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Books on Offer

FOR COMPLETE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING TITLES AND AUTHOR’S BIOS, PLEASE CLICK ON AUTHORS' NAMES.

Literary Fiction

Last Impressions
Joseph Kertes

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World

Last Impressions is a dark comedy following an older man, David Beck, in his declining months, and his middle-aged son, Ben, as they consider the accomplishments of a life. The question for the father is, “Did I do what I could?”

On a visit to the cemetery, Ben says to his father, “St. Augustine divided people into two categories: those who are here merely to use the world and those who are here to leave something of value behind.” Ben asks his father what camp he belongs to. The father considers the distinction before saying, “Don’t judge. It’s unwise and unfair to expect ordinary people to be something they’re not. I survived the big war in Hungary. I brought you to Canada. I’m leaving you here.”

The seemingly self-centered David makes more of an impression on his son in his last months than ever before. Both learn what the other is made of.

They revisit the father’s past in Hungary, his early years of success and comfort, and the crumbling of a rich East European culture; they remember their dangerous escape, when Ben was still a young boy; they review David’s losses lately (his wife, his friends, his home, his car—hence, his independence); and they visit the old haunts in Toronto, the first house, the first buffet at which they feasted on an immigrant’s salary, and they feast again until the father suffers chest pains.

In the hospital, David asks what there is left. A nurse wanders by and reminds David of his good fortune. He tells her, “I’ll tell you what—when I die, I’ll leave my luck to you.”

Gratitude

Joseph Kertes
Penguin Group (Canada), 2008
Caleidoscopio, Portugal, Fall 2008  
Thomas Dunne, USA, 2009
Elliot Edizioni, Italy, Forthcoming

*Winner of the 2009 U.S. National Jewish Book Award for Fiction*
*Winner of the 2009 Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Award*

Rights: Translation Rights

Set during the Second World War, Gratitude tells the story of a Hungarian Jewish family that is saved from deportation by a cousin, only to banish that same cousin from their lives as soon as the war is over.

This is a story that gives us unique insight into the minds and hearts of those European Jews who had to survive World War II. The images conjured stay indelibly etched in the reader's mind, and are reminiscent of The Garden of The Finzi-Continis and of Suite Francaise. Gratitude offers penetrating insight into the psychology and fate of these characters the reader comes to love. It's the story of lives and loves lost and of the remains of a family starting over.

“This story has haunted me my whole life and I am writing a novel inspired by a family anecdote. The events in my story occurred before my time. But I have tried to create a novel around these people, turned them into characters and given them lives. What the story says to me—and what I hope sets it apart from others on the subject—is that all of us—victims, perpetrators, Christians, Jews, saints and criminals alike—are capable of making mistakes with tragic consequences.”
—Joe Kertes

Praise for Gratitude:

“Kertes leavens the grim material with a few lighter scenes of the Becks trying to make the most of a horrible situation, which goes a long way to making them an endearing and memorable group, while the author's straightforward style moves the story along at a healthy clip.”

--Publishers Weekly, August 24, 2009

 “From family members’ abstract interior monologues railing against the injustice of their plight to small, telling details—a pot of stew left boiling in a home suddenly abandoned—Kertes captures both the inhumanity of the perpetrators and the resilience of the survivors.”

--Booklist, September 1, 2009

“Warmly recommended for all readers with an interest in this era.”

--Library Journal, September 15, 2009

“…Kertes masterfully weaves in bits of devastating beauty.”

--San Francisco Book Review, November 09 (Vol. 1, Issue 3)

"Gratitude grabbed me and wouldn't let go; I found it totally engrossing.  It is a huge, sprawling novel, yet beautifully precise. Gratitude brings new life to well-known history, but the lasting strength of this wonderful book is its people, in all their flaws and glories. It is a massive achievement.”
--Roddy Doyle, Booker prize winner

Gratitude is a rich, grand novel.  It reveals the complexity of human psychology and motivations.  It shows the fate and the cruelty and generosity of human beings caught in the violence of history.  Joseph Kertes writes with tremendous skill, strength, and passion, which make reading this book sheer pleasure. Stylistically and thematically, it is a remarkable achievement."
--Ha Jin

"A major novel that spills over with humanity--by a master story-teller...."
--Bruce Jay Friedman

Author Bio
Joseph Kertes was born in Hungary but escaped with his family to Canada after the revolution of 1956. He studied English at York University and the University of Toronto, where he was encouraged in his writing by Irving Layton and Marshall McLuhan.

Kertes founded Humber College's distinguished creative writing and comedy programs. He is currently Humber's Dean of Creative and Performing Arts and is a recipient of numerous awards for teaching and innovation. His first novel, Winter Tulips, won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. Boardwalk, his second novel, and two children's books, The Gift (Groundwood) and The Red Corduroy Shirt (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), met with critical acclaim.


Free

Martin Mordecai

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World

Free chronicles life in Bellefield, a small Jamaican slave community that is connected to Atlantic shipping routes, over three months in 1831 and 1832. In 1831, the edifice of chattel slavery is crumbling, both from its internal weaknesses—economic, social, spiritual—and from external pressures, but those living in Bellefield are hedged round by the racial protocols of a slave society. But while the hierarchies of power in Bellefield may appear to be obvious, they in fact are not.

Born a slave, Jason Pollard now finds himself in charge of a slave plantation. Adebeh Cameron was raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, only to return to Jamaica on a family mission that automatically makes him a fugitive. Elorine Livingstone, a free-born independent businesswoman, tries to keep a low profile, but she finds herself drawn into public and private upheavals involving both Jason and Adebeh.

Rumours and talk of abolitionism rumble through the town. What begins as a sit-down strike on a few plantations quickly becomes the largest slave rebellion in the British Empire’s history, violently changing Jason, Adebeh, and Elorine through blood, love, and madness.
Free explores the subtleties and complexities of the relationships within, as well as between, slaves and masters, treating the two groups not as separate communities, but as a single organism distorted by the monster of slavery, where even the greatest intimacy revolves around power.

Praise for Blue Mountain Trouble by Martin Mordecai:

“Most delicious of all in this plum pudding of a book is the language…. Mordecai, without resorting to explanations or a glossary, teaches us how to hear and understand…. We might well reach the end of the book, a lovely quiet conversational coda about the souls of the dead and the unborn, without ever exactly knowing what a ‘duppy’ or an ‘obeah’ is, but Mordecai pays us the compliment of respecting that readers have more than one way of understanding a word and a concept. When human relationships are honest and precisely observed, as they are in this novel, everything else falls into place as newly familiar.”
-- Quill & Quire, starred review

“Mordecai’s balance of the ordinary and the supernatural is Virginia Hamilton–esque in its delicacy. Jackson and Pollyread emerge as distinct and entirely likable individuals, their mutual affection and love for their parents both endearing and believable…. A gorgeous snapshot of a locale and culture not seen enough in children’s books.”
-- Kirkus, starred review

“[Rich] in characterization with a beautifully realized setting. The elements of magic and mystery are intriguing, too, but best of all is the author’s use of wonderfully idiosyncratic, powerfully expressive, and downright musical Jamaican English.”
-- Booklist

“Through colorful narrative punctuated with regional colloquialisms and poetic language…the author captures the rhythm of the children’s daily life and effectively conveys their hopes, fears and family love as they look toward the future and learn secrets about the past.”
-- Publishers Weekly

Author Bio
Martin Mordecai has led many lives: civil servant, diplomat, journalist, radio and television director, publisher, book distributor, and, through it all, husband and father. While acting out these various incarnations, he has scribbled diaries, stories, occasional poems, magazine articles, and two novels, of which the critically acclaimed Blue Mountain Trouble (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2009) is the first to be completed. During the writing of Blue Mountain Trouble, Mordecai received juried grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.  In 2000, Culture and Customs of Jamaica, a reference work co-written with his wife Pamela Mordecai, was published by Greenwood Press.


What Looks In
Darcie Friesen Hossack

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World

Fourteen-year-old Lizzy Schiltz lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, the daughter of a Mennonite mother and Seventh Day Adventist father. Raised in her father’s tradition of Sabbath-keeping and vegetarianism, Lizzy and her younger brother, Zach, go to church every Saturday and attend private school at the Adventist academy down the road. There they learn math, science and social studies, along with teachings from the church’s 19th century prophet, a woman who suffered a head injury before beginning to speak God’s word. Lizzy’s life seems as protected as leftovers in a Tupperware bowl, but lately she feels as though she’s running out of air.
           
Tending towards extremes in both moods and matters of religion, Lizzy’s father Simon finds the world pressing in on the walls he works to create. When he meets the green-suited leader of the Still Water Adventist Commune, Simon believes he’s found a refuge from the influences at their doorstep. Although the rest of the family doesn’t share his conviction, Simon is determined. Either they will agree to go, or he will decide for them.
           
But when the car Simon is driving plunges into a lake, killing his wife and voice of reason, Simon winds himself into a cocoon of depression and leaves Lizzy to fill the vacuum left behind by her mother.
           
Then one day, Lizzy acts her age, taking her roller skates to the rink on Highway 97, where they play rock videos and sell hot dogs and cups of sugary blue slush—and within weeks, she and what remains of her family become Still Water Commune’s newest residents.
           
As far as Lizzy can tell, there’s no going back. Not even after she discovers her brother spending time with an older boy who likes to start fires, whose destructive habits are overlooked because he seems to have a gift for interpreting prophesy.
           
When Lizzy is burned while extinguishing a fire set by her brother, Lizzy makes a decision. With her father unwilling to be parted from his spiritual haven, she steals a jar of money from the kitchen and packs two eggless egg salad sandwiches into a paper bag. She and Zach hitch a ride to the nearest Greyhound Bus Depot where they buy a pair of tickets to Saskatchewan and the Mennonite aunt and uncle waiting to introduce them to the life their mother left behind.


Mennonites Don’t Dance
Darcie Friesen Hossack
Thistledown Press, September 2010

*Nominated for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book –
Canada and the Caribbean*

*Runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award*
*A Globe and Mail 2011 Best First Fiction Selection*

Rights: Thistledown Press has world, HSW Literary Agency is selling

Mennonites Don't Dance stories is a collection of eleven short stories, each set on the Canadian prairies where Darcie Friesen Hossack spent her childhood. Together the stories form a picture of family, often torn apart at the seams. They explore the ties between young and grown children and their parents and grandparents, generational sins and redemption.

Praise for Mennonites Don’t Dance:

“There’s an unfussy purity of expression here, and of narrative control, that sometimes recalls the short fiction of Alistair MacLeod. Images come cleanly to the mind’s eye while the prose itself recedes. The other MacLeodian element is Hossack’s stealthy way with emotion. She never tells you how to feel. When you do find your heart opening to these characters, it rises from their authenticity, and a sure authorial hand with the interplay of surprise and inevitability.”

-- The Globe and Mail

“This slender book of 11 short stories is a complex treasure. Each story is wrapped in themes of anger, guilt and the Mennonite work ethic. Thankfully, the jagged edges of this treasure are gilded, occasionally, with grace and hope….[Hossack’s] writing is crisp, evocative and spellbinding, her characters and plots strong….With black humour and shrewd wit, [the stories] explore family relationships….Hossack's writing may remind readers of Manitoba-born Mennonite authors Patrick Friesen and Miriam Toews. Like The Shunning and A Complicated Kindness, the stories here illuminate the sad reality that not all of Mennonite religion and culture is healthy. And no family is easy.”

-- The Winnipeg Free Press

“Hossack captures well the mien of the descendants of the early Mennonite settlers in southern Saskatchewan faced with struggle after struggle to survive, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, not realizing they have choices about attitude even when they seem to be losing….These people, like the kittens in one story, suffocate and die when confined or break like delicate teacups when dropped. Yet there is a near-hidden shining to them. Mixed in with their frailties are love of family, prayer, thankfulness, generosity, faith and the ability to forgive even the ugliest actions, even murder….”

-- Mennonite Weekly Review

Mennonites Don’t Dance is a collection of stories that provide a peek into the lives of a culture.  Hossack has written these with compassion and eloquence.  I urge you to pick up a copy of this book and become acquainted with characters described so close to the bone you will be unable to separate them from small pieces of yourself.”

-- The Calgary Beacon

Mennonites Don’t Dance is an impeccably crafted debut.... Hossack writes prose that is unadorned and honest, like the Men­nonites she features. There are no linguistic pyrotechnics here, but a simple grace in the way she uses language. The climactic scenes of these stories would be very much reduced in impact if florid, poetic prose weaseled its way in. A clean, direct sentence is often best, and Hossack seems to know exactly when and where to place one.”

--EVENT

Author Bio
Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, where she was mentored by Giller Prize finalist Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander, Children of the Day). Her stories have appeared in publications such as Half in the Sun (Ronsdale Press), an anthology of Mennonite literature; Rhubarb Magazine; and Prairie JournalMennonites Don’t Dance collects a number of these acclaimed tales, including “Year of the Grasshopper,” which was nominated for the prestigious Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, and “Dandelion Wine” and “Ashes", which were both finalists in UBC-Okanagan’s Okanagan Short Fiction Contest.

A Kelowna and Kamloops-area food columnist for the past six years, Darcie is currently working on a novel titled What Looks In, which explores the spiritual abuse and deliverance of a family divided by grief and Protestantism.


The Clock of Heaven
Dian Day
Inanna Publications, October 2008

Rights: World, excluding Canada
     
The Clock of Heaven explores issues of identity and of hope: What makes us who we are?  How does that affect how we are able to cope with our environment? Can difficult relationships facilitate growth rather than despair? Esa Withrod is a young woman in despair over recent events in her personal life—a failed first relationship and resulting pregnancy—as well as the legacy of her sordid upbringing. The pregnancy is a catalyst that impels her to re-connect with her grandmother in rural Nova Scotia in an effort to come to terms with her past and her future. However, she finds it impossible to understand "Gam", who now wishes to be called Alice, and the two women are strangely at odds in the big old farmhouse.

Praise for The Clock of Heaven:

“…finely attuned to the imaginative leaps and sensory palette of childhood…. [The Clock of Heaven is] smartly conceived and movingly executed, and there's no choice but to read on…. Day's descriptive writing, from character traits to scene setting, is crisply evocative…. The surging plot trajectory integrates grim humour, uncompromising pathos, an expertly wrangled supporting cast and a subtly woven mystery.”
-- Globe & Mail

The Clock of Heaven is the first novel by Nova Scotia author Dian Day, and it's an excellent debut from beginning to end…. Dian Day is a skillful writer, giving us just enough details from Esa's childhood to make the reader marvel that Esa has done as well as she has…. According to her bio details, Dian Day is now at work on a second novel. I certainly recommend her first one, and look forward to the next.”
-- Prairie Fire Magazine: Review of Books


The Madrigal

Dian Day

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World

Meet Frederick, a youngest son with six raucous brothers.  The only singleton in a family of twins, he sees "two‑ness everywhere," and as an adult, is still searching perpetually—but vainly—for his other half. His mother survived on social assistance and grocery cards (from their slum landlord for services rendered.) She sang beautifully—but secretly—in her deserted kitchen late at night. A one‑time child prodigy himself, Frederick is the subject of the benevolent index finger of God. While his older brothers ran wild, the sensitive and musically gifted Frederick began to sneak out of the house to sing for spare change outside of city bars and nightclubs. Through the chance intervention of a number of well‑intentioned men in the community, he ends up in a church choir, and from there, at the age of twelve, is drafted into a choir school in Toronto. He's happy to go and leaves his mother and brothers behind without a thought.  But two months before his eighteenth birthday, in public, everything crashes down, and in consequence of the events that follow, Frederick chooses against his musical destiny.
 
In mid‑life, he is deliverer of Canada Post mail; teacher of Voice; keeper of secrets; caretaker of his demented mother; lousy with dates.

Still, it appears that everything is more or less satisfactory and under control—until a new neighbour moves in next door, a telemarketer starts to call, anonymous letters fill his mail bag, the date that matters gets away, and God once again starts pointing—but this time He seems a little cranky.

The Madrigalis a work of literary fiction that explores the experience of solitude, the meaning of extraordinary talent, and the role of memory throughout our lives. Rather than a coming of age story, it is a ‘coming to terms story,' as the protagonist must let go of the unfulfilled expectations of his childhood and find deliverance from the tragic end‑of‑childhood event he believes he carries responsibility for. Frederick brings a unique twist to a timeless journey of self-exploration and relationships with other.

Author Bio
Dian Day’s first book, The Clock of Heaven (Inanna, 2008), won a Silver Medal in the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Awards, and was given an honourable mention in the Globe and Mail’s list of the one hundred best books of 2009. She lives in rural Nova Scotia and is currently writing full-time, preparing the final draft of The Madrigal and planning her third novel, Tintamarre. Dian maintains a blog at dayletters.ca.


Cipher

Pamela Mordecai

Manuscript available
Rights: World

Grace Carpenter is eight when a lightning storm ignites a tree in the backyard of her family’s barracks hut on Wentley Park Estate in the Caribbean island of St Chris. She rushes to tell her beloved grandfather, Gramps, who warns her sharply to stay away. He’s gazing at a stranger who is lying in his small cultivation of ‘medicinal plants’. The skin on the dead man’s face and arms has swollen and lifted from his flesh like a gigantic blister.

Thirty years later, Grace, a distinguished international civil servant, returns to her small island to collect an award from the university there. The island is under curfew because a government minister has been murdered and another has disappeared. Mark Blackman, Chancellor of the university and an old colleague of Grace’s with whom she has had a brief relationship, dreads her arrival – for one thing, she’ll have to meet his wife, Mona, whom he suspects has somehow come to know of their affair. Surprises await Mark. Grace’s mother, Phyllis, and Grace’s friend and colleague, a clairvoyant African priest named Jimmy Atule, arrive unexpectedly, accompanied by Grace’s four-year-old son. Grace is leading an HIV/AIDS project in Sub-Saharan Africa of which Atule is a part. The priest, a controversial Jesuit, hails from Mabuli, where his work in HIV/AIDS education and treatment has put him in conflict with local authorities as well as those in Rome.

Mark is stunned when he sees Grace’s son and even more amazed when his wife greets Jeremiah affectionately by name.

And then a blister on Grace’s little finger spreads to her hand and her arm and the skin begins to blow up like a balloon…

Praise for Pink Icing by Pamela Mordecai:

“Telling stories of ordinary lives with extraordinary skill, Pamela Mordecai draws delicately detailed portraits of life in Jamaica and other islands, with occasional trips to Canada. Her characters speak with the cadences of the Caribbean, and cope with the universal experiences of birth and death, joy and betrayal.... Mordecai turns a sharp ear to the nuances of everyday speech, exposing the currents beneath the calm exterior and producing complex tales that will challenge and entertain her readers.”

-- Open Book Toronto

Author Bio
The rave reviews that greeted Pamela Mordecai's first collection of short fiction,
Pink Icing
(Insomniac Press 2006), invariably praised her ability to use a range of languages and registers for her narrative purposes. Not surprising, for Kamau Brathwaite has described her as "one of the most brilliant and witty" of Caribbean poets. She's written a lot. One critic notes her "prolific output across literary genres [which] suggests multiple strategies for capturing… the contours of Jamaican landscapes: social, economic, physical and historical." Born in Jamaica and educated there and in the US, she has spent most of her life in the Caribbean, but has lived as well in the USA and Canada. She has been a diplomatic wife, a teacher, a trainer of teachers, a TV host, editor of an academic journal and a small press publisher. A prize-winning author, her writing for children is well known on both sides of the Atlantic. She has published many textbooks and anthologies, five children’s books, four collections of poetry – Journey Poem (1987), de man: a performance poem (1995), Certifiable (2001) and The True Blue of Islands (2005) – and, with her husband Martin, a reference work, Culture and Customs of Jamaica (2001). She lives in Toronto.


Therefore Choose

Keith Oatley
Goose Lane Editions 2010

Manuscript available
Rights: North American, excluding Canadian English

Set in the years before and after World War II, Therefore Choose is a love story in which Anna, editor of a literary magazine in Berlin, asks George, an English medical student who visits there in 1936, to stay and live with her. Should he interrupt his plans because of his love for her? Should he live in a country he is coming to distrust?

This psychological novel enters deeply into the minds of its protagonists, and explores how we choose our lives even though we cannot foresee the outcomes of our decisions. It's about how we take responsibility for our actions. It's about what happens when people's feelings about the past begin to seem inadequate, and when guilt begins to seem appropriate.

Praise for Therefore Choose:

“…unquestionably a literary triumph….”

-- The Walrus

“A coming-of-age story quietly and compassionately told. Almost between the lines, the force of history bears down on these characters, as they learn what is possible and impossible in a broken world.”

-- Anne Michaels, author of Fugitive Pieces and The Winter Vault

“A thoroughly thought-provoking read. Oatley is deft with dialogue—big ideas are channeled seamlessly through the minds of his characters. George, Werner, and Anna’s every choice—whether to act, react, or withhold action—is imbued with power.”

-- Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo

Praise for The Case of Emily V. by Keith Oatley:

“A pitch-perfect pastiche of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories and Freud's case studies.…”

-- Entertainment Weekly

Praise for A Natural History by Keith Oatley:

“The book is that kind of historical novel that engrosses and informs a reader all at the same time, whether or not that reader is familiar with the original inspiration [George Eliot’s Middlemarch].”

-- Adult Canadian Books for Strong Teenage Readers, University of Alberta School of Library & Information Studies

Author Bio
For Keith Oatley, creative expression is as much an object of study as it is an everyday practice. University of Toronto professor emeritus of cognitive psychology, Oatley has long been fascinated by the way human beings communicate ideas and feelings. His Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-winning first novel, The Case of Emily V. (Secker & Warburg), follows Sherlock Holmes and Sigmund Freud’s joint investigation of suspected murderess Emily Vincent. In the voices of Dr. Watson, Freud, and Emily herself, Oatley explores Emily’s motivation for pushing her former guardian to his death. A second novel, A Natural History (Penguin Canada), draws upon George Eliot’s Middlemarch to study a mid-nineteenth-century scientist’s struggles at home, with his pianist wife, and at work.

Oatley currently teaches a course on creativity for Humber College’s publishing program. He divides his time between Toronto, Canada, and London, England.


Would I Lie to You?
Mary Lou Dickinson
Inanna Publications, Fall 2014

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada
After ten years of marriage, Sue and Jerry would say they know everything about each other. But each harbours a significant secret.

When Jerry becomes ill and it’s apparent he’s dying, Sue visits a psychic, Hans, who tells her there is someone like a son in her life. She dismisses this, but at Jerry’s funeral his son turns up—a son Sue didn’t know existed.  At first Sue feels betrayed by Jerry, but gradually she accepts her own complicity. And regrets never telling him, or anyone else, about the baby girl she gave up for adoption when she herself was only sixteen.

Encouraged by Hans and a relative of Jerry’s, Sue starts looking for her daughter and relying more on Hans, who is struggling with troubles of his own…


IIe D'Or
Mary Lou Dickinson
Inanna Publications, 2010

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada

Shortly after the first referendum on Quebec separation, four people who knew each other as children encounter one another in the town where they grew up. Bourlamaque began as a frontier gold mining camp in the northern Quebec bush. It is attached to Ile d’Or, the commercial centre, which by 1982 is still a bustling place despite concerns about the gold running out.

The four protagonists – Michelle, Libby, Nick and Lucien – are some thirty years out of high school, and now in their forties, when they meet again. The four of them either converge on Ile d’Or, or still live there, and play out in a few days a drama that none could have foreseen. A local boy attaches himself to Nick and is a connection to the town that Ile d’Or has become. The boy, Marcel, is a reminder of how bleak existence is for some of the locals, although he inspires hope by his very spunkiness and determination.

