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2024 Spring Preview: Short Fiction and Poetry

In this second of three spring preview instalments, Q&Q takes a look at forthcoming short fiction and poetry titles. Nonfiction will be featured in our final instalment next week. 

Q&Q’s spring preview covers books published between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2024. All information (titles, publication dates) was supplied by publishers. 


Secret Sex
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

Code Noir
Canisia Lubrin
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

Last Woman
Carleigh Baker
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
Vincent Anioke
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
Nimbus, April

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

Billy-Ray Belcourt
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
Deepa Rajagopalan
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

Wild Failure
Zoe Whittall
HarperCollins Publishers, May

The characters in novelist Zoe Whittall’s first short-fiction collection deal with shame, attachment, disconnection, and desire. –CD

Nicola Winstanley
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
Spencer Gordon
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
Emily Austin
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
Clint Burnham
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

impact statement
Jody Chan
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!
Shani Mootoo
Book*hug, March

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
Michael Ondaatje
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 

Johanna Skibsrud
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 

Kayla Czaga
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
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

Dallas Hunt
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
Chuqiao Yang
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.

By: Attila Berki; Cassandra Drudi; Andrew Woodrow-Butcher

February 7th, 2024

11:15 am

Category: Industry News, Preview

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