Brian Francis

Francis speaking at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto in 2019 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. It finished the competition as the runner-up, making the last vote against the eventual winner, Lawrence Hill's ''The Book of Negroes''.

Published in Canada by ECW Press and released on May 4, 2004, ''Fruit'' is the story of Peter Paddington, a teenager living in Sarnia. 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.

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."

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

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'' and ''The Georgia Straight''. The novel was short-listed for the Ontario Library Association's 2012 Evergreen Award and 2012 CBC Bookie Awards. ''Natural Order'' was designated a Top 40 selection for Canada Reads 2014.

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. In 2010, he served on the Dayne Ogilvie Prize jury, selecting Nancy Jo Cullen as that year's prize winner.

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

In March 2015, ''Quill & Quire'' magazine debuted Francis' advice column, "Ask the Agony Editor." 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.

In August 2018, Francis debuted a new performance piece, ''Box 4901'', as part of the Summerworks Lab Series. Directed and co-created 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". ''The Globe and Mail'' called the piece a "knockout," "fascinating," and "haunting."

In May 2019, Timeshare Performance announced ''Box 4901'' would be part of the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre 2019/2020 season, running from February 27 to March 8, 2020. ''Box 4901'' performed to sold-out audiences. called it a “profound must-see,” ''Mooney on Theatre'' called it “a lovely memoir that is absolutely worth seeing,” and ''NOW'' magazine said, “Francis’s writing has the sparkle of the best of David Sedaris, and his insights into his life are heartbreaking in their honesty.” ''Box 4901'' was nominated for three 2020 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble (Independent Theatre Division), Outstanding Lighting Design (Independent Theatre Division) and Outstanding Sound Design/Composition (Independent Theatre Division).

Francis' third novel, ''Break in Case of Emergency'', was published September 10, 2019 by HarperCollins Canada and marked his YA debut. The novel, about a 15-year-old girl and her estranged female impersonator father, deals with issues about teen mental health, suicide and sexual orientation. The novel was well received by critics with Apple Books calling it a "knockout," and ''The Globe and Mail'' saying it "packs a powerful punch." The novel was also chosen as a Best Book of 2019 by ''The Globe and Mail'', ''Quill and Quire'', Apple Books and CBC Books. The novel was published in the United States in February 2020 with Inkyard Press.

''Break in Case of Emergency'' was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards in the category of Young People's Literature - Text. The novel was also nominated for a 2021 Forest of Reading White Pine Award for fiction.

Francis, who is gay, has also worked for the Toronto publications ''Xtra!'' and ''NOW''. Provided by Wikipedia
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