Each month, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly invites a local author or artist to curate a shelf in the store. This January, we bring you recommendations from Alicia Elliott!
ALICIA ELLIOTT is a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River living in Brantford, Ontario. Her writing has been published by The Malahat Review, The Butter, Room, Grain, The New Quarterly, CBC, The Globe and Mail, Vice, Maclean's, Today's Parentand Reader's Digest, among others. She's currently Creative Nonfiction Editor at The Fiddlehead, Associate Nonfiction Editor at Little Fiction | Big Truths, and a consulting editor with The New Quarterly.
All of Alicia's picks will be 15% off for the month of June. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find:
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - Islands of Decolonial Love
I love this book so much that I actually have an essay dedicated to it in my book! Simpson is a unique storyteller that makes no apologies for writing for Indigenous audiences. These stories and poems of love, sex, colonialism, academia and more are full of fierce intelligence and even fiercer love. Every one is gift.
Lindsay Nixon - nîtisânak
This book explodes all your notions of memoir, essay, academia and pop culture criticism, then takes the best parts of each and blends them into a fiery, innovative text that's equal parts heartbreaking and world-building. The literary equivalent of a punk rock mixtape, made by a smart, cool AF queer trans prairie NDN you'll want to be besties with immediately.
James Baldwin - Giovanni's Room
One of my favourite books of all time. I almost never re-read books, but the absolute mastery of character, voice, structure and language keep me coming back to marvel and learn. Really, any of Baldwin's books do this, but this was my first and has a special place in my heart. A must read.
Casey Plett - Little Fish
This novel is probably one of the best I've read in years. Wendy Reimer is a trans woman living in Winnipeg dealing with the death of her Mennonite grandfather, who may or may not have been secretly a trans woman, as well. But this beautiful book doesn't revolve around that; instead it revolves around the lives of Wendy and her close friends, many of whom are living in precarity as a result of transphobia. The precise despair, truth and beauty of this book continues to linger long after the last page.
Heather O'Neill - The Lonely Hearts Hotel
O'Neill has been an amazing writer since her debut, but she's one of those rare writers who somehow finds ways to improve upon what you already thought was perfection with each subsequent book. This novel, which didn't get nearly enough recognition, is her best so far. The story is somehow funny and devastating, harshly realistic and brightly magical. These characters will always hold a place in my heart, and probably yours, too.
Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez - Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
This series has it all: murder, ghosts, difficult family dynamics, keys that unlock your brain or allow you to change gender or fly... You know, the usual. This trade paperback collects the first issues, following the Locke family to Keyhouse in Lovecraft, Massachusetts after a horrific event that left their father dead and the entire family with PTSD. This is an incredible, imaginative, emotionally complex series that shows you how to tell a good story well.
Kate Beaton - Hark! A Vagrant!
Beaton's blend of history, pop culture and wit make this an easy choice. Her work is so funny, so smart. Just a joy to read. I don't think that this write-up does justice to how much I love Beaton's work, but trust me. This is the book you didn't know you needed.
Joan Didion - The Year of Magical Thinking
This book taught me that creative nonfiction doesn't have to be boring lol. Didion blends memories of her own husband's life and death with research about death rituals in different cultures, along with meditations on love and loss. It's a stunning book that shows the creativity in CNF, and bravely makes art out of loss. One of my favourites.
Anne Rice - Queen of the Damned
This book was like a gateway drug. To what, you ask? Wanting to be a vampire? YES. But also Rice is so great at world-building, and the structure and narration choices she makes in this entry in her Vampire Chronicles are particularly masterful.
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground
A bold and profound work by Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is a personal and critical meditation on...