EMWF’s Summer Reads

Whether you’re looking for a compelling memoir to read amongst the trees, poetry to move you while you’re stuck on transit, or a novel that is sure to heat you up while poolside, we’ve got you covered! Add these exceptional books from authors you’ll see at the 2019 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival to your summer “to-read” pile immediately.

How She Read by Chantal Gibson
Published by Caitlin Press

How She Read is a collection of genre-blurring poems about the representation of Black women – their hearts, minds, and bodies – across the Canadian cultural imagination. A mediation on motherhood and daughterhood, belonging, and loss and recovery, this collection weaves together the voices of Black women, past and present. Thoughtful, sassy, reflective and irreverent, Gibson’s debut collection leaves a Black mark on the landscape as it illustrates a writer’s journey from passive receiver of racist ideology to active cultural critic in the process of decolonizing her mind.

“With How She Read, Chantal Gibson has created a searing and a soaring poetic and visual meditation, which acts as a balm for our aching souls.”

—Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal

Every Little Piece of Me by Amy Jones
Published by McClelland & Stewart

From the author of We’re All in This Together comes a novel about family, friendship, fame, and the cost of living in the public eye. Ava Hart is the most reluctant cast member of a successful reality TV show based on her big city family’s efforts to run a B&B in small-town Nova Scotia.  Mags Kovach, the charismatic lead singer of a struggling Halifax rock band, suffers a devastating loss and turns her anger on the only person she can: herself. As both women find themselves crushed under an endless stream of public social commentary, it is only their unexpected friendship that will allow them to push back against the roles they’ve been forced to play, thereby saving themselves and each other.

“Jones’s savvy novel has everything you’d want from a summer read. It’s a deep dive into the entertainment business, and its account of personal loss has a strong emotional punch.”
NOW Magazine

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta
Published by House of Anansi Press

Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle. In this collection of twelve interconnected stories, we see Kara pulled in different directions by her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, by her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, and by girlhood and adulthood. A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. This debut collection artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.

“Sharp-witted and sharp-tongued, Frying Plantain is written in the indelible ink of memory. Zalika Reid-Benta is a masterful storyteller with a light touch… This is an unforgettable debut.” — Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout

Provisionally Yours by Antanas Sileika
Published by Biblioasis

After World War I and the collapse of Czarist Russia, former counterintelligence officer Justas Adamonis returns to Lithuania, a fragment of the shattered Empire. He’s barely off the train when he’s recruited back into service, this time for the nascent government eager to secure his loyalty and experience. Though the administration may be new, its problems are familiar, and Adamonis quickly finds himself ensnared in a dangerous web of political corruption and personal betrayal. Sileika’s Provisionally Yours is a vivid depiction of realpolitik—as well as an unforgettable story about treachery and the enduring human capacity for love.

“In the tradition of the Cold War spy and espionage novels of writers such as John Le Carré or even Graham Greene… A finely-honed political thriller.”
Toronto Star

Woman Enough: How a Boy Became a Woman and Changed the World of Sport
by Kristen Worley and Johanna Schneller
Published by Random House Canada

Growing up feeling ill-at-ease as a boy and like an outsider in his conservative family, Chris depended on his obsession with sports – especially cycling – to survive what he eventually understood to be a profound disconnect between his anatomical sexual identity and his gender identity. In his twenties, with the support of friends, family, and the medical community, Chris became Kristen. Chris had been a world-class cyclist so, following her transition, Kristen wanted to compete for her country and herself in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Woman Enough is the account of a human rights battle with global repercussions for the world of sport, a challenge to rethink fixed ideas about gender, and the extraordinary story of a boy who was rejected for who he wasn’t, and who fought back until she found out who she is.

“Kristen Worley’s story not only sheds light on women’s issues in international and Olympic sport systems but also illustrates the struggle and complexity of her experience becoming her authentic self.”
— Silken Laumann, author of Unsinkable

A detailed schedule of readings, interviews, and panel discussions – featuring these authors and many more – will be available in August. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday, September 8 for Festival Sunday at the 2019 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival!