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Prairie Writers

This is a selection of our current Prairie Writers titles. To find other titles or authors, or just to browse, please use the search box.

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Birdie

- Trade paperback

by Tracey Lindberg - $22.99 - Add to Cart

Bernice Meetoos will not be broken.A big, beautiful Cree woman with a dark secret in her past, Bernice ("Birdie") has left her home in northern Alberta to travel to Gibsons, B.C. She is on something of a vision quest, looking for family, for home, for understanding. She is also driven by the leftover teenaged desire to meet Pat Johns--Jesse from The Beachcombers--because he is, as she says, a working, healthy Indian man. Birdie heads for Molly's Reach to find answers, but they are not the ones she expected.With the arrival in Gibsons of her Auntie Val and her cousin Skinny Freda, Birdie begins to draw from her dreams the lessons she was never fully taught in life. Informed by the lore and knowledge of Cree traditions, Birdie is a darkly comic and moving first novel about the universal experience of recovering from tragedy. At heart, it is the story of an extraordinary woman who travels to the deepest part of herself to find the strength to face the past and to build a new life.

Black Apple

- Hardcover

by Joan Crate - $32.00 - Add to Cart

A dramatic and lyrical coming-of-age novel about a young Blackfoot girl who grows up in the residential school system on the Canadian prairies.Torn from her home and delivered to St. Mark's Residential School for Girls by government decree, young Rose Marie finds herself in an alien universe where nothing of her previous life is tolerated, not even her Blackfoot name. For she has entered into the world of the Sisters of Brotherly Love, an order of nuns dedicated to saving the Indigenous children from damnation. Life under the sharp eye of Mother Grace, the Mother General, becomes an endless series of torments, from daily recitations and obligations to chronic sickness and inedible food. And then there are the beatings. All the feisty Rose Marie wants to do is escape from St. Mark's. How her imagination soars as she dreams about her lost family on the Reserve, finding in her visions a healing spirit that touches her heart. But all too soon she starts to see other shapes in her dreams as well, shapes that warn her of unspoken dangers and mysteries that threaten to engulf her. And she has seen the rows of plain wooden crosses behind the school, reminding her that many students have never left here alive. Set during the Second World War and the 1950s, Black Apple is an unforgettable, vividly rendered novel about two very different women whose worlds collide: an irrepressible young Blackfoot girl whose spirit cannot be destroyed, and an aging yet powerful nun who increasingly doubts the value of her life. It captures brilliantly the strange mix of cruelty and compassion in the residential schools, where young children are forbidden to speak their own languages and given Christian names. As Rose Marie matures, she finds increasingly that she knows only the life of the nuns, with its piety, hard work and self-denial. Why is it, then, that she is haunted by secret visions--of past crimes in the school that terrify her, of her dead mother, of the Indigenous life on the plains that has long vanished? Even the kind-hearted Sister Cilla is unable to calm her fears. And then, there is a miracle, or so Mother Grace says. Now Rose is thrust back into the outside world with only her wits to save her. With a poet's eye, Joan Crate creates brilliantly the many shadings of this heartbreaking novel, rendering perfectly the inner voices of Rose Marie and Mother Grace, and exploring the larger themes of belief and belonging, of faith and forgiveness.

Bootlegger's Confession, The

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by Allan Levine - $16.95 - Add to Cart

The year is 1922. U.S. Prohibition is in full swing and the bootleg business is booming for Jewish-Canadian entrepreneurs, Saul and Lou Sugarman.Looking to keep a close eye on their border transactions, the Sugarman's set up their sister Rae and husband Max in a general store in southern Manitoba, close to the North Dakota border. One night, several hours after concluding a lucrative bootleg deal, Max Roter is found dead.Determined to find the killer, Lou Sugarman hires Sam Klein, Winnipeg's best known private detective, to investigate the murder. A routine investigation quickly devolves into a kidnapping crisis, leading Sam Klein straight into the dangerous mob world of 1920s New York City. The second trilogy in the Sam Klein mystery series transports readers back to the "gateway of the west," Winnipeg of the 1920s. It was a boom time for commerce and crooks, radicals and revolutionaries, as a brave new world opened up for waves of immigrants seeking a better life.

