Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2024. All information (titles, publication dates) was supplied by publishers.
Russell Smith, ed.
Rare Machines/Dundurn Press, Jan.
Does anonymity change the way authors write about sex? What would a sex scene from your favourite writer be like if they knew that their friends, fans, and critics couldn’t pin it on them? With uninhibited sexy short fiction from the likes of Lisa Moore, Zoe Whittall, Drew Hayden Taylor, and Michael Winter, Secret Sex leaves the “Who wrote what?” to your imagination. –Andrew Woodrow-Butcher
Knopf Canada/Penguin Random House Canada, Feb.
Using as its basis the 59 articles set out in the 17th-century “Code Noir,” which defined the conditions of slavery in the French empire, Griffin Poetry Prize–winning writer Canisia Lubrin’s debut fiction is composed of 59 linked stories – written in varying styles – about characters determined to move free from the past. –Attila Berki
McClelland & Stewart/PRHC, March
Through her misguided characters, themselves a product of our misguided world, award-winning author Carleigh Baker both skewers the world and helps reframe it. Baker’s empathy for her complex characters and irreverence about the world they – and we – live in helps us to examine it anew. –Cassandra Drudi
Perfect Little Angels
Arsenal Pulp Press, April
The characters in Vincent Anioke’s debut collection all seek love from different places in stories that explore masculinity, religion, suppressed queerness, and marginality. Anioke was a finalist for the 2023 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. –CD
Carol Bruneau’s carefully crafted fiction has consistently been lauded as masterful and quietly brilliant, but has never fully received the recognition it deserves. Her fourth short story collection explores the hypocrisies and contradictions of the world and the resilience of both humans and nature. –AB
Hamish Hamilton/PRHC, May
The long shadow of a residential school building, the candour of gay men discussing their sex lives, intersecting stories of Indigenous love in Western Canada – in Coexistence, Billy-Ray Belcourt deploys his celebrated and playful literary voice to explore the connections and the distances between people, places, and times. –AWB
Peacocks of Instagram
Astoria/House of Anansi Press, May
An often witty debut collection of short stories centring on ambitious, flawed, expatriate Indian women who take risks and break rules to establish their place in the world, wherever they may be – and take revenge on the slights and inequities of the world. –AB
HarperCollins Publishers, May
The characters in novelist Zoe Whittall’s first short-fiction collection deal with shame, attachment, disconnection, and desire. –CD
Buckrider Books/Wolsak & Wynn, May
This linked short-story collection is the first work for adults from award-winning children’s author Nicola Winstanley. The stories move between New Zealand and Canada as the book explores the lives of connected characters and examines intergenerational trauma from multiple perspectives. –CD
A Horse At the Window
House of Anansi Press, June
This intriguing collection of 25 dramatic monologues, written in a range of styles, reflects the issues and obsessions of lives soaked in pop culture and social media to reveal the pitfalls, anxiety, irrationality, and even beauty of our self-conscious digital age. –AB
Gay Girl Prayers
Brick Books, March
Novelist Emily Austin’s debut poetry collection rewrites biblical narratives and the stuff of prayer in a fun yet earnest series of queer-, trans- and feminist-affirming verses and zingers. Reverent in its own way, Gay Girl Prayers revels in deploying sacred words as an act of LGBTQ solidarity and poetic joy. –AWB
The Goldberg Variations
New Star Books, March
British Columbian poet and educator Clint Burnham’s newest collection draws on contemporary language – from pop culture, slang and politics, both the beautiful and profane. The overheard language we are immersed in every day is shuffled into poetry, using Bach’s famous Goldberg Variations as inspiration for a system for the recombination of language. –AWB
Brick Books, March
Writer, drummer, and therapist Jody Chan explores the history of psychiatric institutions within a settler-colonial state by using the forms of patient records, psychiatric assessments, and court documents. –CD
Oh Witness Dey!
Inspired by the obscure history of her ancestors who were brought to Trinidad as indentured labourers, Shani Mootoo continues to mine personal and colonial histories in this new collection, engaging with narratives of displacement and journey, but also with joy, solidarity, saints, and spices. –AB
A Year of Last Things
McClelland & Stewart/PRHC, March
With A Year of Last Things, celebrated CanLit elder statesman and novelist Michael Ondaatje returns to poetry, the medium where he started his career more than 50 years ago. In these poems, Ondaatje moves through time as he explores the effects of the borders he has crossed and the personal history they are part of. –CD
Book*hug Press, March
Giller winner Johanna Skibsrud returns to poetry with this collection in which she shares the lives of women who, through their roles as mediums of one kind or another, have shaped history, and presents their perspectives, which are often at odds with the historical narratives from their times. –CD
House of Anansi Press, April
Frequently strange and funny, bright and sharp, but also elegiac, Kayla Czaga’s third collection of poems range widely (including to the underworld) to explore the many manifestations of grief as she searches for meaning after the death of her parents. –AB
Reclamation and Resurgence: The Poetry of Marilyn Dumont
Wilfrid Laurier University Press, April
Marilyn Dumont’s poetry, rooted in the personal and the historical, deeply engages with Métis culture and history and the impacts of colonialism. This collection, edited and with an introduction by Armand Garnet Ruffo, draws from Dumont’s four previous collections, as well as previously uncollected poems, and includes an afterword by Dumont. –AB
Nightwood Editions, April
The second poetry collection by the author of Creeland is about the realities and “imaginaries” of Indigenous life. Dallas Hunt’s poetry examines the structures and manifestations of colonialism, grief, and death, but also love and hope. –AB
The Lantern and the Night Moths: Five Modern and Contemporary Chinese Poets in Translation
Yilin Wang, ed., trans.
Invisible Publishing, April
In this anthology of Chinese-language poems, editor and translator Yilin Wang presents five poets whose works are simultaneously in conversation both with a rich classical literature and contemporary poetics. Acknowledging the impact classical Chinese poetry has had on the English-speaking world, Wang’s accompanying essays on translation explore the divergences and confluences of Anglophone and Sinophone poetries today. –AWB
The Last to the Party
icehouse poetry/Goose Lane Editions, April
An intense debut collection by a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award, The Last to the Party tackles the difficult emergence of identity, estrangement, the gaps within and connections to family, culture, and place, and a childhood on the Prairies. –AB
The Dialogues: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow
Armand Garnet Ruffo
Wolsak & Wynn, May
In The Dialogues, Anishinaabe writer Armand Garnet Ruffo tells the story of Indigenous First World War sniper Francis Pegahmagabow in a collection that also animates the complexities of telling Indigenous stories. Ruffo captures Pegahmagabow’s life, as well as the creation of Sounding Thunder, the opera based on Pegahmagabow’s life. –CD
Update, Feb. 8: This story has been updated from the original to amend the description of Nicola Winstanley’s collection, Smoke.