woman with brown hair and side bands smiles at the camera. A book cover of a white woman in a burgundy dress.
The Secret History of Audrey James is a novel by Heather Marshall. (Simon & Schuster)

The Secret History of Audrey James tells the story of Audrey James, a pianist who is about to graduate from music school. Living with her best friend Ilse Kaplan, she dreads returning home to England and leaving Ilse behind. But as the Nazi party’s power increases, Ilse’s family is targeted. Her parents and brother disappear and her house is confiscated by Nazi officials. Little do they know, Ilse is hiding in the attic and Audrey becomes their housekeeper in the hopes of saving her friend. 

Heather Marshall is a writer from Toronto. She holds two master’s degrees in Canadian history and political science and pivoted to writing fiction after working for many years in politics and communications. Her debut novel, Looking for Jane, was named one of Indigo’s Top 10 Books of 2022 and Globe & Mail’s Top 100 Books of 2022.

The book cover with a pitchfork pointed towards the title and the black and white author photo of a woman with shoulder length hair with bangs and glasses looking straight at the camera
Casey Plett’s On Community explores how we form bonds with one another. (Biblioasis, Hobbes Ginsberg)

Casey Plett writes about the implications of community as a word, an idea and a symbol in the book-length essay On Community. Plett uses her firsthand experiences to eventually reach a cumulative definition of community and explore how we form bonds with one another.

Plett is the author of A Dream of a Woman, Little Fish and A Safe Girl to Love. She is a winner of the Amazon First Novel Award, the Firecracker Award for Fiction and a two-time winner of the Lambda Literary Award. Her work has also been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Plett splits her time between New York City and Windsor, Ont.

LISTEN | Casey Plett explores the meaning of community on The Next Chapter:

The Next Chapter11:29Casey Plett talks about her book On Community

Author Casey Plett talks with Ryan B. Patrick about growing up in a small town in Manitoba before moving to the Pacific Northwest. In her latest book, Casey draws on a range of firsthand experiences as a trans woman to spark a conversation on the larger implications of community as a word, idea and symbol.

A composite of an author and his graphic novel.
The Field is a graphic memoir by Dave Lapp. (Conundrum Press)

Dave Lapp’s graphic memoir The Field is set during a long, hazy 1970s summer from his childhood. When developers dig up a field on the edges of a small town, the adults in the community are too busy with marriage woes and interpersonal issues. But Dave and the other children begin to explore the field and engage with the local flora and fauna. When a rebellious new kid enters the friend circle, Dave realizes that this summer might just change his life and the town forever.

David Lapp is a cartoonist, author and educator who has been teaching cartooning at the Art Gallery of Ontario for over twenty years. Dave has created three graphic novels, including Drop In, Children of the Atom and People Around Here. Lapp’s work has been nominated for an Ignatz and a Doug Wright award.

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