Aside from Kai Cheng Thom’s poetry collection, which I FUCKING LOVED, I haven’t read any of the upcoming and new queer Canadian books on this list yet. But I am looking forward to reading all of them. Check out these rad sounding books, from poetry to urban fantasy to contemporary YA to science fiction and if you read them before me, let me know how they are!
Huntsmen by Michelle Osgood
Huntsmen is technically Vancouver author Michelle Osgood’s sequel to The Better to Kiss You with, but it’s definitely readable without having read the first one, since it focuses on different characters. Get excited about this urban fantasy series featuring queer girl werewolves. Here’s the blurb:
Months after saving Jamie and Deanna from crywolf, Kiara and her brother Cole have moved into the city. While clubbing one night, Kiara is stunned to see her ex, Taryn, on stage. But before she can react, Jamie notices a distinctive tattoo in the crowd: an axe rumored to be the mark of the Huntsmen, a group of werewolf-tracking humans. The girls need to leave immediately—and since Taryn is also a werewolf, they need to take her with them.
The Huntsmen are more than a myth, and they’re scouring the city for lone wolves just like Taryn. Until the General North American Assembly of Werewolves lends a plan of action, Kiara’s small pack is on lockdown in Nathan’s apartment building, where she and Taryn must face the differences that drove them apart. Furthermore, the longer the group waits, the more it seems the Huntsmen haven’t been acting entirely on their own.
Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez
This debut novel published by Arsenal Pulp Press is by queer theatre practitioner and writer Catherine Hernandez, who’s lived in Scarborough on and off for most of her life. In 2015 the novel, then still a manuscript, was co-winner of the Asian-Canadian Writers’ Workshop for Emerging Writers Award for Fiction. Check out the description:
Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighborhood east of Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America; like many inner city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighborhood under fire: among them, Victor, a black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education.
And then there are the three kids who work to rise above a system that consistently fails them: Bing, a gay Filipino boy who lives under the shadow of his father’s mental illness; Sylvie, Bing’s best friend, a Native girl whose family struggles to find a permanent home to live in; and Laura, whose history of neglect by her mother is destined to repeat itself with her father.
Scarborough offers a raw yet empathetic glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighborhood that refuses to be undone.
10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac
The latest offering from veteran Canadian YA author Carrie Mac, 10 Things I Can See From Here is about a teen girl dealing with anxiety and falling in love with a girl who isn’t afraid of anything. Here’s what the publisher has to say:
Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.
Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?
Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Trans Writers edited by Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett
Edited by talented trans writers Cat Fitzpatrick and Casey Plett and published by Topside Press, this anthology set to come out in September is very exciting! In total 25 trans writers’ science fiction and fantasy work will be included. You probably have read other amazing, groundbreaking books by Topside Press, including the short fiction anthology The Collection, Casey Plett’s short story collection A Safe Girl to Love, Sybil Lamb’s mind-bending novel I’ve Got a Time Bomb, and more! In addition to being edited by a Canadian (Casey Plett), it’s also going to feature a diverse group of Canadian trans writers / trans writers living in Canada including Morgan M Page, Sybil Lamb, Bridget Liang, Trish Salah, RJ Edwards, Sadie Avery, and Paige Bryony. (Possibly even more that I don’t know about at this point!)
A Place Called No HOMELAND by Kai Cheng Thom
In case you missed my glowing review, I thought this debut collection of poetry was phenomenal. Kai Cheng Thom is a writer, performer, spoken word artist and “drag-dance sensation.” Her first novel, Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir came out late last year and is published by Metonymy Press. Here’s the official blurb on A Place Called No HOMELAND from Arsenal Pulp Press:
This extraordinary poetry collection is a vivid, beautifully wrought journey to the place where forgotten ancestors live and monstrous women roam―and where the distinctions between body, land, and language are lost. In these fierce yet tender narrative poems, Kai Cheng Thom draws equally from memory and mythology to create new maps of gender, race, sexuality, and violence. In the world of a place called No Homeland, the bodies of the marginalized―queer and transgender communities, survivors of abuse and assault, and children of diaspora―are celebrated, survival songs are sung, and the ancestors offer you forgiveness for not remembering their names.
Descended from the traditions of oral storytelling, spoken word, and queer punk poetry, Kai Cheng Thom’s debut collection is evocative and unforgettable.
I dream warm, wet
That rise and tremble and swell with the moon
To give birth to babies connected
By blue-river veins of memory