Poster with Reaching Mithymna cover

Reaching Mithymna Virtual Launch Video

Did you miss the virtual launch last night for Steven Heighton’s new memoir, Reaching Mithymna? Watch it here!

Click here to buy Reaching Mithymna.



In the fall of 2015, Steven Heighton made an overnight decision to travel to the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece and enlist as a volunteer. He arrived on the isle of Lesvos with a duffel bag and a dubious grasp of Greek, his mother’s native tongue, and worked on the landing beaches and in OXY—a jerrybuilt, ad hoc transit camp providing simple meals, dry clothes, and a brief rest to refugees after their crossing from Turkey. In a town deserted by the tourists that had been its lifeblood, Heighton—alongside the exhausted locals and under-equipped international aid workers—found himself thrown into emergency roles for which he was woefully unqualified.

From the brief reprieves of volunteer-refugee soccer matches to the riots of Camp Moria, Reaching Mithymna is a firsthand account of the crisis and an engaged exploration of the borders that divide us and the ties that bind.


Steven Heighton’s most recent books are The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep and The Waking Comes Late, which received the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. His work has received four gold National Magazine Awards and has appeared in Granta, Tin House, London Review of Books, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Poetry, TLR, and five editions of Best Canadian Stories. His novel Afterlands was cited on year-end lists in the USA, the UK, and Canada, and is in pre-production for film. In 2020 he will publish two books, a nonfiction account of the Middle Eastern refugee influx on Lesvos, Greece, and a children’s book drawing on the same events.


Sadiqa de Meijer’s debut collection, Leaving Howe Island, was a nominee for the 2014 Governor General’s Award for English-language poetry and for the 2014 Pat Lowther Award. Her second collection, The Outer Wards, was released in April of this year by Vehicule Press. Her forthcoming book, alfabet/alphabet, will be published with Palimpsest Press in September 2020. She lives with her family in Kingston, Ontario.

2020 Giller Prize nomination announcement featuring Here the Dark's book cover

HERE THE DARK nominated for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize!

We are thrilled to announce that Here the Dark by David Bergen has been nominated for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize! The 2020 nominees were announced this morning by Ian Williams, the winner of last year’s award for his novel Reproduction, on a virtual live stream.

In a sHere the Dark book covertatement, publisher Dan Wells said, “All of us at Biblioasis are thrilled about David’s selection for this year’s Giller longlist. We feel quite strongly that Here the Dark is his strongest book to date.  We’re particularly happy, in this pandemic-stricken year, when so many important books were a little lost or overlooked, for David’s wonderful collection to get a little more of the attention it deserves.”

David Bergen said, “I am thrilled that Here the Dark is on the Giller longlist. To be acknowledged by the jury, and to be with such a great company of writers—astonishing. So happy for my publisher, Biblioasis, as well.”

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. The prize was established in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, who passed away from cancer the year before. The prize is awarded annually to a Canadian novel or short story collection published that year. The winner receives $100,000 and the shortlisted authors each receive $10,000. The shortlist will be announced virtually October 5, 2020.

Previous winners include Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan, Heather O’Neil, Andre Alexis, Michael Ondaatje, and Mordecai Richler.

The jury members for this year’s prize are Canadian authors David ChariandyEden Robinson and Mark Sakamoto (jury chair), British critic and Editor of the Culture segment of the Guardian, Claire Armitstead, and Canadian/British author and journalist, Tom Rachman.

On choosing the longlist, the jury stated, In this tumultuous year, the jurors took the responsibility bestowed upon us by the Scotiabank Giller Prize most seriously. We were determined to find the most powerful pieces of fiction published this year … We are proud of the collection of books that has emerged from our lengthy debates; and we believe that this longlist is but one clear reflection of the talent and global relevance of Canadian writers. To the nominees, we offer our sincere gratitude and our heartfelt congratulations.”

Here the Dark is one of three short story collections nominated for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Dominoes At The Crossroads by Kaie Kellough and How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa. Other longlisted titles include Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson, Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady, All I Ask by Eva Crocker, The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi,  Five Little Indians by Michelle Good, Indians on Vacation by Thomas King, Consent by Annabel Lyon, Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo, The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, and the first graphic novel to be nominated for the Giller Prize, Clyde Fans by Seth.

The short stories in Here the Dark explore the spaces between doubt and belief, evil and good, obscurity and light. Following men and boys bewildered by their circumstances and swayed by desire, surprised by love and by their capacity for both tenderness and violence, and featuring a novella about a young woman who rejects the laws of her cloistered Mennonite community, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner David Bergen’s latest deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost—and how we might be found.

This is the fifth time Bergen has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He won in 2005 for his novel The Time in Between. Here the Dark is his first title published with Biblioasis.

David Bergen has published eight novels and a collection of short stories. His work has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Impac Dublin Literary Award, and a Pushcart Prize. In 2018 he was given the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life.

Get your copy of Here the Dark now!


THE DISHWASHER wins the 2020 First Novel Award!

We are pleased to announce that The Dishwasher by Stéphane Larue (trans. Pablo Strauss) has won the 44th annual First Novel Award! This award honours the achievements of Canadian authors and their debut novels. The the grand prize is $60,000. The Dishwasher is the first work of translation to win the First Novel Award.

In a statement, Biblioasis publisher Dan Wells said, “We’re thrilled by the news. We feel very fortunate indeed to have brought this Quebec bestseller to an English-speaking audience. It’s a powerful moral story with universal appeal, and its success in translation is testament to the artistry of Stéphane’s writing, both its thematic and structural brilliance and its astonishing control of language. And as a press with a very active translation program, we consider this a victory as well for Stéphane’s translator, Pablo Strauss, and for translated literature as a whole. Translations are often treated as secondary in awards recognition, but should of course be valued as the complex works of art that they are. This is the first time that a translation has won this major English prize—indeed, it may be the first time in Canada that a work of translation has won any major English-language prize—and we’re especially proud that it will introduce this important piece of Québécois literature to a wider audience.”

Since its establishment in 1976, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award has launched the careers of some of Canada’s most beloved novelists, including Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W. P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels, André Alexis, Michael Redhill, Mary Lawson, Colin McAdam, Joan Thomas, and David Bezmozgis.

The Dishwasher was selected from a shortlist which included The Western Alienation Merit Badge by Nancy Jo Cullen, Going Dutch by James Gregor, Mooncalves by Victoria Hetherington, Aria by Nazanine Hozar, and When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald. Each finalist will receive $6,000.

This year’s jury consisted of Liz Harmer, Shani Mootoo, and Anakana Schofield.

On the judging process, Anakana Schofield said, “We agreed, we disagreed, we discussed, we compromised as all jurors must. I was looking for a lively and disciplined relationship with language, probing ideas, and significant promise. I was delighted to also discover invention, formal ambition, and an unusually uplifting appetite for the ludic in some of the works. Our shortlist offers a literary spectrum that samples the prodigious in scale to the quiet and dire ordinary, which is quite the achievement for first novelists.”

The Dishwasher was also nominated for CBC’s Canada Reads earlier this year. The New York Times Book Review called it “Vivid and moving.”

Author Stéphane Larue was born in Longueuil in 1983. He received a master’s in comparative literature at L’Université de Montréal and has worked in the restaurant industry for the past fifteen years. He lives in Montréal.

Translator Pablo Strauss Pablo Strauss grew up in British Columbia and has lived in Quebec City for over a decade. His translations of Quebec fiction include Daniel Grenier’s The Longest Year (a finalist for the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation), and Maxime Raymond Bock’s Baloney (Coach House Books, 2016) and Atavisms (Dalkey Archive Press, 2015). He has also published shorter translations and reviews in Granta, Geist, and The Montreal Review of Books. Pablo has worked as a dishwasher in nine restaurants in three cities.

It’s October in Montreal, 2002, and winter is coming on fast. Past due on his first freelance gig and ensnared in lies to his family and friends, a graphic design student with a gambling addiction goes after the first job that promises a paycheck: dishwasher at the sophisticated La Trattoria. Though he feels out of place in the posh dining room, warned by the manager not to enter through the front and coolly assessed by the waitstaff in their tailored shirts, nothing could have prepared him for the tension and noise of the kitchen, or the dishpit’s clamor and steam. Thrust on his first night into a roiling cast of characters all moving with the whirlwind speed of the evening rush, it’s not long before he finds himself in over his head once again. A vivid, magnificent debut, with a soundtrack by Iron Maiden, The Dishwasher plunges us into a world in which everyone depends on each other—for better and for worse.


Get your copy of The Dishwasher now!

The Last Goldfish Virtual Launch

Did you miss last night’s virtual launch of Anita Lahey’s new memoir The Last Goldfish? Never fear! You can watch it here!

