The HSW Literary Agency



Allison Baggio
Twitter: @allibaggio

Allison Baggio has an Honours B.A. in English and Mass Communication from York University. She is also a graduate of the Humber School for Writers Correspondence Program in Creative Writing, where she worked on Girl in Shades with celebrated author, Shaena Lambert. As well, she has completed more than 140 hours of creative writing workshops at George Brown College.

She has lived in or near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Peterborough, Ontario, and Toronto, Ontario, three of the prominent Canadian locations in Girl in Shades. She currently resides in Whitby, Ontario, where she has been a member and involved with the Writers’ Circle of Durham Region. She presently works as a freelance fundraising copywriter for non-profit organizations (

Allison has widely published in newspapers and periodicals, including The Toronto Star, Surface & Symbol (Scarborough Arts Council), Whitby This Week, The Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent, Lichen Arts & Letters Preview, Room, and subTerrain. She is the author of In the Body, which collects a novella and new and previously published stories, and Girl in Shades, a novel.

Works on Offer:

Girl in Shades
ECW Press, 2011, 2012

Maya Devine’s mother is desperate for enlightenment. Marigold drags Maya to library lectures on making money and gardening as part of her homeschooling; she attends AA meetings even though she’s never had more than two drinks at a time; and she conscripts Maya for a very personal crusade: spreading the words of the Bhagavad Gita from Saskatoon’s street corners. Poor Maya. It’s tough being a kid—and a Devine one at that!

When Marigold is diagnosed with cancer and vows to spend her final days in the tepee she’s set up in the backyard, and eleven-year-old Maya, who’s always seen auras, starts hearing people’s thoughts, life in the Devine house quickly becomes unbearable. Neighbours and strangers, believing Marigold a prophet, camp out in the front yard, and Maya’s father grows ever more distant. Good thing Maya has Corey Hart, from whose pouty lips “Never Surrender” seems to issue for her and her alone.

But Marigold’s death leaves questions unanswered, and there are some wrongs that even Corey Hart can’t right.

Moving from mid-1980s Saskatoon to the Indian countryside ten years later, Girl in Shades follows Maya’s search for her mother, her father, and above all, herself. It is a sweetly funny and deeply perceptive debut that offers a fresh take on what it is to grow up and to be part of a family.

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

Praise for Girl in Shades

“An immensely satisfying coming-of-age tale and remarkable first novel.”

-- Chatelaine

There is a tenderness to Baggio's heroine that is reminiscent of a Judy Bloom character -- and as her home life unravels, Baggio articulates Maya's vulnerability with heart-rending effect.... the feelings are always authentic and well rendered -- from the occasionally perplexing loyalty we have for family, to the tragic edict that in every relationship, there is always one who loves more than the other.”

-- Winnipeg Free Press

“ engaging tale, and an always compelling character...."

-- Booklist

“Allison Baggio has woven a captivating story in this, her first published intense and interesting spin on the coming-of-age tale.... Maya’s story speaks to the wanderer in all of us.”

-- Guelph Mercury

In The Body
ECW Press, 2012

Building on themes introduced in her novel, Girl in Shades, Allison Baggio further explores the connection between the physical and spiritual worlds with In the Body, which collects twelve new and previously published short stories, as well as the novella “As She Was.”

In the Journey Prize-nominated “Spilt Milk,” an ordinary fare leads an unhappy Indo-Canadian taxi driver to marry his passenger’s unattractive sister. The darkly comic “Remission and Other Tragedies” follows a terminally ill wife and mother who hand-picks her familial successor—only to discover that her cancer has gone into remission. From “Losing Him,” the tender story of an overweight wife coping with the unintended consequences of her husband’s gastric bypass surgery, to “One Too Many,” in which a man who has always felt that he was born with an extra leg tells his fiancé that he wants to have it amputated in time for their wedding, In the Body showcases Baggio’s range of voice and breadth of vision. It marries the gentle probing of familial relationships that marked Girl in Shades and an incisive look at the human body and the ways it defines, fails, and frees us.

Unflinching yet humane, In the Body illustrates the uncommon variety of experiences and attitudes inspired by the human form.

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

Praise for In the Body:

"...this assortment of short stories is one of the most audacious books I’ve read this year.”

-- Toronto Star

“This impressive collection of 12 short stories and one novella from Baggio (Girl in Shades), linked by the theme of the connection between body and soul, investigates how people react during critical junctures in their lives.”

-- Publishers Weekly

"From blood to bone to hands and feet, Baggio explores the bodies of her characters to reveal their most vulnerable spot--the human heart."

-- Brian Francis, author of Fruit and Natural Order

"In the Body is original, energetic, and utterly captivating. In each of its stories, Allison Baggio places the reader right in the heart of trauma. These are stories that matter, stories that are intensely dramatic, stories that are as bizarre as they are believable. In the Body is full of surprise and emotional vitality, both of which held me captive from the first page to the last."

-- Angie Abdou, author of The Bone Cage and The Canterbury Trail

"Allison Baggio's stories plunge marrow deep, documenting the flesh and bone and breath that make our experiences human."

-- Darcie Friesen Hossack, author of Mennonites Don't Dance