Choosing a horse for the Amazon First Novel Award


In partnership with The Walrus, Amazon has announced the shortlist for the prestigious First Novel Award. The award has a history of predicting literary superstars so you’ll want to pay attention here. The shortlist is:

All True not a Lie in it by Alix Hawley

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

Us Conductors by Sean Michaels

New Tab by Guillaume Morissette

Pedal by Chelsea Rooney

Us Conductors is probably the bookie’s favourite as it was the winner of this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize but my money is on Emma Hooper’s excellent Etta and Otto and Russell and James. It stands the trope of ladies wandering for miles in order to find themselves on its head. To read more, check out my recent review of the book in the Fiction Advocate.


Claire Battershill is more talented than you and deserves her success

circusDo you have literary aspirations? Of course you do, you’re reading a books blog. Somewhere you have a half-penned novel or a drawer full of short stories that you’ve submitted to the New Yorker (you aim high, I like that about you) that they never actually rejected so who knows, any day now. When you were writing angst-ridden teenage poetry you were certain that you’d be on the New Yorker‘s Twenty under Twenty list (pretty sure that’s not a thing but it was on Gossip Girl) but then you got a bit older, and figured you’d settle for a Thirty under Thirty list which would still make you a wunderkind but birthdays keep rolling by  and you’ve decided that maybe it’s better if you’re discovered a bit older; mature, fully formed. Oh I know you. I am you.

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What the heck is happening in The Carnival? 5 notes

indexCarnival is the weird and wonderful 2012 offering from Lebanese-Canadian writer Rawi Hage. It was listed as one of Flavorwire’s Ten New Must-Reads for June 2013, so my guess is that the book has been a slow burner, finding an audience mostly via word-of-mouth amongst book people. I’m delighted because it’s Red Brick Reads’ first every opportunity to tag a post #canlit (though not the last, we have a couple coming up soon).  It’s a strange book, man.

Luckily we love strange books around here and would be happy to act as tour guides through the strangeness of this one.

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