Anita was joined by Carmine Starnino, Molly Peacock, and Monique Holmes.

Get your copy of The Last Goldfish here.


Twenty-five years ago and counting, Louisa, my true, essential, always-there-for-everything friend, died. We were 22.

When Anita Lahey opens her binder in grade nine French and gasps over an unsigned form, the girl with the burst of red hair in front of her whispers, Forge it! Thus begins an intense, joyful friendship, one of those powerful bonds forged in youth that shapes a person’s identity and changes the course of a life.

Anita and Louisa navigate the wilds of 1980s suburban adolescence against the backdrop of dramatic world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. They make carpe diem their manifesto and hatch ambitious plans. But when Louisa’s life takes a shocking turn, into hospital wards, medical tests, and treatments, a new possibility confronts them, one that alters, with devastating finality, the prospect of the future for them both.

Equal parts humorous and heartbreaking, The Last Goldfish is a poignant memoir of youth, friendship, and the impermanence of life.

We’re hiring! Now accepting applications for a full-time Publicity and Digital Marketing intern

Publicity and Digital Marketing Intern

Biblioasis is an award-winning independent publishing house based in Windsor, Ontario. We publish approximately 25 titles a year, including short fiction, novels, poetry, literary criticism, memoir, belle lettres, local and regional history, and general nonfiction. We are also the publishers of the critical journal CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries and the annual Best Canadian anthologies, and operate an independent bookstore in Windsor’s historic Walkerville.

We are seeking a full-time publicity and digital marketing intern to join our Windsor office. This is a paid 12-month position primarily entailing the promotion of titles to media, planning and logistics of virtual events, and assisting marketing staff with metadata, digital sales materials and bookseller outreach.

Major Responsibilities:

  • assist with national and international publicity strategies for 16-20 books annually, including electronic pitches, digital review copy management and print review copy mailings, and related follow-up
  • build and manage relations with key media throughout North America
  • write and update press releases and pitches
  • organize and secure media coverage for virtual events, including author appearances at launches, readings, and virtual festivals, as well as in-person events and trade shows as public health recommendations allow
  • assist in designing promotional material such as digital graphics, postcards, bookmarks, posters and advertisements
  • oversee media and product updates on the press’s website and assist with the creation and management of metadata
  • work in collaboration with sales representatives in both Canada and the United States so they are informed and enthusiastic about Biblioasis titles.
  • interact with authors to strategize publicity opportunities and to execute promotional and publicity events.
  • field author queries and help manage author relations, including travel arrangements where public health recommendations allow
  • other duties as assigned

Knowledge, skills, and abilities required:

  • individuals must be extremely organized, detail-oriented, and self-motivated
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • must have a high degree of creativity and the ability to think strategically
  • must be willing to work occasional evenings and weekends
  • computer skills include: Word and Excel experience required. Experience with Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat an asset.

Education and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, English, art history, or related field
  • experience in the book publishing industry would be considered an asset
  • previous publicity or marketing experience would be an asset
  • courses or certificate in a publishing program an asset

To apply, email resume and cover letter to Dan Wells at by June 19, 2020.


Menno Moto Virtual Launch

Did you miss last night’s virtual launch of Menno Moto: A Journey Across the Americas in Search of My Mennonite Identity? Watch it here! Cameron Dueck talks with Dora Dueck and answers questions from viewers at home.

Buy Menno Moto here.

Mark Bourrie & Margaret Atwood: In Conversation

Did you miss today’s Facebook livestream conversation between Mark Bourrie and Margaret Atwood? Watch it here!

Buy Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson here.

A Dramatic Reading from Aubrey McKee by Alex Pugsley

Today Alex Pugsley along with actors Fiona Highet, Karin Randoja, Matthew Edison, and Mary Lewis performed a section from Alex’s forthcoming novel, Aubrey McKee as a part of the National Arts Centre’s #CanadaPerforms initiative.

Did you miss it? Watch it here! And check out Aubrey McKee here.


April 1 Facebook Livestream – Dan Wells in Conversation with Andre Narbonne

Did you miss our Facebook livestream earlier this month? Watch below for a conversation on publishing and bookselling in the time of pandemic.

Covid-19 Biblioasis Talk

Biblioasis publisher and bookstore owner, Dan Wells, talks with Dr. Andre Narbonne about publishing and bookselling in the time of pandemic. Ask questions and join us for a chat as we try out a virtual event for the first time!

Posted by Biblioasis on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Bush Runner by Mark Bourrie Wins the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize

Today it was announced that Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson by Mark Bourrie won the final RBC Taylor Prize. To say we are ecstatic would be putting it mildly. We are so proud to be Mark’s publisher.

Noreen Taylor, prize founder and chair of the Charles Taylor Foundation, announced that Bush Runner won the $30,000 award during a gala luncheon celebrating this year’s finalists at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto.

Taylor stated, “Today we celebrated five of the most remarkable writers of our times and their compelling books – if there ever was a shortlist that defined every goal we had for the RBC Taylor Prize, this is it. Congratulations to the jury for their wisdom and above all heartiest congratulations to Mark Bourrie for his fascinating treatment of this compelling story.”

Vijay Parmar, president of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel, added: “I am delighted to congratulate Mark Bourrie for winning the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize Award. This is an outstanding achievement and contribution to Canadian literature. RBC Wealth Management through the RBC Emerging Artists Project is very proud to have partnered with the Charles Taylor Foundation and played a part in elevating and advancing the profile of our country’s non-fiction writers both at home and around the world.”

When accepting his award, Bourrie stated, “For a long time I wondered if anybody cared about what I wrote. People do.”

In their citation, the jury stated, “Readers of Mark Bourrie’s Bush Runner might well wonder if Jonathan Swift at his edgiest has been at work. This over-the-top narrative connects Canadian fur traders with three European royal courts, mixes in Indigenous political intrigues and family alliances among the Five Nations and French settlers, and adds Jesuits, cannibalism, and the Great Fire of London. To top it off, there’s the impact of the beaver hat and the buffalo on the entire Western world! In Bourrie’s telling, the picaresque Pierre Radisson, a humane con artist of heroic stamina and fluid loyalties, was the fulcrum of four centuries of Canadian centrality in the forging of modern Western civilizations. Who knew?”

Bush Runner is a national bestseller and was listed as one of “The Globe 100: Books that shaped 2019” by The Globe and Mail. It tells the untold adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson, largely known as one of the co-founders of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which is celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2020. Mark recently appeared on CBC’s As It Happens to talk about Bush Runner.

The jurors for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize are Margaret Atwood, Coral Ann Howells, and Peter Theroux. They considered a record 155 books that were submitted for this year’s prize.

The RBC Taylor Prize commemorates Charles Taylor’s pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction. The Prize is awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception. The Prize consists of $25,000 for the winner and $5,000 for each of the runners up as well as promotional support to help all shortlisted books stand out in the national media, bookstores, and libraries.

Known to some as the first European to explore the upper Mississippi, and widely as the namesake of ships and hotel chains, Pierre-Esprit Radisson is perhaps best described, writes Mark Bourrie, as “an eager hustler with no known scruples.” Kidnapped by Mohawk warriors at the age of fifteen, Radisson assimilated and was adopted by a powerful family, only to escape to New York City after less than a year. After being recaptured, he defected from a raiding party to the Dutch and crossed the Atlantic to Holland—thus beginning a lifetime of seized opportunities and frustrated ambitions.

A guest among First Nations communities, French fur traders, and royal courts; witness to London’s Great Plague and Great Fire; and unwitting agent of the Jesuits’ corporate espionage, Radisson double-crossed the English, French, Dutch, and his adoptive Mohawk family alike, found himself marooned by pirates in Spain, and lived through shipwreck on the reefs of Venezuela. His most lasting venture as an Artic fur trader led to the founding of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which operates today, 350 years later, as North America’s oldest corporation.

Sourced from Radisson’s journals, which are the best first-hand accounts of 17th century Canada, Bush Runner tells the extraordinary true story of this protean 17th-century figure, a man more trading partner than colonizer, a peddler of goods and not worldview—and with it offers a fresh perspective on the world in which he lived.


Mark Bourrie holds a master’s in journalism, a doctorate in Canadian history, and a Juris Doctor degree. He is the author of thirteen previous books, among them the Macleans bestseller The Fog of War and Kill the Messengers: Stephen Harper’s Assault on Your Right to Know, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2015. He has been a staff reporter for the Hamilton Spectator, London Free Press and Toronto Sun, contributed more than a thousand articles to Globe and Mail and Toronto Star, and written for National Post, Ottawa Citizen, and other papers. The winner of a National Magazine Award in 1999 and several honorable mentions, Bourrie lectures in History at Carleton University and Canadian Studies at the University of Ottawa.