Skip to main content

CIBD 2024 Author Love Notes

Indie bookstores and Canadian creators have a special relationship. Local booksellers are steadfast champions of local authors, helping readers discover new favourites from within their communities and across Canada.

In the lead up to CIBD 2024, we invited authors to share their appreciation for Canadian indies.

Check out what they had to say below!

“Bookstores are our cultural lifeblood. They are neighbourhood anchors and community builders. I’m so grateful for booksellers and their generous support of my work. Writing is a fragile business, but when you get the thumbs up from a bookseller you know you’ve done something right.”
– Carleigh Baker, author of Last Woman

An image of Carleigh Baker alongside cover art for Last Woman

“I love all bookstores, but indies are something special. Whether it’s one of my local stores or I’m travelling and pop into a new one, they always feel unique and have such character. And the staff are so incredibly helpful. They really seem to know their stock and know which books to recommend. And for local authors, they are so supportive! Independent bookstores just make me smile.”
– Charlene Carr, author of We Rip the World Apart

An image of Charlene Carr alongside cover art for We Rip the World Apart

“One of the things I love best about indie bookstores is that they have such a strong sense of place. Both the shops themselves—how the books are displayed and the notes from staff members about the books they love best. And even the shelves, the colour of the wood, how a table is displayed. If you’ve read my books, you know I love setting. The setting of an independent bookstore is so romantic to me. And more than that, each bookstore reflects its community and what its readers are passionate about. You get a strong sense of place when you walk in the door and that is so magical.”
– Carley Fortune, author of This Summer Will Be Different

An image of Carley Fortune alongside cover art for This Summer Will Be Different

“What you might not know, as a consumer, is that most indie booksellers have a personal relationship with authors. They are usually organizing our book launches and author signings, which means they have their finger on the pulse of our careers. They know what is on the horizon, what we’re working on. That means you can pre-order with confidence because they know what is going on. That is why you make your indie bookseller your best friend!”
– Catherine Hernandez, author of Behind You

An image of Catherine Hernandez alongside cover art for Behind You

“Independent businesses are vital to the Canadian culture and there is nothing that showcases what a community values more than an independent bookstore. Going into an independent bookstore, you’ll see what the community is interested in, what they are excited about, what they are learning about, and… what they are all about!”
– Tasha Hilderman, author of Métis Like Me

An image of Tasha Hilderman alongside cover art for Métis Like Me

“Indie bookstores, purveyors of story, are also embedded in the story of my life. Mosaic Books in Kelowna sold me the first book I ever bought by myself, Calvin and Hobbes, and transmogrified my sense of humour. The Book Shop in Penticton and Spartacus Books in Vancouver were regular pilgrimages of my adolescence. The philosophy section of Munro’s in Victoria was my downtown meeting place in university, and Russell Books gave me my best-ever job when I graduated. Pages in Toronto broke my heart when it closed, and TYPE kept my faith in the city alive. A few weeks ago, my local store, Iron Dog Books, hosted the launch of my first novel. I saw my book for sale at Mosaic where it all began. Each era of my life is oriented around indie bookstores. They anchor our memories and our senses of self, just as they anchor our towns and our cities.”
– Scott Alexander Howard, author of The Other Valley

An image of Scott Alexander Howard alongside cover art for The Other Valley

“Tân’si Nitôtem’tik! Be sure to visit your favourite independent bookstore on Indie Bookstore Day! These establishments are pillars for our communities and enable us to diagnose the world we see before us and hold space for us to imagine worlds otherwise. If that doesn’t do it for you, then they most likely have free bookmarks, too! (I’m here for the new world, though).”
– Dallas Hunt, author of Teeth

An image of Dallas Hunt alongside cover art for Teeth

“Step into your neighbourhood bookstore and prepare to lose an hour. Smell the pages. Leaf through what catches your eye. Hey, look—something you’ve never heard of is interesting AND within your budget because it’s pre-loved! And cool, it’s by an author that lives down the street. Make sure you check out the events bulletin before you leave. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can even pet a cat on your way out.”
– Li Charmaine Anne, author of Crash Landing

An image of Li Charmaine Anne alongside cover art for Crash Landing

“Hey, you’re an indie bookshop. One of a few blissful things in this world: mangoes, people I love to spend the hours with, books especially from independent bookstores. On this last one, you can leave me anywhere nearby. And the one or two people to greet, the someone who will hold on to all my booktalk like pillars. And you who aren’t me? They’ll know what you love if you’re a regular; and if you’re not, they’ll quickly get to know how to dispense ISBNs just for you, like the great book dealers they are. Come with me now.”
– Canisia Lubrin, author of Code Noir

An image of Canisia Lubrin alongside cover art for Code Noir

“As a horror fan, my literary tastes are a bit eclectic. Thankfully, my favourite bookstores—McNally Robinson in Saskatoon and Little Ghosts in Toronto—have an amazing selection of horror and genre fiction, along with staff that care deeply about books and supporting both readers and writers. Indie bookstores are not just oases for literary types; through their support, they encourage us writers to experiment with our creations. They let us know there is room for us all.”
– Adam Pottle, author of The Black Drum

An image of Adam Pottle alongside cover art for The Black Drum

“I grew up in a small town in Saudi Arabia with little access to most forms of entertainment and I spent a lot of my time reading. We didn’t have any public libraries, just one at school (that was really a shelf of books I had read and reread several times over). But there were a few incredible people who lent me books from their curated personal collection, talked to me about how they encountered them, and made sure I always had enough to read. This is what the indie bookstore feels like to me. Having access to the best books, being able to talk to someone who is exposed to all kinds of literature is a gift that I don’t take lightly. The indie bookstore makes me feel less alone, which is always a good thing.”
– Deepa Rajagopalan, author of Peacocks of Instagram

An image of Deepa Rajagopalan alongside cover art for Peacocks of Instagram

“The meaningful and important work indie booksellers and bookstores do by championing underrepresented authors to readers is a precious gift. I’m forever grateful for everyone who helps a reader find themselves reflected in a book, because I know how important it is to feel seen, loved, and celebrated. Also, a special shout out to Books & Company (Picton, ON), Mabel’s Fables (Toronto, ON), and Novel Idea (Kingston, ON). Scritch all the bookstore kitties for me!”
– Ronnie Riley, author of Asking for a Friend

An image of Ronnie Riley alongside cover art for Asking for a Friend

“I have always gravitated towards independent bookstores. When I arrived in Kingston, I took a stroll downtown and walked into Novel Idea Bookstore, and I really haven’t left. Not only do I drop in when I can to see what’s new, but I go to readings there and I have even launched my own books there. Novel Idea was central to my introduction to Kingston, and I’ve met a lot of other writers and book lovers in the store. Indie bookstores create community.”
– Armand Garnet Ruffo, author of The Dialogues: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow

An image of Armand Garnet Ruffo alongside cover art for The Dialogues: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow

“An independent bookstore is a place of intersections—a place to meet ideas. Bringing ideas to an open forum where they can be read, discussed, and critiqued makes a better community overall. As an Anishinaabe person, it reminds me of an ishkode. This is the word we use to describe fire. A fire is the heart of the community, the beating place in your body that brings forth the life, emotions, spirit, laughter. And that is what an independent bookstore does. An independent bookstore is the centrepiece in your community. Engage with it and make sure it is always known that it is an important part of your life.”
– Niigaan Sinclair, author of Wînipêk: Visions of Canada from an Indigenous Centre

An image of Niigaan Sinclair alongside cover art for Wînipêk: Visions of Canada from an Indigenous Centre

Responses have been edited slightly for length and clarity. Some have also been transcribe from video and audio clips.

Thank you to all those who submitted!