Your New Favourite Books

By Kellie Davenport

Known for open skies, mountain peaks and crystal-clear lakes, Alberta is the backdrop for many stories. It’s also home to some of Canada’s most prolific writers. Curl up this fall with these works—for a dose of local literary talent and/or themes.

Vivek Shraya
ECW Press, April 2020

Shraya’s work crosses many creative genres, including literature, music, theatre and film. The multidisciplinary artist, who also works as an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, mashes up these worlds in her second novel. The tale documents the tumultuous friendship of musician Neela and internet-famous RUK-MINI. A series of ill-timed tweets, mixed with a little career sabotage, threatens to separate these kindred spirits. It’s a tale of enduring friendship in the Twitter age.

Jaclyn Dawn
NeWest Press, October 2019

In her debut novel, the Edmonton writer crafts a clever satire that simultaneously skewers and celebrates village life. Think Gossip Girl meets rural Alberta. After venturing back to her (fictional) hometown, our heroine, Amiah Williams, has her every move documented by an anonymous tabloid writer. Will Amiah crack under the pressure of local paparazzi or rise to the challenge? The book examines the hard choices faced by young women—and the consequences of speaking up.

How Calgary poet Bertrand Bickersteth gives voice to Black lives on the prairies

LUCY TRIES SPORTSAlberta Authors Lucy Tries book series
Lisa Bowes
Orca Book Publishers, April 2020

Calgary-based sports journalist Bowes puts her love of athletics to good use in this series of picture books, which chronicle the ups and downs of their gregarious title character. Illustrated by James Hearne, the books follow brave Lucy as she tackles new activities, from soccer and basketball to luge and speed skating. Kids can cheer for the amateur athlete, while also learning about rules, the power of play and the benefits of active living.

John O’Neill
NeWest Press, November 2020

Like a moguls champ, O’Neill seamlessly glides over narrative twists and turns to deliver thrilling short stories of authentic mountain flavour. His latest collection features a ragtag group of Albertans seeking adventure, often with deadly consequences. A hitchhiking convict thumbs his way into a family vacation; an animal pathologist performs a truly “grizzly” autopsy and the book’s namesake sisters chase down local mysteries.

Elizabeth Withey
Orca Book Publishers, October 2020

A native of rural Saskatchewan, AMA member Withey is a veritable Jill of all trades: CBC Radio producer by day, painter of pet portraits by night and master storyteller at all times. Life After Birth, the Calgary-based writer’s debut, was a collection of essays about first-time parenting. Her latest literary work—a children’s book—is thus a natural extension. The One With the Scraggly Beard looks at homelessness through a child’s eyes and is based on Withey’s own family experiences.

Jaclyn Dawn on (fictional) small-town life and her new novel

Alex Kienlen
Now or Never Publishing Co., April 2020

As an agricultural reporter, Kienlen harvests columns for the Alberta Farmer, a biweekly newspaper, while cultivating her own stories. Currently based in Edmonton, the AMA member grew up in Saskatoon. Told from two points of view, her latest work follows the Klassens: Donna, a reluctant farm wife, and her teenage daughter, Allyson. Though a work of fiction, Kienlen leaned on her agricultural journalism to delve into the circumstances surrounding the 2003 outbreak of mad cow disease and its far-reaching fallout across Alberta.

Buy these books from Indigo to earn up to 5% in reward dollars. Enter your AMA membership number and start shopping!

Elevate your reading nook with comfy accessories. Shop on the AMARewards e-Store to earn reward dollars. Visit and enter your membership number to get started.

1 Keep tootsies warm and stylish with Indigo’s Verloop slippers
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2 Wrap up in a sherpa fleece-lined Ugg Ana throw from Linen Chest
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3 De-stress with a warm cup of Mother’s Little Helper by DavidsTea
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4 Turn your reading space into an Italian café with a Cucina scented candle from Fruits & Passion
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5 Read while soaking with The Body Shop’s pink grapefruit bath bubble
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