2022 FOLD Challenge - March - The FOLD

2022 FOLD Challenge — March

A fabulist novel by a disabled author

By Alex Platt

In many ways, fabulism is a catch-all term for many of the genres readers may be more familiar with: magic realism, fantasy, sci fi, mystery, horror and speculative fiction. But fabulist stories weave between and across genres, blurring categorical attempts to pin them down. This is why they are so often hard to describe or classify. Another description for a fabulist writer is someone who writes fables, and for this month’s challenge, the FOLD has chosen four titles by disabled authors that have a fable-like (and at times allegorical) quality to them.
Now in year three of a global pandemic, fabulism has particular resonance—the fantastical appearing to break up our quotidian reality? Yes, please. But more than that, these books offer us ways to reimagine taken-for-granted concepts— time and memory, trauma and worldbuilding, knowledge and power, love and the relations between human and non-human—through a disabled and chronically ill lens.
If you’re looking for something weird and wonderful to add to your bookshelves, look no further.
The cover for THE BOI OF FEATHER AND STEEL, by Adan Jerreat-Poole, showing purple flowers against a black background.
The Boi of Feather and Steel, by Adan Jerreat-Poole (Available on Audible Canada)

The thrilling sequel to the queer witchy fantasy The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass.

After stealing the Heart of a magical world with the help of a supernatural assassin, Tav discovers that they can’t just see magic — they know how to use it. Returning to the human City of Ghosts, Tav, Eli, and Cam race to heal the wounds in the veil between worlds before the Earth’s lifeforce is drained by the tyrannical Witch Lord … and Eli’s new Heart-infused body falls apart.

Meanwhile, in the City of Eyes, Kite has joined forces with the bloodthirsty childwitch Clytemnestra, and together they are raising an army to overthrow the world-eating Coven. With blood and magic spilled on both sides, who will survive?

Adan Jerreat-Poole is a reader and writer who loves all things fantasy and feminist. They study disability and queerness in popular culture. Adan lives in Kingston, Ontario
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The cover for the novel WHAT WILLOW SAYS, by Lynn Buckle
What Willow Says, by Lynn Buckle

Winner of the 2021 Barbellion Prize. Sharing stories of myths, legends and ancient bogs, a deaf child and her grandmother experiment with the lyrical beauty of sign language. Learning to communicate through their shared love of trees they find solace in the shapes and susurrations of leaves in the wind. A poignant tale of family bonding and the quiet acceptance of change.

Lynn Buckle was born in the UK and after much travel has spent the last thirty years in Ireland.


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The cover photo for the novel SORROWLAND, by Rivers Solomon
Sorrowland, by Rivers Solomon (Available on Audible Canada)

In this genre-bending work of gothic fiction, Vern―seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised―flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world. But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future―outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations.

Rivers Solomon writes about life in the margins, where they are much at home. A refugee of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, Solomon was born on Turtle Island but currently resides on an isle in an archipelago off the western coast of the Eurasian continent. Their previous novels include An Unkindness of Ghosts (recipient of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’ Firecracker Award in Fiction) and The Deep (winner of the Lambda Literary Award).

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the cover for Susanna Clarke's novel, PIRANESI
Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke (Available on Audible Canada)

Winner of the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

Susanna Clarke is an English author whose previous books include the Hugo-award winning, epic New York Times Bestseller and basis for the BBC miniseries, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories.


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