The Break

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by Katherena Vermette - $22.95 - Add to Cart

When Stella, a young Metis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break -- a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house -- she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime. In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim -- police, family, and friends -- tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Metis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg's North End is exposed. A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette's abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.

Burning in this Midnight Dream

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by Louise Bernice Haife - $16.95 - Add to Cart

Burning in the Midnight Dream is the latest collection of poems by Louise Bernice Halfe. Many were written in response to the grim tide of emotions, memories, dreams and nightmares that arose in her as the Truth and Reconciliation process unfolded. In heart-wrenching detail, Halfe recalls the damage done to her parents, her family, herself. With fearlessly wrought verse, Halfe describes how the experience of the residential schools continues to haunt those who survive, and how the effects pass like a virus from one generation to the next. She asks us to consider the damage done to children taken from their families, to families mourning their children; damage done to entire communities and to ancient cultures. Halfe's poetic voice soars in this incredibly moving collection as she digs deep to discover the root of her pain. Her images, created from the natural world, reveal the spiritual strength of her culture.

Daddy Lenin and Other Stories

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by Guy Vanderhaeghe - $19.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction. Bestselling author Guy Vanderhaeghe's new book of fiction is both timely and timeless and showcases his supreme talent as a storyteller and poignant observer of the human condition. Among these nine addictive and resonant stories: A teenage boy breaks out of the strict confines of his family, his bid for independence leads him in over his head. He learns about life in short order and there is no turning back. An actor's penchant for hiding behind a role, on and off stage, is tested to the limits and what he comes to discover finally places him face to face with the truth. With his mother hospitalized for a nervous condition and his father away on long work stints, a boy is sent to another family for his meals. His gradually building relationship with a teenage daughter who has been left handicapped from Polio opens unexpected doors to the world. In the powerful title story, a middle-aged man remeets his former adviser at university, a charismatic and domineering professor dubbed Daddy Lenin. As their tense reunion progresses, secrets from the past painfully revise remembered events and threaten to topple the scaffolding of a marriage. With Daddy Lenin and Other Stories, award-winning author Guy Vanderhaeghe returns once again to the form that launched his stellar literary career. Here is a grand master writing at the height of his powers.

Dopamine Blunder

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by Lori Cayer - $19.95 - Add to Cart

In her astounding third collection, poet Lori Cayer takes on the juggernaut role of steward of human nature and subsequently explodes the myth of happiness through a multi-faceted lens of anthropology, socio-biology, sociology, psychology, archaeology, medicine and philosophy. Hinging on erasure and found material, Dopamine Blunder investigates these fundamental questions as our millennium enfolds with equal uncertainty and trepidation.

Fragment

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by Craig Russell - $19.95 - Add to Cart

As the planet and the oceans warm, in the Antarctic a cool layer of newly minted ice shields the surface ocean from the warmer, deeper waters that are melting the ice shelves. New giant icebergs float off Antarctica -- some the size of the Island of Montreal. On one eventful day in the Antarctic's Scott Base, a group of marine biologists are introduced to an attraction far more impacting than the "calving" off of icebergs from the world's land ice. What they encounter is the most powerful event in nature they have ever experienced whose magnitude seems almost incomprehensible. Soon the world would know what they knew: As though connected by rods, Kate and the two men turn south. South, toward a marvel that is part of the everyday existence here. It is a cliff, a hundred meters high, that thrusts up out of the ocean. They still call it 'The Barrier'. It is the seaward edge of the Ross Ice Shelf. Not a level sheet, the Shelf is an icescape where plates the size of suburban neighborhoods shift with the seasons, shaped by the slow processes of wind and tide. But now Kate can see swift movement where there should only be frozen stillness. All across the southern horizon, the edge of the world lifts. Atlas has shifted his grip on the globe and there is a shockwave in the ice. As the terrible force of Fragment becomes known, it is not only the human world that will have to contend with its treachery but also the animal world, especially that of the sea. And so it is that within the survival instincts of several species lay the remedy and plan that must be forged to save millions from disaster and potential death. But first, as the Fragment morphs from phenomenon to global threat and begins its drift toward South America, the parade of humanity will have its way: the military with their military prescriptions, the media with their desire to exploit the disaster, the scientists with their passive desire to know more and more, and those few dedicated marine scientists who were there at its birth and will eventually be lead to action by the most unlikely of all allies -- a blue whale named Ring.

The Hideous Hidden

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by Sylvia Legris - $20.95 - Add to Cart

In her first full-length collection published in the United States, Sylvia Legris probes and peels, carves and cleaves, amputates and dissects, to reveal the poetic potential of human and animal anatomy. Starting with the Greek writings of Hippocrates and the Latin language of medicine, and drawing from Leonardo da Vinci's Anatomical Manuscripts, the dermatologist Robert Willan's On Cutaneous Diseases (1808), and Baudelaire's The Flowers of Evil, Legris infuses each poem with unique rhythms that roll off the tongue. The Hideous Hidden boldly celebrates anatomy's wonders: "Renounce the vestibule of non-vital vitals. / Confess the gallbladder, / the glandular wallflowers, / the objectionable oblong spleen."

How to Pick Up a Maid in Statue Square

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by Rea Tarvydas - $18.95 - Add to Cart

These stories collectively capture various versions of the expat life that share the feeling of being between two worlds, that experience of being neither here nor there and trying to find a way to fill that space. The stories follow a kind of "life cycle" of expatriates in Hong Kong -- a place often called the "most thrilling city on the planet." They share the feeling of being between two worlds, the experience of being neither here nor there and trying to find a way to fill that space. From the hedonistic first days in How To Pick Up A Maid in Statue Square, as Fast Eddy instructs on how best to approach Filipina maids on their rest day; through the muted middle in Rephrasing Kate, as Kate encounters a charismatic bad boy and is forced to admit her infidelities; to the inevitable end in The Dirty Duck, as Philip realizes his inability to commit and resolves to return home to Australia; Hong Kong alters them all with its frenetic mixture of capitalism and exoticism. Characters exist between the worlds they once knew and this place which now holds them in its spell and shapes them to its ends. Their stories explore how they cope with this space where loneliness and alienation intersect, a place where insomniac young bankers forfeit their ambition while chasing deviant sexual encounters, or consume themselves with climbing the corporate ladder. It is a world where passive domestics live and work for the money they can send home, while their keepers assemble poolside to engage in conversations aroused by the expat's desire to connect to others who share their fates. Always, of course, there is The Globe a favourite watering hole where, when night falls, they meet to tell their stories.

Liberty Street

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by Dianne Warren - $19.99 - Add to Cart

From the Governor General's Award¬-winning author of Cool Water, "a story of compassion, redemption and of coming to terms with one's past told with intelligence, humour and wit" (Winnipeg Free Press).When sharp-edged Frances Moon and her long-time partner encounter a funeral procession that brings traffic to a halt, she finds herself blurting out the barest thread of a story that she never intended to share. The reverberations drive her back to the past and her mother's old rental property, the lone house in a failed subdivision called Liberty Street.There, memories are ghosts: Frances's mother on her way to Nashville to become a country singer; her father determined to run his farm despite his failing eyesight; the town's bad apple, Dooley Sullivan; a string of renters including the December bride, Esme Bigalow, and a man who met a tragic end, Silas Chance.When a domestic mishap and a torrential hailstorm send Frances to the questionable safety of an eccentric neighbour's kitchen, she learns just how unreliable memory is, and that she was not the only one whose life after Elliot, Saskatchewan, was determined by half-truths and bad decisions.With depth, insight and the subtle humour for which she is known, Dianne Warren gives us an engrossing and touching novel about disappointment, anger and the redemptive power of kindness.

Lifting Weights

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by Judy Mccrosky - $18.95 - Add to Cart

The collective force of McCrosky's Lifting Weights is a raw adventure into the unknown. In Death TV you meet a butterfly collector whose explorations into violent mayhem in television programming draws out our society's preoccupation with watching people die as a source of entertainment. A journalist with a nose for a good story takes us inside the world of "thinking machines" in the form of cybernetic horses, and tries to discover whether they conform to her dictum that living means being true to your identity. In the surreal tale Sand Dove an unhappy woman leaves her husband and makes her way to small beach community where she finds an injured bird that is able to conjure for her a daily baby to compensate for all the miscarriages she has had. In the title story Lifting Weights Jane and Sandra, future archeologists on an alien planet, have their lives tested in climbing to the surface of a dark underground cavern into which they have fallen. In their quest to survive one of them discovers a new inner strength that had always eluded her, while she solves an ancient alien mystery as to why the civilization on the planet became extinct. McCrosky's imagination knows few limits, though in her quest to entertain in these twelve stories she remains true to her themes of optimism and exploration, while maintaining her central vision that our greatest fears and threats are conquerable.

The Shadow Over Portage and Main

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by Keith Cadieux - $19.95 - Add to Cart

Winnipeg is a place of extremes. Winters are fierce and relentless. Summers are unbearbly hot. It has been both the murder and auto theft capital of Canada and the Slurpee capital of the world. It is a place that exerts an influence, that marks and changes its inhabitants. This anthology features writers who have all lived in Winnipeg for a time and been inspired, horrified, changed by that experience. The stories here capture a tone of history, dread, violence, weirdness, and sometimes even whimsy; a tone that only Winnipeg exudes.

Tell Them It Was Mozart

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by A. Schellenberg - $20.00 - Add to Cart

Linked poems that uncover the ache and whimsy of raising children on the autism spectrum. Through public judgments, detouring dreams and unspoken prayers, Tell Them It Was Mozart, Angeline Schellenberg's debut collection, traces both a slow bonding and the emergence of a defiant humour. This is a book that keens and cherishes, a work full of the earthiness and transcendence of mother-love. One of the pleasures of this collection is its playful range of forms: there are erasure poems, prose poems, lists, found poems, laments, odes, monologues and dialogues in the voices of the children, even an oulipo that deconstructs the DSM definition of autism. From a newborn "glossed and quivering" to a child conquering the fear of strange toilets, Tell Them It Was Mozart is bracing in its honesty, healing in its jubilance. Michelangelo slept in his clothes and seldom ate Newton lectured to empty rooms at scheduled times if no one showed up to hear him ... Only staying where room numbers were divisible by three, Tesla tested turbines in his mind, would not touch round objects ... Charles Darwin formulated the theory of natural selection, the foundation for our understanding of the diversity of life on earth: advantageous traits survive Mozart meowed on tables --from "Posthumously diagnosed" Praise for Tell Them It Was Mozart: "By turns, Angeline Schellenberg's words are blunt, musical, unflinching, transcendent. Her speaker raises two children on the autism spectrum, but she is never a martyr, never a victim, never a saint. Schellenberg has drawn a woman who turns the experience inside out--finding its humour, its turbulence, and ultimately, its joy." --Kimmy Beach

Visiting Fellow

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by David Williamson - $19.00 - Add to Cart

Poor Wally. It’s the mid-1990s, and middle age history professor Wally Baxter is recently divorced and looking for love. No easy task in this age of hyper political correctness. Wally’s mind boggles at the complicated set of romantic rules that have sprung up in the last 20 years, but he manages to stumble his way into a budding romance with the young widow Carolyn. Seeking respite from his ever mutable ex-wife, Wally decides to take his brand new paramour on a short-term sabbatical to the University of Tasmania. Only time will tell if hapless Wally Baxter can get his life and love in order in the land down under. Dave Williamson has written five previous novels, as well as a collection of short stories, a memoir, drama for television and stage, and over 1,000 book reviews. Founder of the Creative Communications program at Red River College, he was Dean of Business and Applied Arts for over 20 years, retiring in 2006. He lives in Winnipeg.

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