Two novels for your reading list from gender non-conforming Canadian authors
BC Book Prize winner (Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes); Forest of Reading Evergreen Award finalist
Ivan Coyote is one of North America’s preeminent storytellers and performers, and the author, co-author, or co-editor of eleven previous books, all but one of which have been published by Arsenal Pulp Press. Their most recent book, Tomboy Survival Guide, was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, named an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book, and longlisted for Canada Reads.
In their latest, Ivan takes on the patriarchy and the political, as well as the intimate and the personal in these beguiling and revealing stories of what it means to be trans and non-binary today, at a time in their life when they must carry the burden of heartbreaking history with them, while combatting those who would misgender them or deny their very existence. These stories span thirty years of tackling TERFs, legislators, and bathroom police, sure, but there is joy and pleasure and triumph to be found here too, as Ivan pays homage to personal heroes like the late Leslie Feinberg while gently guiding younger trans folk to prove to themselves that there is a way out of the darkness.
Rebent Sinner is the work of an accomplished artist whose plain truths about their experience will astound readers with their utter, breathtaking humanity. The book was also recently nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award.
Available from Arsenal Pulp Press
Green Glass Ghosts
From writer and musician Rae Spoon: a rollicking yet introspective young adult adventure about screwing up, finding yourself, and forging a new life on your own.
At age nineteen in the year 2000, the queer narrator of Green Glass Ghosts steps off a bus on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, a city where the faceless condo towers of the wealthy loom over the streets to of the east side where folks are just trying to get by, against the deceptively beautiful backdrop of snow-capped mountains and sparkling ocean.Armed with only their guitar and their voice, our hopeful hero arrives on the West Coast at the beginning of the new millennium and on the cusp of adulthood, fleeing a traumatic childhood in an unsafe family plagued by religious extremism, mental health crises, and abuse in a conservative city not known for accepting difference.
They’re eager to build a better life among like-minded folks, and before they know it, they’ve got a job, an apartment, openly non-binary friends, and a new queer love, dancing, busking, and making out in bars, parks, art spaces, and apartments. But their search for belonging and stability is disrupted by excessive drinking, jealousy, and painful memories of the past, distracting the protagonist from their ultimate goal of playing live music and spurring them to an emotional crisis. If they can’t learn to care for themselves, how will they ever find true connection and community?
The haunting illustrations by Gem Hall conjure the moody, misty urban landscape and represent a deep collaboration with the author based on their shared experience of seeking safety, authenticity, and acceptance on the West Coast. Green Glass Ghosts is an evocation of that delicate, aching moment between youth and adulthood when we are trying, and often failing, to become the person we dream ourselves to be.
Available from Arsenal Pulp Press
Arsenal Pulp Press is a book publisher based in Vancouver, Canada with over 400 titles currently in print, which include literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry; books on social issues; gender studies; LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and persons of colour) literature; graphic novels and non-fiction; children’s and young adult literature; regional history; cookbooks; alternative crafts; and books in translation.
Three Arsenal Pulp titles have been shortlisted for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGBooks), a first in the press’s history and record-setting year of GG nominations for Arsenal Pulp Press!
The nominees are Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi for fiction, a 2021 Canada Reads finalist that was also recently shortlisted for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award; Render by Sachiko Murakami for poetry, which is the first title in Arsenal’s history to make the poetry shortlist; and Rebent Sinner by Ivan Coyote for non-fiction, which also won the inaugural Jim Deva Award for Writing that Provokes last year.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.