It’s fair to say that House of Anansi has always published great women writers, so when Joanna Walsh of the Guardian began her #readwomen2014 initiative we decided to do a Vida Count of our own. We were pleased and fascinated by what we discovered.

In 1967, our founding year, Anansi published Janis Rapoport’s debut poetry collection, Within the Whirling Moment, in the Young Poets series (YPS) and the young Margaret Atwood’s second collection, Circle Game, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, was published under the House of Anansi imprint (HAP 3).

This was an auspicious beginning to be sure, however, over the next twenty-two years Anansi published only twenty female authors. That’s not a high number, but in the ensuing twenty-five years, since 1987, the house has published more than seventy women writers — a 300% increase! We’re happy to report that women writers have very strong representation at Anansi, across all genres. Our women authors write about everything: health and wellness, science, history, astrology, memoir, poetry, and fiction.

We have decided to take up #readwomen2014 as our campaign slogan for the upcoming fall season largely because we have a plethora of fabulous women writers on our list and want the world to know about them. More importantly, we want everyone to read their books! So please take a look at what we have to offer you in the coming months. Enter our contest to win wonderful prizes. And please, please read and share these extraordinary writers! #readwomen2014

House of Anansi President and Publisher, Sarah MacLachlan


Enter to win!

Love is Flawed. Books are Perfect.

This Valentine’s Day, forget about wasting money on expensive chocolates, squeezing into starchy clothes, staining your teeth with red wine, leaning over a steak you don’t want, facing a person you’re not sure you even like — and all to avoid being alone on a holiday you don’t believe in anyway.

On this day that celebrates one of life’s greatest gifts, you deserve better. You’re the best kind of lover: a book lover. And this February we want you to fall into bed with a book that loves you back. Submit your stats to our gentle machine, and we’ll enter your name into a draw to win the most romantic weekend of your life.

Our big winner will:

  • keep ’em guessing. We will send a bouquet of your favourite flowers to your place of work for all your co-workers to see (with a card signed “Your secret admirer.” Natch.)
  • melt you into an absolute puddle thanks to a $100 gift certificate to WaySpa.com.
  • get set up with this good-looking bunch of eligible companions. (Everyone knows that passionate book lovers are polyamorous.)

All the Rage The Book for Dangerous Women Caught Hellgoing Liar 

But really, everyone wins.

Even if you don’t get the big prize, we do have a special gift just for you. Watch your inbox on Valentine’s Day to collect. (It’s really good. We promise.)


Enter through Facebook. You can enter once per day until February 10th. We’ll contact our winner on February 11th, and everyone who enters gets their special something on Valentine’s Day.

Enter the contest

THE DRAGON HEAD OF HONG KONG: The Ava Lee Prequel [guest post by Ian Hamilton]


“Every hero has an origin story — this is the one Ava Lee fans have been waiting for!”

— Robert J. Wiersema, author of Before I Wake

I’ve always had a story arc in my mind for Ava and Uncle, but it was one that moved their lives forward, never back. It was never part of my plan to write a prequel. Then in September 2012, at the Kitchener, Ontario literary event called Word on the Street, I was approached by a man who had read all the books in the series.

“Have you ever thought of writing a prequel?” he asked. “I’d love to know how Ava and Uncle first connected.”

“That’s a great idea,” I said.

Then I began to remember other readers at other events asking similar questions. The idea of a prequel took root.

In the winter of 2012–2013, as I was finishing the edits to The Scottish Banker of Surabaya and writing The Two Sisters of Borneo, I found myself distracted by thoughts about Ava’s early life. She was in her mid-twenties, just out of school, living in a tiny apartment in Richmond Hill, and struggling to establish her career. Then dialogue began to pop into my head as I was driving or lying in bed. Uncle and Ava were speaking to each other for the very first time. It was their initial meeting and conversation, and they were feeling each other out, tip-toeing towards the formation of a partnership.

Continue reading

Holiday Sale On Now!

Alright. We know Black Friday is coming. All you eager folks trying to get your holiday shopping done early are going to race to the mall, line up, fight through the crowds and come home with flat screen TVs and the like. Well, that doesn’t sound very fun to us at all.

That’s why we started our holiday sale early this year, to help you out! All you have to do is head to our website and enjoy 30% off all books. Fill up your shopping cart, leave a message in the “notes” field if you’d like free gift wrapping, and rest easy knowing your work is done. Folks in Canada, you’ll also enjoy free shipping for orders $35 or more.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

For Dad:

Doppler, the enchanting, subversive, and very unusual story about one man and his moose.

For Mom:

Inside, the Scotiabank Giller Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize nominated book about entwined lives and a woman with an unsettling ability to broach the innermost dynamics of the people around her.

For Grandpa:

Tecumseh and Brock, a powerful and compelling new work on the War of 1812, from bestselling author, historian, political scientist, and scholar James Laxer.

For Grandma:

The Secret of the Crown, a fascinating account of Canada’s ongoing affair with royalty, set against the backdrop of an historic wedding and a Diamond Jubilee year.

Stay tuned for more gift recommendations as the holiday season approaches!

Win the Ava Lee series! Spot our ads on the TTC and the SkyTrain

Dear reader,

If you’re a regular rider of the subway in Toronto or SkyTrain in Vancouver, we have a job for you! We’re running ads for The Wild Beasts of Wuhan, the latest book in Ian Hamilton’s awesome Ava Lee crime fiction series, and we want to give a sharp-eyed winner a set of the three Ava Lee books so far. All you have to do is snap a pic of one of the ads (see below for a sneak peek at how they look) and let us know: tweet it at us (#AvaLee); post it on our Facebook page; or email it to us! Once you’ve done that you’re automatically entered to win.*

*Contest closes April 16, 2012. Canadian residents only please, excluding Quebec.

Photo taken this morning on the TTC by our Marketing Manager, Fred Horler:

Books for Pride weekend for under $5!

This weekend marks our annual Pride parade here in Toronto — time to let loose, party hard, and coat yourself in glitter. To help you celebrate we’re offering two of our favourite books with LGBTQ themes at a steep discount — some reading material for that recovery time you’ll need on the couch during your post-parade fun hangover.

Holding Still for as Long as Possible
by Zoe Whittall

Winner of the 2011 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction, Holding Still for as Long as Possible offers a dazzling portrait of the post-9/11 generation as Billy, Josh, and Amy wrestle with their tangled love lives in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. This extraordinary novel from one of Canada’s finest young writers is “unputdownable,” says the Globe and Mail.

In honour of Pride Week, get the Holding Still eBook from Kobo and the Apple iBookstore for only $4.99!

The Water Rat of Wanchai
An Ava Lee Novel by Ian Hamilton

In the first book in this hit crime fiction series from Ian Hamilton, butt-kicking lesbian heroine Ava Lee is a forensic account on the hunt for a missing $5 million. Ava’s journey takes her from Toronto to Seattle to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Guyana, and the British Virgin Islands, where along the way she uncovers the dark machinations of the global shadow economy.

In honour of Pride Week, get the Water Rat of Wanchai eBook from Kobo and the Apple iBookstore for only $0.99!

Not a fan of eBooks? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered — head to our website to buy Holding Still for as Long as Possible and get The Water Rat of Wanchai for 50% off as part of our Beach Blanket BOGO sale!


FEBRUARY paperback advertised in Saturday’s Globe and Mail

And it’s just too pretty not to share.

Mad props to our fantastic designer, Alysia, for creating this beautiful ad!

More about Lisa Moore’s February on our website.