In Poland, Jakub Żulczyk has become one of the poster children (alongside fellow Festival participants Dorota Maslowska and Jakub Malecki) for an entirely new generation of writers who continue to challenge social and artistic norms through narrative. Inspired by the stories of Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk, there’s a similar bleakness and cynicism at play in Żulczyk’s work that has continued to disturb and captivate readers in equal measure.
Sarah Winman’s Tin Man is not the kind of book you simply put down at the end of a reading session before getting on with your life.
If the buzz is to be believed, she’s crafted a tear-jerker for the ages. It’s a simultaneously epic and intimate tale about the past and present love shared by two men; one is an aspiring artist forced to work in an car factory and the other is married to a woman with whom he has built an entirely new life. As their love triangle unfolds, Winman explores what happens when we shut out those closest to us with the book’s title serving as a thematic reference to the character of the same name in The Wizard of Oz.
This past summer, North American audiences were introduced to the equally eccentric and poignant writing of Sayaka Murata, whose acclaimed novel, Convenience Store Woman, was translated to English and released by Grove Press . Though she’s written 10 books since 2005, Convenience Store Woman marks the first time one of Murata’s novels has reached audiences in Canada and the United States. With that in mind, the book may be the perfect introduction to Murata, whose penchant for making the ordinary and the mundane seem extraordinary has been thoroughly praised by critics in the months following its release.
In 2018, we profiled some of the authors who participated in the 39th edition of the Festival. After this profile was published, Eden Robinson was longlisted for the 2019 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, shortlisted for the 2019 Sunburst Awards in Adult Fiction and won the 2019 BC Book Prize’s Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for Trickster Drift. She also curated a list of five emerging Indigenous writers to watch in June.
Eden Robinson burst onto the scene in major way with 1995’s Traplines, a relentlessly bleak collection of short stories focused on the violent and twisted relationships of their troubled narrators. The book would go on to win the the Winifred Holtby Prize for the best first work of fiction and in its darkness readers found a beating heart uniquely attuned to a set of experiences they couldn’t read about anywhere else. After all, Eden Robinson was one of the the first Haisla writers to have ever published a novel.