TIFA colour divider


TIFA’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers

Published on December 2, 2021

Holiday season is fast approaching, so the Toronto International Festival of Authors is back with a list of well-read gifts for book lovers. From unique experiences to Festival-approved titles, delightful debuts and books by local Toronto authors, we’re excited to offer these merry-making gift suggestions for the readers of all ages in your life.

Buzzworthy Books

What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad book coverWhat Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad 

TIFA had the privilege of having Omar El Akkad join us for three events this fall where we learned more about his experience writing the novel and incredible writing tips. Shortly after the Festival, What Strange Paradise was awarded the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize. With beautiful storytelling, the novel explores the challenging and heartbreaking refugee experience through the journey of nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who finds unexpected support in a new country from a teenage girl named Vänna.

We Want What We Want book coverWe Want What We Want by Alix Ohlin

A finalist for the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, We Want What We Want is a collection of glittering, surprising and darkly funny stories of people testing the boundaries of their lives. This isn’t the first time one of Ohlin’s books have caught the attention of both readers and critics as she is author of five books, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists Inside and Dual Citizens.

Aether by Catherine Graham Book CoverÆther: An Out-of-Body Lyric by Catherine Graham

Through poetry and prose, Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric provides a breathtaking homage to family, to cancer and to the strange windings of truth. A finalist for the 2021 Toronto Book Award, and a Toronto Lit Up selected book, Graham’s poetry captures incredible moments of pain, love and forgiveness with beauty.


Find You First book coverFind You First by Linwood Barclay

Find You First is Linwood Barclay’s latest psychological thriller. It’s an adrenaline-packed novel that follows the story of a tech millionaire who must locate the nine children he fathered via sperm donation two decades prior. Through a series of mysterious and terrifying events that occur during his search, the millionaire soon finds himself in a deadly race against time. If your giftee loved Barclay’s No Time for Goodbye and The Accident, this book should be on their list too.

Not a Happy Family Book CoverNot a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

Canadian novelist Shari Lapena is the author of several international bestsellers, including The Couple Next Door, A Stranger in the House and Someone We Know. Not A Happy Family continues Lapena’s trend of incredible storytelling that keep readers engaged and on edge. Full of secrets and what-ifs, this book is a must-read for those who like a good whodunnit mystery.

Dog Park book coverDog Park by Sofi Oksanen

Sofi Oksanen is an internationally critically acclaimed writer whose work has been translated into more than 40 languages, has sold more than two million copies, and has been adapted into two films. Her latest novel, Dog Park, is a captivating story of intrigue and betrayal following a murder in a global fertility market. Translated to English by Owen F. Witesman, it’s the perfect gift for those who crave a good thrill.


Hurricane Summer book coverHurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

Actor and musician Asha Bromfield’s literary debut tells the heartfelt, coming-of-age story of Tilla as she spends a summer on the island of Jamaica. Exploring colourism, classism and a struggling father-daughter relationship, Hurricane Summer is a great gift for the avid YA reader, and Riverdale fan, in your life.

Charlie Petch, Why I Was Late (Brick Books) book coverWhy I Was Late by Charlie Petch

Why I Was Late is Charlie Petch’s debut poetry collection. The Toronto Lit Up title fuses text and performance into a decades-long trans/masculine coming-of-age story. Through unpredictable and vulnerable poems, Petch pierces straight to the heart, which will leave readers feeling moved and changed by the experience.

Lindsay Zier-Vogel's Letters to Amelia book coverLetters to Amelia by Lindsay Zier-Vogel

Another Toronto Lit Up selection, Letters to Amelia underscores the essential need for connection, and our universal ability to find hope in the face of fear. In this incredible debut novel, Zier-Vogel explores grief, love and, of course, the captivating Amelia Earhart.

Young Readers

Welcome to the Cypher book coverWelcome to the Cypher by Khodi Dill

A picture book for readers four and up, Welcome to the Cypher is a fun introduction to the vibrant, rhythmic, musical world of rap, beatboxing and spoken word poetry. The book is a joy to read with beautiful illustrations and a fun story, and a great gift waiting to be wrapped.

The Beatryce Prophecy book coverThe Beatryce Prophecy by Kate Dicamillo

American author Kate Kate Dicamillo is a two-time Newbery Medalist, whose latest book, The Beatryce Prophecy, is a coveted gift for readers aged eight and up. Full of magic and set in medieval times, Beatryce must venture through the dark woods in search of a castle and the king who wants her dead. It’s an adventure your young reader won’t want to miss!

Instructions for Dancing book coverInstructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon 

A YA romance novel for readers aged 12 and up, Nicola Yoon’s Instructions for Dancing turns heartbreak on its head. Readers will meet a charismatic character who thinks she knows all about love and the pain it brings, but ends up getting a lesson in relationships.

Unique Gifts

TIFA Friend & Duel Friend Benefits

A person taking a iphone picture of Emma Donoghue and a fanShare the gift of the Toronto International Festival of Authors and all the awesome benefits of being a Friend. Your gift will support TIFA while we prepare for an exciting 2022 and return to in-person events, while also unlocking specific TIFA Friends personal benefits for your giftee, from extended viewing for virtual events to retail discounts and access to exclusive offers.

Can You Hear Me Now? ebook & audiobook

Can You Hear Me Now? book coverDuring the 42nd edition of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, 11 authors contributed original commissions to the Can You Hear Me Now? anthology. This collection of short stories features international and Canadian authors Max Porter, Shani Mootoo, Scholastique Mukasonga, Clayton Thomas-Müller and more, who explore the phrase “can you hear me now?”. The phrase has become ubiquitous in the age of digital meetings, but also speaks to global movements for change that call for marginalized voices to be represented, celebrated and heard. This special collection of their work is now available through Kobo, an official bookseller of the Festival.

Looking for more? Check out our 2020, 2019 & 2018 holiday gift guides for more inspiration.


TIFA’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers

Published on December 2, 2021

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap