Brian Francis

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Brian Francis
Notable worksFruit, Natural Order

Brian Francis (born 1971) is a Canadian writer. His 2004 novel Fruit was selected for inclusion in the 2009 edition of Canada Reads, where it was championed by novelist and CBC Radio One personality Jen Sookfong Lee,[1] it finished the competition as the runner-up, making the last vote against the eventual winner, Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes.[2]

Published in Canada by ECW Press and released on May 4, 2004, Fruit is the story of Peter Paddington, a teenager living in Sarnia.[3] Overweight, gay and a social outsider, Paddington regularly retreats into an active fantasy life which includes his own nipples talking to him, and the novel traces his journey toward self-acceptance.[3]

The novel was published in paperback format in the United States by Harper Perennial on August 2, 2005 under the title The Secret Fruit of Peter Paddington. In 2014, Amazon included the novel on its list of "100 Canadian Books to Read in a Lifetime."[4]

Fruit was well received by critics, with Entertainment Weekly referring to it as "sweet, tart, and forbidden in all the right places."[5]

Francis' second novel, Natural Order, published by Doubleday Canada, was released on August 23, 2011; the novel tells the story of a mother coming to terms with the death of her adult son.

Natural Order was positively reviewed by critics and made Best Books of 2011 lists for the Toronto Star[6] and The Georgia Straight;[7] the novel was short-listed for the Ontario Library Association's 2012 Evergreen Award and 2012 CBC Bookie Awards.[8] Natural Order was designated a Top 40 selection for Canada Reads 2014.[9]

He was awarded an Honour of Distinction citation by the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize, a literary award for emerging LGBT writers in Canada, in 2008.[10] In 2010, he served on the Dayne Ogilvie Prize jury, selecting Nancy Jo Cullen as that year's prize winner.[11]

In 2011, Francis created Caker Cooking, a weekly humour blog featuring "the best of the worst of mangiacake cuisine."[12]

In March 2015, Quill & Quire magazine debuted Francis' advice column, "Ask the Agony Editor."[13] The monthly humour column fields questions from readers about publishing and writing.

In its Summer 2018 issue, Taddle Creek magazine debuted a new humour food column by Francis that features retro and vintage recipes from Francis's collection of community cookbooks.[14]

In August 2018, Francis debuted a new performance piece, Box 4901, as part of the Summerworks Lab Series.[15] Directed by Rob Kempson, featuring a cast of 13 actors and performed in part by Francis himself, Box 4901 recounts Francis's attempt at finding love via a personals ad he placed in 1992. NOW magazine gave the piece 5 Ns and said it was full of "wisdom, humour and heartbreaking honesty".[16] The Globe and Mail called the piece a "knockout," "fascinating," and "haunting."[17]

In December 2018, HarperCollins Canada announced it would be publishing Francis's young adult debut in September 2019. Break in Case of Emergency tells the story of a 15-year-old girl and her estranged female impersonator father.[18]

Francis, who is gay,[19] has also worked for the Toronto publications Xtra! and NOW.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Canada Reads goes queer". NOW, November 27, 2008.
  2. ^ "Lawrence Hill's 'The Book of Negroes' wins Canada Reads". The Guardian, March 7, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Fruit: A Novel About a Boy and His Nipples". Quill & Quire, May 2004.
  4. ^ "100 Canadian Books to Read in a Lifetime", Amazon
  5. ^ "Review", Entertainment Weekly, August 20, 2004.
  6. ^ "Our reviewers’ Top 100 books of 2011. What’s yours?" Toronto Star, December 2, 2011.
  7. ^ "Critics make year-end book picks". The Georgia Straight, December 14, 2011.
  8. ^ "The second annual CBC Bookie Awards!". CBC Arts, March 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "Canada Reads Top 40: Explore the books". Canada Reads, October 24, 2013.
  10. ^ "Zoe Whittall wins Dayne Ogilvie Grant". Quill & Quire, June 17, 2008.
  11. ^ "Writer Nancy Jo Cullen is a rising talent", Xtra!, September 9, 2010.
  12. ^ "Tater tots, Tang, and potato chip casserole: Brian Francis, Caker Cooking", CBC, December 13, 2013.
  13. ^ "Ask the agony editor: firing publicists and book launch drinking", Quill & Quire, February 17, 2015.
  14. ^ Francis, Brian (Summer 2018). "Devilishly Elegant". Taddle Creek. Toronto. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  15. ^ "Box 4901". SummerWorks. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  16. ^ Sumi, Glenn (13 August 2018). "SummerWorks review: Box 4901". NOW. Toronto. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  17. ^ Schabas, Martha (23 August 2018). "Review: Vivid examples from real life spill into art at the Summerworks Performance Festival". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  18. ^ "HarperCollins Acquires Brian Francis's YA Debut, Break in Case of Emergency" (Press release). Toronto. HarperCollins Canada. 4 December 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  19. ^ "Pulpy, fleshy difference" Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine, Xtra!, July 22, 2004.

External links[edit]