The importance of publishing and promoting titles by authors from underrepresented groups is a hot topic in Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand. While some authors from these groups are well-known, Canadian publishers and reviewers are increasingly promoting books by newer, lesser-known authors. Here are a few examples by established as well as newer authors:
The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli (Berkley Books) is a heartwarming romantic comedy about an East Indian woman navigating the world of dating, arranged marriages, and generational differences in cultural expectations in Toronto.
Tanaz Bhathena’s Hunted by the Sky (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) is a fully-realized fantasy world, based on Persian and Indian mythology, with a strong female lead character. The first volume in a duology, the conclusion Rising Like a Storm will be published in June 2021.
Lawrence Hill’s classic Someone Knows My Name (W. W. Norton; originally published as The Book of Negroes, HarperCollins) is powerful literary fiction set in the 18th century. Aminata, the main character, is kidnapped from West Africa, enduring the Middle Passage and subsequent enslavement in South Carolina before escaping and winning her freedom from the British.
For Own Voices poetry collections, try Burning Sugar: Poems by Cicely Belle Blain (VS Books), or Magnetic Equator by Kaie Kellough (McClelland & Stewart). Both explore Black Canadian identity and experience in haunting, lyrical language.
Based on First Nations trickster tales, Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster and Trickster Drift (Knopf Canada) are darkly humorous coming-of-age stories. The third book in the Trickster Trilogy, Return of the Trickster, has just been published.
A woman witnesses a crime at the beginning of Métis author Katherena Vermette’s powerful debut novel The Break (House of Anansi Press). The rest of the literary psychological book explores identity, culture, and relationships between and among the families of the victim and the perpetrators.
An unnamed teenage girl discovers her shamanic powers in the mystical, haunting Split Tooth by Tagaq. Teenagers’ concerns such as popularity are woven with more serious topics such as alcoholism and the legacy of the residential school system. The supernatural also plays a role in this descriptive tale that brings Nunavut to life.
Within NoveList, you can use the advanced search page to limit your search by Author Nationality, Author Gender Identity, or Author Cultural identity to find even more titles. In the Author Cultural Identity box you can limit your search to First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Black Canadian, Caribbean, Asian Canadian, or Middle Eastern Canadian.
Using field codes, you can also search for Author Gender (AG), Author Nationality (AY), or Author Cultural Identity (AC). For instance, you can search for Literary fiction by Black Canadian authors:
You can also limit a search by reading level (RL 1 for Adult titles, RL 2 for Teen titles, RL 4 for ages 9-12, or RL 8 for ages 0-8). For example: