Congratulations to Catherine Hernandez, Ted Staunton and Josh Rosen, whose books have been longlisted for the 2021 Toronto Book Awards! Established in 1974 by the Toronto City Council, the Awards honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. The shortlist will be announced in August.


From the beloved author of Scarborough, comes a dystopian novel set in a frighteningly familiar near future. With massive floods leading to rampant homelessness and devastation, a government-sanctioned regime called the Boots seizes on its power to force communities of colour, the disabled, and the LGBTQ2S into labour camps in Toronto. In the shadows, a hero emerges. After his livelihood and the love of his life are taken away from him, Kay joins the Resistance, alongside Bahadur, a transmasculine refugee and Firuzeh, a headstrong social worker. Guiding them in the ways of combat is Beck, a rogue army offer, who helps them plan an uprising. A cautionary tale filled with fierce and vibrant characters, Crosshairs explores the universal desire to love and be loved as your true self.

Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer woman of colour, a radical mother, a theatre practitioner, an award-winning author and the artistic director of b current performing arts. She is of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese and Indian heritage, and she is married into the Navajo Nation. Her novel Scarborough, which is soon to be a motion picture, won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript; was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award, the Evergreen Forest of Reading Award, the Edmund White Award and the Trillium Book Award; and was longlisted for Canada Reads. She has also written the plays Singkil and Kilt Pins, as well as the children’s book M Is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book. Crosshairs is her second novel. She lives in Toronto. Catherine is represented by Marilyn Biderman.


It’s Toronto in the 1930s. The city is small, often xenophobic, and the summer is stiflingly hot. Everyone flocks to the lakeshore. In one area of the beach, a neighbourhood protective association has formed to keep out “undesirables,” and members patrol wearing silver swastika pins. Meanwhile, the police chief believes the immigrant Jewish community is at the root of a communist threat, as the world witnesses an alarming rise of anti-Semitism overseas.

Sid and his Pop live at the edge of the Ward, Toronto’s immigrant slum, where they have rented a room from the Vendetellis since Sid’s mom and baby sister died from influenza. Times are tough, and Sid faces impossible choices as he wrestles with honesty, bigotry, poverty, and expectations as a member of a “whiz mob,” slang for a gang of pickpockets.

But when Sid and his friends get coerced into working for the police after they’re caught lifting a wallet at a baseball game, they become caught up in something much bigger than themselves, and must decide how far they will go to do what’s right and to protect those they love. The story climaxes at the infamous Christie Pits Riot, Canada’s largest race riot and a historic event that was a symbolic victory for Jewish and immigrant citizens.

Ted Staunton is the award-winning author of over forty books for young people, including What Blows Up in The Almost Epic Squad series, Bounced, the picture book Friends for Real, illustrated by Ruth Ohi, and the co-author of the non-fiction title It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . : Canadian Feats, Facts and Flubs, with his son, Will. A busy and popular presenter at schools across Canada, Ted also teaches writing at George Brown College in Toronto, and is a roots/blues musician in whatever time is left over. Ted is represented by Amy Tompkins.

Josh Rosen is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives in Toronto. When he’s not making comics he works in children’s arts education, helping students over a wide range of ages find their own creative voices. Josh was represented by Amy Tompkins for The Good Fight.

Please follow the link to see the full list of honorees: