I’ve always enjoyed reading books set in Toronto, but the idea to seek them out methodically occurred to me later. And then it occurred to me that that’s exactly what The Toronto Book Award already does. So far, my list includes shortlisted and winning books for only the most recent years (only the winning books for awards 1987 and prior), but I hope to add the other short-listed titles before long.

✔Zalika Reid-Benta’s Frying Plantain
Desmond Cole’s The Skin We’re In
Katie Daubs’ The Missing Millionaire
Jean Marc Ah-Sen’s In the Beggarly Style of Imitation
Vivian Chong and Georgia Webber’s Dancing After Ten

Vivek Shraya’s Subtweet
Samra Habib’s We Have Always Been Here
Cloe Aigner’s Artistic Glass
Tessa McWatt’s Shame on Me
Joseph Kertes’s Last Impressions
Joshna Maharaj’s Take Back the Tray
Tanis MacDonald’s Mobile

✔Mike Barnes’ Letters to a Caregiver
✔Dionne Brand’s Theory
✔Cary Fagan’s The Student
✔Didier Leclair This Country of Mine
✔Ian Williams’ Reproduction

✔Dionne Brand’s (Ed.) The Unpublished City
✔David Chariandy’s Brother 
✔Carrianne Leung’s The Time I Loved You
✔Lee Maracle’s My Conversations with Canadians
✔Kerri Sakamoto’s Floating City

✔Jen Agg’s I Hear She’s A Real Bitch (Doubleday)
✔Catherine Hernandez’s Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp)
✔B. Denham Jolly’s In the Black: My Life (ECW Press) (W)
✔John Lorinc et al’s Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer (Coach House)
✔James Maskalyk’s Life on the Ground Floor (Doubleday)

✔Howard Akler’s Men of Action 
✔Ann Y.K. Choi’s Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety
✔Eds. John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg and Tatum Taylor The Ward: The Life and Loss of Toronto’s First Immigrant Neighbourhood
✔Cordelia Strube’s On the Shores of Darkness There Is Light (W)
✔Marnie Woodrow’s Heyday

✔André Alexis’ Fifteen Dogs
✔Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress
✔Kathryn Juitenbrouwer’s All the Broken Things
✔Bruce McDougall’s The Last Hockey Game
✔Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven

✔Anthony De Sa – Kicking the Sky 
✔Charlotte Gray – The Massey Murder: A Maid, her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country
✔Carrianne K.Y. Leung – The Wondrous Woo 
✔Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis – The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement
✔Shyam Selvadurai – The Hungry Ghosts

✔Kamal Al-Solaylee – Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes
✔Shawn Micallef – Full Frontal T.O. (Patrick Cummins, Photographer)
✔Kevin Irie – Viewing Tom Thomson, A Minority Report
✔Aga Maksimowska – Giant 
✔Katrina Onstad – Everybody Has Everything

✔David Bidini – Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, The Music, and the World in 1972
✔Andrew J. Borkowski – Copernicus Avenue
✔Farzana Doctor – Six Metres of Pavement
✔Michele Landsberg – Writing the Revolution
✔Suzanne Robertson – Paramita, Little Black 


In my stack: September 2011

✔Rabindranath Maharaj – The Amazing Absorbing Boy (W)
✔James FitzGerald – What Disturbs Our Blood
✔James King – Étienne’s Alphabet
✔Nicholas Ruddock – The Parabolist
✔Alissa York – Fauna

Seán Cullen – The Prince of Neither Here Nor There
Cary Fagan – Valentine’s Fall
Lauren Kirshner – Where We Have to Go
Mark Sinnett – The Carnivore (W)
Dragan Todorovic – Diary of Uninterrupted Days

Austin Clarke – More (W)
Anthony de Sa – Barnacle Love
Maggie Helwig – Girls Fall Down
Mark Osbaldeston – Unbuilt Toronto
Charles Wilkins – In the Land of Long Fingernails

Elspeth Cameron – And Beauty Answered
David Chariandy – Soucouyant
Glen Downie’s – Loyalty Management (W)
Elyse Friedman – Long Story Short
Barbara Gowdy – Helpless

Sally Gibson – Inside Toronto: Urban Interiors
Geoffrey James – Toronto
Vincent Lam – Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Michael Redhill – Consolation (W)
Raymond Souster – Uptown Downtown

Howard Akler – The City Man
Dionne Brand – What We All Long For (W)
Stephen Marche – Raymond and Hannah
Jason McBride and Alana Wilcox, eds – uTOpia
M.G. Vassanji – When She Was Queen

Constance and Nancy L. Backhouse – The Heiress vs. The Establishment
David Bezmozgis – Natasha and Other Stories (W)
Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall – Down to This
Don Coles – Doctor Bloom’s Story
Russell Smith – Muriella Pent

Kevin Bazzana – Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould (W)
Tom Cruickshank – Old Toronto Houses
Kristen den Hartog – The Perpetual Ending
Kate Taylor – Mme. Proust and the Kosher Kitchen (W)
Karen X. Tulchinsky – The Five Books of Moses

Dionne Brand – thirsty
Joe Fiorito – The Song Beneath the Ice (W)
Eric McCormack – The Dutch Wife
Judith Merrill and Emily Pohl-Weary – Better to Have Loved
Makeda Silvera – The Heart Does Not Bend

Douglas Bell – Run Over: A Boy, His Mother and an Accident
Sarah Dearing – Courage My Love (W)
Jane Lind – Joyce Wieland: Artist on Fire
Erin Moure – Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person
Michael Redhill – Martin Sloane
Elizabeth Ruth – Ten Good Seconds of Silence

Margaret Atwood – The Blind Assassin
Catherine Bush – The Rules of Engagement
Jean Cochrane – Kensington
A.B. McKillop – The Spinster and The Prophet
Tessa McWatt – Dragons Cry

Jennifer Duncan – Sanctuary and Other Stories
Greg Gatenby – Toronto: A Literary Guide
Camilla Gibb – Mouthing the Words (W)
Heidenreich, Roots and Chant – Special Places: The Changing Ecosystems of the TO Region
Russell Smith – Young Men

Dennis Bock – Olympia
James Chatto – The Man Who Ate Toronto: Memoirs of a Restaurant Lover
Derek McCormack and Chris Chambers – Wild Mouse
Stuart McLean – Home from the Vinyl Cafe
Richard Outram – Benedict Abroad (W)

Carole Corbeil – In the Wings
Joanne Gerber – In the Misleading Absence of Light
Helen Humphreys -Leaving Earth (W)
Bruce McCall – Thin Ice
Barbara Nichol – Dippers
Antanas Sileika – Buying on Time

David Eddie – Chump Change
✔Kevin Irie – The Colour of Eden
Anne Michaels – Fugitive Pieces (W)
Kim Moritsugu – Looks Perfect
Richard Scrimger – Crosstown

Timothy Findley – The Piano Man’s Daughter
Robert Fulford – Accidental City
Wayne Grady – Toronto the Wild, Field Notes of an Urban Naturalist
Grey Kramer – The Pursemonger of Fugu
Rosemary Sullivan – Shadow Maker, The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwen (W)
Tim Wynne-Jones – The Maestro

Jack Batten – The Leafs: An Anecdotal History of the Toronto Maple Leafs
Cary Fagan – The Animals’ Waltz
Ezra Schabas – Sir Ernest MacMillan, The Importance of Being Canadian (W)
Eric Wright – Moodie’s Tale

Margaret Atwood – The Robber Bride
Nancy Baker – The Night Inside
Catherine Bush – Minus Time
Timothy Findley – Headhunter (W)
John Ibbotson – The Night Hazel Came to Town
William Kilbourn – Intimate Grandeur

Carole Corbeil – Voice-Over (W)
David Donnell – China Blues (W)
Paul Donovan – Paint Cans
Paul Kropp – Ellen/Elena/Luna
Don Ritchie – North Toronto

Allan Stratton – Bag Babies
Gregory Ward – The Carpet King
Kenneth Oppel and Regolo Ricci – Cosimo Cat
David Gilmour – How Boys See Girls
Katherine Govier – Hearts of Flame (W)
Marianne L. Zeitlin – Next of Kin
Margaret Atwood – Wilderness Tips

Cary Fagan – City Hall and Mrs. God
Cary Fagan & Robert MacDonald – Streets of Attitude: Toronto Stories (W)
Mary Jo Leddy – Say to the Darkness, We Beg to Differ
Claire MacKay and Johnny Wales – The Toronto Story
Jocko Thomas – From Police Headquarters
Morley Torgov – St. Farb’s Day
Dan Yashinsky – Tales for an Unknown City

John Ayre – Northrop Frye
Don Bailey – Memories of Margaret
Stuart McLean – The Morningside World of Stuart McLean
Marlene Nourbese Philip – Harriet’s Daughter
Jack Pollock – Dear M
Hilary Russell – Double Take, The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres (W)
Guy Vanderhaeghe – Homesick (W)

Margaret Atwood – Cat’s Eye (W)
Shirley Faessler – A Basket of Apples
Robert Fulford – Best Seat in the House
Alison Gordon – The Dead Pull Hitter
Michael Kluckner – Toronto the Way it Was
Rick Salutin – A Man of Little Faith
Paul Stuewe – The Storm Below: The Turbulent Life and Times of Hugh Garner

Joan Hollobon – The Lion’s Tale: A History of the Wellesley Hospital
Cyril H. Levitt and William Shaffir – The Riot at Christie Pits
Tom MacDonnell – Never Let Go: The Tragedy of Kristy McFarlane
Michael Ondaatje – In The Skin Of A Lion (W)
Anna Porter – Mortal Sins

1987 William Dendy and William Kilbourn – Toronto Observed (W)

1986 Morley Callaghan – Our Lady of the Snows (W)
✔Robertson Davies – What’s Bred in the Bone (W)

1985 Warabe Aska – Who Goes to the Park
AND J.M.S. Careless – Toronto To 1918
AND Joseph Skvorecky – The Engineer of Human Souls

1984 Edith G. Firth – Toronto in Art
AND Gerald Killan – David Boyle: From Artisan to Archaeologist
AND Eric Wright – The Night the Gods Smiled

1983 Michael Blis – The Discovery of Insulin
AND Lucy Booth Martyn – The Face of Early Toronto

1982 Claude Bissell – The Young Vincent Massey
AND Marian Engel – Lunatic Villas

1981 Timothy Colton – Big Daddy: Frederick G. Gardiner
AND Mary Larratt Smith – Young Mr. Smith in Upper Canada
AND ✔Helen Weinzweig – Basic Black with Pearls

1980 Raymond Souster – Hanging In
AND Stephen A. Speisman – The Jews of Toronto
AND Michael Bliss – A Canadian Millionaire
AND William Dendy – Lost Toronto
AND John Morgan Gray – Fun Tomorrow

1978 Christopher Armstrong – and H.V. Nelles – Revenge of the Methodist Bicycle Company|
AND ✔Timothy Findley – The Wars

1977 ✔Margaret Atwood – Lady Oracle
AND ✔Margaret Gibson – The Butterfly Ward

1976 Robert Harney – and Harold Troper – Immigrants: A Portrait
AND Hugh Hood – The Swing in the Garden

1975 Claude Bissell – Halfway Up Parnassus
AND The Labour History Collective – Women at Work
AND Loren Lind – The Learning Machine

1974 William Kurelek – O Toronto
AND Desmond Morton – Mayor Howland
AND Richard Wright – In the Middle of a Life