Finalists Announced for 2018

The City of Toronto and Toronto Public Library have named the five 2018 Toronto Book Awards shortlisted titles. Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the awards honour books of literary merit that are evocative of Toronto.

The 2018 shortlist is:

The winner of the 2018 Toronto Book Awards will be announced on October 10 at the Toronto Reference Library. Members of the public are welcome to attend the awards at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are free and will be available September 19 via the Toronto Public Library website.

Toronto Book Awards programs a full-day of panels and readings at Word on the Street, September 23 at Harbourfront Centre from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Toronto Public Library also hosts a free panel event at the Malvern Branch (30 Sewells Road), October 3 at 7 p.m.

This is the 44th year of the Toronto Book Awards. The annual awards offer $15,000 in prize money. Each shortlisted finalist will receive $1,000, with $10,000 going to the winner. This year’s Toronto Book Awards Committee is comprised of author Nathan Adler, author/editor Susan G. Cole, author Kevin Hardcastle, poet Soraya Peerbaye and author/bookseller Itah Sadu.

The City of Toronto would like to thank all the publishers that submitted works for consideration. Additional congratulations to the other long-listed authors and publishers:

The Unpublished City brings together a collection of diverse voices, a true cross-section of Toronto’s burgeoning literary community. These poems and short prose pieces reveal a series of lush vignettes through distinct voices that surprise and delight. The stories conjure Toronto’s city streets, its preoccupations and psychological pulse. From race relations to racial profiling, there are choices, paths, cute friendships, tragedies, cruelties, griefs, loves, losses and sadness. Here are fantasies of power through magic, the complications of sex, death in domesticity, the clash of home, homelands, journeys away, the rural, the urban, generational divides, ghosts and revelations, quirky visceral moments, an itch that will leave goosebumps. By turns gory and disturbing, morbidly funny, or charming and sweet, The Unpublished City highlights a talented crop of writers to watch out for.

In a near flawless piece of writing, David Chariandy brings readers to a story that may very well feel both foreign and familiar. Brother, his second novel, is a lean masterwork driven by spare, painstakingly-crafted prose. No word is wasted in this book, and every word leaves a mark. In this world-building, or perhaps world-revealing novel, Chariandy casts off tropes that readers may expect from a story about family, violence, loss, and survival, and lets the heart of the novel, and its fully-drawn characters, dictate the course of the narrative. This book has already become part of the Toronto literary canon, and should reside there for ages.

In That Time I Loved You, Carrianne Leung introduces us to a multitude of intertwined, felt and feeling lives in a Scarborough suburb. Her short stories are crafted like houses, separated by chain link fence. We dedicate ourselves to knowing each character, their hidden, fully inhabited interior; only to glimpse them again later in vivid, green glimpses, painfully undone. Probing love, loneliness, social injustice and the wish to be revealed, her characters stammer and blurt, say the wholly unexpected, their lives tender and brave on the tips of their tongues.

In My Conversations with Canadians, groundbreaking Sto:Lo storyteller Lee Maracle brings her decades of experience in writing and performing to bear on this essential series of essays. Maracle speaks plainly and powerfully throughout, and her words demand our attention and consideration. At a crucial time when the realities of Canadian life and the trappings of Canadian Literature are being rightly re-examined, Maracle explores our most pressing cultural and societal problems – those that are starkly visible, and those that may seem subterranean to some readers. The concerns of this book are concerns that will resonate with Torontonians, and those who live in different communities all over this continent, and they are laid out with precision and passion in every line.

In this soulful yet whimsical meditation on ambition and familial fealty, Frankie moves from his floating home in Port Alberni B.C., to forced internment among others with Japanese roots during World War II and then to Toronto, where he connects to a couple that teaches him gardening. All along the way, Frankie finds ways to make money – not always in seemly ways – until his aspirations as a developer along Toronto’s waterfront stretch his moral fibre. With elements of magic realism, a strong intellectual component – Buckminster Fuller and his visionary ideas figure prominently – and a powerful emotional core, Floating City evokes Toronto’s ’50s history while remaining wholly relevant to the issues our city faces today.