The story begins with Michelle standing by her father’s grave in the Catholic cemetery. Her mother, a Protestant, is buried across the highway – thus the divide between families, and between French and English, in small town Quebec. Michelle is startled to be greeted by Nick, who has returned from years lived elsewhere. As they talk, the past begins to unfold. The Flamingo, a club opened by Michelle’s father – reputedly on money made from high-grade gold stolen from the mines – sits in the background as a largely symbolic point of contention between the owners and workers of the mine.

Ile d’Or seems at times to be a town of ghosts, though many people still live there long after the mine’s heyday. And perhaps with a new discovery of gold the town is on the verge of a revival. The novelis about gold and greed and renewal and hope. It’s also about language and politics. And about four people who are marked by coming from this town, who are transformed by their unexpected encounters with each other

Praise for Ile D’Or:

“With a storytelling style that skillfully combines the fragility of the human condition with the rock-hard reality of life in a northern mining town, Dickinson threads together the lives not only of miners and their bosses, but also the larger social fabric of a Quebec mining town on the heels of the province’s failed 1980 independence referendum…. Dickinson’s writing style is slow and deliberate. Like the best writers this country produces, nobody rushes Munro, Ondaatje or Gowdy and nobody is going to rush Mary Lou Dickinson. Fortunately, she doesn’t write like any of them (okay, maybe a little like Munro), but something like Bonnie Burnard. Both dig deep into the subject of partnerships, relationships, memory (not nostalgia) and ordinary lives. It’s not risking much to state that when the Scotiabank Giller Prize list is announced, Ile d’Or won’t be on it. Then again, Ile d’Or doesn’t require a shiny gold decal on its cover to indicate that this book is a winner.”

-- The Globe & Mail

Author Bio
Mary Lou Dickinson grew up in northern Quebec and has lived for many years in Toronto, where she worked as a crisis counsellor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and a Master in Library Science from the University of Toronto. Her fiction has been published in the University of Windsor Review, Descant, Waves, Grain, Northern Journey, Impulse, Writ and broadcast on CBC Radio. Her writing was also included in the anthology, We Who Can Fly: Poems, Essays and Memories in Honour of Adele Wiseman. Mary Lou published a book of short stories, One Day it Happens, in 2007, and her first novel, Ile D’Or, in 2010.


Prairie Ostrich
Tamai Kobayashi
Goose Lane Editions 2014

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

It’s 1974. Bookish, seven-year-old Imogene Murakami, called “Egg,” lives with her teenaged sister Kathy on their parents’ ostrich farm. Since the girls’ brother Albert died, their mother has been drinking and their guilt-stricken father has shut himself up in the barn. To comfort Egg, Kathy reads books to her, reinventing them as she goes along so that all stories end happily—even those of Anne Frank and Laika, the canine cosmonaut.

Not surprisingly, the sisters increasingly depend on one another for protection and support. When Egg is bullied by her schoolmates, Kathy comes to her rescue; when Kathy is harassed by her ex-girlfriend’s new, heterosexual clique, Egg subtly diverts their attention. But the girls’ relationship is threatened when Egg’s teacher reads aloud from Charlotte’s Weband Egg herself reads the end—the actual end—of The Diary of Anne Frank­. How can Egg trust someone who has lied to her about everything?

In the face of these struggles, each sister makes a final sacrifice for the other. When Kathy, certain that Egg still needs her, intentionally ruins her chance at a basketball scholarship to a college far away from the farm, Egg remembers the Buddhist monks who protested the Vietnam War and sees freedom for her and Kathy both… Prairie Ostrich is the story of coming out and coming of age in a sleepy rural town, in a family where the ties that bind may be the ties that set you free.

Praise for Quixotic Erotic by Tamai Kobayashi:
“Ranging from tender and sultry to coolly surreal, Quixotic Erotic offers readers a phenomenal range of erotic adventures...”

-- Herizons

“. . . Kobayashi has long held a deserved reputation as a woman who gives good fiction. . . a writer who is not afraid to paint her characters with both detail and with bold strokes and her erotica reaps the benefit.”

-- Xtra!

Praise for Exile and the Heart by Tamai Kobayashi:
"From the Future Bakery to Old Man Dam, Tamai Kobayashi reveals the ordinary and extraordinary lives of Asian-Canadian lesbians and their families with a quiet, intense passion. Kobayashi has a sharp eye for the poetic in the everyday, and for the small resonant truths that gleam amidst the seemingly mundane. Contemplative, generous, and precise, this is a book about how history, personal and global, creates the present and how the present evolves into history."

-- Larissa Lai, author of When Fox is a Thousand

Author Bio
Tamai Kobayashi was born in Japan and raised in Canada. She is the author of the short story collections Exile and the Heart (Women's Press) and Quixotic Erotic (Arsenal Pulp Press). Prairie Ostrich is her first novel.


Girl in Shades
Allison Baggio
ECW Press, 2011
Audible.com, 2012

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

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.

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

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

-- Booklist

“Allison Baggio has woven a captivating story in this, her first published novel....an 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
Allison Baggio
ECW Press, 2012

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

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.

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

Author Bio
Allison Baggio has an Honours B.A. in English and Mass Communication from York University. She 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.


Sweet Affliction
Anna Leventhal
Invisible Publishing, Spring 2014

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

“All the nurses’ names here end in nda: Rhonda, Randa, Amanda, Linda, Little Linda, Panda. No, I made that up. No one is named Panda, though one of Rhonda’s tunics is patterned with little pajama-clad bears. Is tunic the right word? Probably not – it’s too close to panic, which is not encouraged in the ward. People do anyway, but quietly.”

-- from “Sweet Affliction”

Sweet Affliction is the inventive and accomplished debut collection by Anna Leventhal. The twelve stories in Sweet Affliction are an eclectic gloss on modern life and relationships, often foregrounding women as they broach themes of embodiment, fertility, and sexuality.  From the title story, where a woman’s cancer diagnosis suggests to her a new stage of evolution, to “Helga Volga,” a tender and raw story of one couple’s changing dynamic, these short stories probe the workings of human attachments with lyricism, humour and insight. 

