by Ian Williams
  • from-ontario
  • literary
  • upmarket

Told with the savvy of Zadie Smith, Reproduction is a tale of love among inherited and invented families.

Ian Williams’ rambunctious novel sweeps through a world of racial and religious mash-ups, cultural collisions, and cross-pollinations galore. Consider only three of them: Felicia, Army, and Riot. Felicia Shaw never planned on getting pregnant. But here she is, a young woman from a little-known Caribbean island who can’t be pregnant with Edgar Gross’s baby. Because he’s a married man. Because he’s a married German man who is more than twice her age and who doesn’t want any children. Also because he had a vasectomy. Then there is Army, her son. Turns out that Army has big plans for his life and a huge capacity for denial. He wants to earn 100K with his garage barbershop by the time he’s sixteen, and by twenty-one he plans to have a cool million. That is, if he can manage the upstairs landlord, Oliver, a needy, volatile, recently divorced man whose teenage daughter is now pregnant. Baby? What baby? And Riot — Oliver’s grandson, child of a child — all he wants to do is make art films. Who cares if he’s about to be kicked out of school for making porn?

Beginning in a palliative care ward and ending in a cancer ward, Reproduction is the twenty-first-century proof of John Lennon’s famous claim that “life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” It is the story of strangers from strange places who accidently become forever tangled.


Ian Williams, author

Ian Williams is the author of Personals, shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award; Not Anyone’s Anything, winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada; and You Know Who You Are, a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry. He was named one of ten Canadian writers to watch by CBC. Williams is currently assistant professor of poetry in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia. He completed his doctorate in English at the University of Toronto under George Elliott Clarke. In 2014-2015, he was the Canadian Writer-in-Residence for the University of Calgary's Distinguished Writers Program. He has held fellowships or residencies from Vermont Studio Center, the Banff Center, Cave Canem, and the National Humanities Center. Born in Trinidad, Williams grew up in Brampton, Ontario, and worked in Massachusetts and Toronto before moving to Vancouver.


  • The startling brilliance of Ian Williams stems from his restlessness with form. His ceaseless creativity in sussing out the right patterning of story, the right vernacular nuance, the right diagram and deftly dropped reference — all in service of vividly illuminating the intermingled comedy and trauma of family. - David Chariandy, author of Brother
  • "Reproduction"’s genius is its weaponized empathy, the precision-etched intensity of Williams’ gritty, witty, wholly unsentimental exploration of the collision of human hearts and the messy aftermath. Love, and its lack, form a spectrum that the characters bounce between, searching for connections, redemption and meaning. - Eden Robinson, author of Monkey Beach and Son of a Trickster

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: The Bukowski Agency



rights sold: Canada (Random House), World English Audio (Audible), US English Rights on Europa Editions

rights available: World, excl. Canada

Additional Information

number of pages: 464

publication date: 01/22/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript

Additional Materials: Page proofs available upon request

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