In “The Polar Bear at the Museum” (nominated for the 2008 Journey Prize), the tensions of identity and the underpinning violence of high school are played out in a fraught friendship between two girls. “Moving Day” is an episodic examination of class, ownership, and civic duty that follows several denizens of Montreal on a very special holiday.  Part satire, part George Saunders-esque speculation, it describes a city and a population that is raucously apathetic and resignedly rebellious.  In “Notes from Cave 11,” a ghost-led archeological expedition makes a “remarkable” discovery, but in history, as in life, things may not always be as they seem.  Other stories follow a man dealing with the death of his pet rat, the child of an experimental family who develops an odd coping mechanism, and a pair of sisters in an “it’s complicated” relationship with an older man.

Sweet Affliction capitalizes on the energy, rhythm and contradictions of contemporary life and relationships, offering a vision of humanity that is as funny as it is dark, and as broadly sympathetic as it is incisively caustic. This is an impressive and original offering in the spirit of Miranda July, Pasha Malla, and Alice Munro.

Author Bio
Anna Leventhal’s writing has appeared in Geist, Matrix, and the anthologies The Journey Stories 20 (McClelland & Stewart) and The Future Hygienic (PistolPress).  She was nominated for the 2008 Journey Prize and was the second-place winner of the 2009 Quebec Writing Competition.  She was the contributing editor of The Art of Trespassing, an anthology of short stories put out by Invisible Publishing in 2008.  Her work has appeared on the CBC Radio One programs OutFront and Cinq a Six and has been translated into Slovenian.  She has been writer-in-residence in a modified toolshed in Halifax, a greasy spoon in Winnipeg, and the Writing Studio at the Banff Centre.  Leventhal is a co-founder of The Society for the Preservation of Anachronistic Gesture, an ongoing writing/performance project with theatre artist Taliesin McEnaney.  She lives in Montreal.


Simon’s Choice
Craig Shreve

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World

Looking to put his abusive childhood behind him, Simon Moore heads west to Seattle from the small southern-Ontario town where he was raised. But his plans for a fresh start are thrown into question in the wake of a savage mugging. Torn between the reality of his present suffering and the optimism that he can overcome the tragedies of his past, Simon hangs most of his hope on his on-again off-again relationship with Sarah, the hometown girlfriend who moved with him to Seattle before drifting into a different social circle.

The mugging brings Sarah back into Simon’s life, but it also brings Graham Chasel, the trauma counsellor haunted by his own firsthand experience with violence; Bear, Simon’s mysterious attacker; and fresh memories of and sympathy for the father who Simon still fears.

When Bear contacts him with a message, Simon is forced to confront a secret from his past.  As he puts together the pieces, he is presented with a terrible choice and a test of just how deeply old scars run.

Simon’s Choice is about the actions we take or regret not taking, the relationships we let slip, and the shattering consequences of violence on otherwise ordinary lives. 

Author Bio
Craig Shreve was born and raised in North Buxton, Ontario, the final destination for slaves escaping the U.S. south via the Underground Railroad and one of Canada’s National Historic Sites. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science degree, and later enrolled in Humber College’s creative writing program, where he was fortunate to be mentored by Joan Barfoot. He has previously published work in Reflections and Confluence. Simon’s Choice, Craig’s first novel, was a semi-finalist for the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. 

When he’s not writing, Craig actively seeks out new experiences; in the last ten years, he has tried sky-diving, rock-climbing, luge, bungee-jumping, and hang-gliding, and participated in space camp (at the US Space and Rocket Center) and the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Craig’s recent involvement with volunteer travel promises many more adventures to come.

Craig currently lives in Chatham, Ontario, where he is working on his second novel.


Miah
Julia Lin
TSAR Publications, 2012

Manuscript available
Rights: Translation

Miah, Taiwanese for “fate”, is a collection of linked short stories set in Taiwan and Vancouver.  Spanning the twentieth century (from Japanese-occupied Taiwan to present-day Canada), many of the stories focus on the Huang family as they struggle with their respective fates under the forces of history. The remainder of the stories explore the complexities of living in modern Canadian society from the points of view of both immigrants and non-immigrants, all of them tied to the Huang family in one way or another. 

Praise for Miah:

"These engaging and poignant stories provide a window into complexities of lives divided between Taiwan and Canada in the twentieth century. With each story another layer is peeled, moving us closer to understanding the price of survival under cruel and repressive regimes. A fine debut."

-- Judy Fong Bates, author of China Dog and Other Stories

"Julia Lin uses the short story form successfully to handle the subject of a novel---family saga. These intriguing short narratives engage the readers in an exploration of four generations of an extended family living across the Pacific Ocean in Taiwan and Vancouver; the narrative journey connects history, cultures and languages to detect and disclose both what the characters call a Taiwanese resilience and the skeletons in the family closet. Miah is a rich, interesting book to read about largely unknown aspects of Taiwanese Canadian culture."

--Lien Chao, author of The Chinese Knot and Other Stories and Tiger Girl

Author Bio
Julia Lin was born in Taiwan and lived there until she was nine, with a year-long stay in Vietnam, before her family immigrated to Canada. Since then, Julia has lived in Vancouver and its environs, Toronto, and northern British Columbia. She holds a graduate degree in Immunology (M.Sc., University of Toronto) and a post-graduate degree in computing education (University of British Columbia) and has taught high school math, science, and computing science in British Columbia for a number of years. Her writing mentor, M.G. Vassanji, encouraged her to complete the short story collection, Miah, after she submitted the first stories in the 2009 Humber Creative Writing Program. Julia Lin lives in Vancouver.


Escape Plans
Teri Vlassopoulos

Manuscript available
Rights: World 

The mythological Graeae, a trio of sea nymphs, shared a single eye and tooth, yet each sister extracted different views of the world around them. Escape Plans follows the Kiriakos family—Niko, Anna, and daughter Zoe—as each grapples with questions about marriage, solitude, and family in the wake of a unifying tragedy: Niko’s death.

At the age of 52, Niko realizes that he would like to work for the shipping company his grandfather founded over a century ago in his homeland of Greece. Despite his minimal experience with the shipping industry and his comfortable life in Toronto, he is determined to make his mark on what was once a thriving family business.

His wife, Anna, is less sympathetic to the plan. Unwilling to uproot, Anna stays behind in Toronto with Zoe. Niko considers his move an extended business trip, but Anna is unsure of what to make of it. Niko and Anna never get the chance to formalize the status of their relationship. A few months after Niko leaves, he drowns in a sailing accident.

Escape Plans is a novel about the silence that exists amongst those closest to you, the information that is withheld, and the explanations left unspoken. Anna, Niko, and Zoe struggle with how much to tell one another, but what ultimately emerges is how much they can intuit about the essence of each other’s feelings. The bond that exists in this small family is strong, whether or not they realize it themselves.

Praise for Bats or Swallowsby Teri Vlassopoulos:

“Vlassopoulos’s voice carries a sweet, palpable honesty, peppering the story with lines that tickle the heart.... Vlassopoulos has found a way to carry over the wide-eyed curiosity and innate goodness of childhood into the mysterious, often sad, often tragic world of adulthood. The confidence in the voice, the originality of style and the achingly beautiful images are evidence of greatness to come from this engaging young writer.”

-- Montreal Review of Books

Bats or Swallows is that rare thing: a collection of short stories woven together not by location or ties between characters, but by a repetition of tone, a pattern in structure—a certain kind of noticing. What does Vlassopoulos notice? Small, pivotal moments of intimacy that the narrator dwells on just long enough for it to be unsettling, turn the story ever so slightly sideways....These stories crept on me with their careful attention to passing thoughts and identity fumbles. Stories intended to linger and unnerve.”

-- subTerrain

 “There’s a mesmeric quality to Vlassopoulos’s storytelling. Her writing is warm, uncomplicated, and beguilingly intimate.”

-- The Rover

“...there are no frivolous, overwrought details; Vlassopoulos favours sharp, simple story construction. She also has an acute sense of timing....Each one of the eleven stories in Bats or Swallows is a little dioramic gem.”

-- Atlantic Books Today

 “Vlassopoulos delivers clean, clear prose and a narrative voice that suggests a close friend sharing her secrets. In spite of the conversational tone, however, the subject matter can sometimes veer into unexpected and challenging directions.... Bats or Swallows is an enjoyable read and promising first effort from a writer with a knack for crafting characters with whom I felt instantly comfortable and curious.”

-- The Women’s Post

Author Bio
Teri Vlassopoulos is the author of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award- and ReLit Award-nominated Bats or Swallows (Invisible Publishing 2010). Her fiction has appeared in Room Magazine, carte blanche, and Kiss Machine, and has been shortlisted twice for THIS Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. Her non-fiction is featured in the anthologies The Art of Trespassing (Invisible Publishing 2010) and She’s Shameless: Women write about growing up, rocking out and fighting back (Tightrope Books 2009). She also wrote, photocopied, stapled and sometimes sewed the zines melt the snow and The Second Part.Escape Plans is Teri’s first novel.


The Pleasure of Water
Eileen Delehanty Pearkes

Manuscript available
Rights: World
 
It’s 1908 and like most Scottish women of her class and strict Presbyterian upbringing, nineteen-year-old Norah MacNaughton is encouraged to aspire to a good marriage and a family of her own, instead of the artist’s career she desires. After a chance encounter with the married artist William Donald, who is visiting the rural countryside near her home, Norah makes fresh efforts to seek her parents’ permission for art school. Upon the intervention of the local school master, Norah’s parents allow her to attend the Glasgow School of Art—if only to enable her temporary employment as an art teacher.

In Glasgow Norah embraces a city alive with culture, prosperity, and industry. After a brief encounter at a public art lecture, Norah visits William’s studio, where she observes his private struggle to establish a new direction for his work. Norah is unaware of William’s reputation as a womanizer, and in her naivety, she is especially susceptible to his charms. At the same time, the director of the school notices her talent and recommends that she enter the advanced program in January. She returns home for the Christmas holiday with two secrets to keep: the fact that she has left teacher training behind and her rewarding but increasingly more illicit friendship with William.       
                         
When collegial discussions of colour, light and composition give way to an affair, William’s creativity flourishes as Norah’s moral struggles eat away at her. Her own art suffers, culminating in a breakdown and her retreat to her parents’ home. Norah’s future looks decidedly dim until the timely arrival of her Uncle Robert, a bachelor and energy entrepreneur who takes her with him to North America, where she recovers and rediscovers her passion for art.

But Fate seems determined to draw Norah and William together, and Norah must struggle to make sense of her feelings and face a final, most difficult choice: to follow her heart or to preserve the artistic life she has worked so hard to achieve.   

The Pleasure of Water is a lyrical exploration of the conflicts between emotional fulfillment and creative freedom set in the time of Clive and Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and Wyndham Lewis.

Author Bio
Long fascinated by landscape and the human imagination, Eileen Delehanty Pearkes writes a column on Canadian landscape and history for American readers in The North Columbia Monthly, a newsmagazine distributed throughout northern Washington and Idaho. Now in its second printing, Eileen’s The Geography of Memory (Kutenai House Press, 2002) is a unique collection of essays that explore the indigenous Sinixt people and their historic connection to the Upper Columbia Basin. In addition to The Geography of Memory, Eileen has published a memoir of her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer's, The Glass Seed (timeless books, 2007); coauthored, with K. Linda Kivi, The Inner Green (Maa Press, 2005); and contributed to various newspapers and anthologies, including the Globe & Mail, Going Some Place (Coteau Books, 2000), and River of Memory (edited by William D. Layman; UBC Press, 2006). From 2002 to 2009, Eileen was a regular contributor to the award-winning magazine Ascent. 

After Silence
Olivia Anastasia Arnaud

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World

Sixteen months after the war, Marine veteran Fynn Casey remains stricken by nightmares of his time in a Japanese prison camp. His wife and children now estranged, Fynn is loathe to confront the loss and betrayal that has so long driven him from his family—until the sudden appearance of his son's beautiful wife, Ilsa. Escaped from a past of prostitution, Ilsa is equally drawn to Fynn, meanwhile striving to find her place within a family that condemns her. 
    
After Silence chronicles members of the Casey household as they mourn the way of life now past, seek forgiveness that cannot be granted, and hope for love to reconnect them.  

Author Bio
Olivia Anastasia Arnaud has been writing novels since she was eleven years old. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Bishop's University, and a graduate diploma and letter of distinction in Creative Writing from the Humber School for Writers. She won second place in the 2012 Toronto Star Short Story Contest with “After Red,” a tale of classroom violence told through the eyes of a disturbed student.

At the Humber School for Writers, Arnaud completed her adult novel, After Silence, under the tutelage of Richard Bausch. Her first young adult novel, Madd Bandits, is in progress.


The View from Mt. Palooka
Bernard S. Grzyb

Manuscript forthcoming
Rights: World

In a Pennsylvania anthracite-mining town in 1953, bright but anxious Jimmy Stapinski struggles with his thirteen-year-old hormones and devout Polish-Catholic upbringing. 

Driven by fear of eternal damnation and a desire to please his chronically unhappy mother, Jimmy resolves to be “good” when Father Ed Grabowski—a local priest with keen business acumen and dreams of erecting a Polish Hall of Fame in a decrepit motel—captures Jimmy’s imagination with tales of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the great Polish pianist and patriot whose dying wish was to have his heart interred in Warsaw.  Unfortunately, World War II and the Cold War intervened, and then Paderewski’s sister forgot where she put the heart.

With his irreverent cousin Lala as a reluctant partner, Jimmy sets out to find Paderewski’s missing heart, certain his success will not only secure his redemption, but also bring him fortune, fame, and the affection of Marion Krooger, the pretty daughter of the radio star and band leader Count Polka.

Brimming with larger-than-life characters and fraught with moral ambiguity, unexpected tragedy and triumph, The View From Mt. Palooka draws the reader into Jimmy Stapinski’s world with great humor and affection.

Author Bio
Bernard Grzyb was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army Security Agency that stationed him in Miami during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Grzyb taught English for the New Jersey public school system. He holds a doctorate from Rutgers University, and has practiced and taught psychology in both Canada and the United States. 

Grzyb has published numerous essays on psychology, and studied creative writing with William Kowalski, Ryerson University, and the Humber School for Writers. Through Humber he worked with Peter Carey on early chapters of The View from Mt. Palooka. Other mentors include Roddy Doyle and Bruce Jay Friedman, the latter who nominated a chapter of Mt. Palooka for a North American summer writing workshop award. This excerpt would later be shortlisted in the CBC/Saturday Night literary competition.

A father of two and grandfather of two, Grzyb resides in Toronto with his partner, Susan.


Café Babanussa

Karen Hill

Manuscript available
Rights: World

Ruby Edwards is determined to free herself from her family and the racial homogeneity of Don Mills, Ontario, in the late 1970s. While her childhood friends chatter endlessly about marriage and the suburbs, Ruby has more cosmopolitan aspirations. Taking after a black, gay, great-uncle who studied in Germany in the early 1930s, Ruby heads to West Berlin to forge an identity of her own.

West Berlin in the 1980s is a city of lush greens, cheerless skies, and perpetual protests. Ruby is quickly drawn into the Bohemian cultural scene, finding a home amongst Arab, African, and European outsiders. Here she has freedom to explore her developing racial and sexual identities—even as she struggles with mania and psychoses. Only after surviving a psychotic breakdown does Ruby understand she must abandon the relationship she is in: with a man much like her controlling father. Ruby’s struggle with mental illness continues to define her as she edges back towards life. Music, friends, food, sex and travel sustain her as she strives to maintain a balance. Yet Ruby soon realizes that Berliners will never cease to see her as an exotic, foreign creature—an “Auslaender.”

Café Babanussa is a story of gender, race and ability; of self-healing; of growing up and pushing through the boundaries of east and west, man and woman, black and white, sanity and madness.

Author Bio
Karen Hill was born in Newmarket, Ontario, and raised in Don Mills. After completing her B.A. in French and English Literature, she lived in Europe for ten years, mainly in the former West Berlin. She later returned to Canada where she worked in the field of Adult Literacy and ESL, raised a daughter, and started writing.


The Seven Vows
Shaun Mehta

In Toronto, Canada, 33-year-old Anand Sharma is a high school teacher who lives with his traditional parents, obstinate sister, and endearing five-year-old son. As a recovering alcoholic, his fragile grasp on normalcy is shattered when he receives a letter from his wife years after she abandoned their child.

In Jalandhar, India, 21-year-old Sonia Das is ecstatic when the love of her life proposes to her. Devastated to discover that she is forbidden to marry, Sonia runs away to the streets of Delhi to start an exciting new life with her fiancé.

Travelling on converging paths that lead to their unlikely union, Anand and Sonia will challenge the very matrimonial vows they are forced to pledge.

The Seven Vows is a tale of endurance, duty, and sacrifice. Through tragedy and humor, it explores the struggles couples face well after the wedding and honeymoon.

Author Bio
Whether on screen, shared verbally or in print, Shaun Mehta loves a good story. It was this passion that led him to write fiction. Born and raised in Toronto, he has an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business, a Bachelor of Education, and a diploma in Creative Writing from the Humber School of Writers, where he studied with award-winning author Joseph Kertes. 

Mehta was nominated for a 2008 Genie Award for Best Adapted Screenplayfor the feature film Amal. Based on his short story, Amal has won over 30 international awards, and was chosen as one of Canada’s top ten films during the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. In 2010, Amal was selected as the ninth best film of the decade in Playback, Canada’s premiere film and broadcasting industry website.
 
Mehta is currently working on his next novel.

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