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Pride Month Reads in The New Quarterly

Copy of issue 166 of The New Quarterly (consisting of a black and white photo of an undisclosed outdoor location) against a brown wooden surface.

I’m delighted to share that The New Quarterly included my short story “Condolence” (published in the spring 2023 issue) in its Pride Month Reads online collection last month. Also included in this collection is “Homebodies,” a creative non-fiction essay by my partner, who writes under the name J.P. Letkemann.

In addition, the journal recently published a blog post I wrote as a contribution to its “writing spaces” series.

The Pride Month Reads collection will be freely available on the The New Quarterly’s website until August.

“Condolence” in The New Quarterly

Copy of issue 166 of The New Quarterly against a brown wooden surface. The cover consists of a black and white photo of the shadow of a person checking their phone in an undisclosed outdoor location. The photo appears below the following text against a blue background: "The New Quarterly / Canadian Writers & Writing / 166 / WHAT IS UNSAID: in which we search for the good in bad parenting, find connection at the expense of a barn owl, take a bus trip to learn the truth, watch the apocalypse from a condo / + shortlisted stories from our Peter Hinchliffe Fiction Contest / + new essays from Andrew Westoll and Susan Glickman / + new fiction from Emma Hooper."

He considered himself agnostic, which in his case meant he had zero interest in religion and figured that the realities of the afterlife should remain a fun surprise. Even so, he listened respectfully to the eulogy, opened his heart to the family tributes, went along with the kneeling and the sitting and the standing and the crossing, and responded to every part of the liturgy automatically in spite of the fact that he hadn’t set foot inside a church in years.

One of the highlights last week involved receiving a copy of the spring 2023 issue of The New Quarterly, which includes my short story “Condolence.”

This story, about two friends who carpool to the funeral for the father of their shared ex, has lived in my imagination for quite a number of years, so it’s quite a treat to see it in print, especially in the pages of a prestigious journal that is published here in Kitchener-Waterloo and that I’m so proud to be part of.

This issue will be out in stores soon and can be also be purchased from the journal’s website. For updates about this short story and about the rest of my work, please subscribe to my blog (which simply means you receive future blog posts over email) and follow me on Facebook and on Instagram!

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“When It’s Over” in Plenitude Magazine

Photo of a blurry figure entering an office in the middle of an otherwise empty hallway.
Photo by sittered (Flickr), licensed under CC BY 2.0.
“I’m thirty-one. I own two pairs of pants and I live in a dungeon. In so many ways I don’t feel like an adult.”

I have so much to be thankful for this weekend. By an odd coincidence, my first published short story, “When It’s Over,” appeared yesterday in Plenitude Magazine (an online literary journal showcasing the work of queer writers), just three days before the Canadian release of my first novel, In the Key of Dale, from Arsenal Pulp Press.

“When It’s Over” is about academia, although I hadn’t planned to write about academia when I began writing it. This story started as an exercise for the Story Course offered by the Sarah Selecky Writing School, which I undertook in the fall of 2020 and which I cannot recommend enough to anyone interested in jumpstarting their approach to creative writing. (It certainly did the trick for me!)

One exercise required us to write a scene that included one of two phrases—“What I’ve never understood is…” or “What I’ve always wanted to know is…”—and a later sentence that started with the word “Now” to mark a return to the story’s action. A few weeks later, after receiving great feedback by my fellow group members and by the group facilitator, I had the chance to expand that scene into a full story, uncovering the remaining elements as I wrote. Then, after the course ended, I revised and revised and revised and started sending it out, and eventually I received an acceptance from Plenitude!

I should mention, too, that while the story is about academia, it doesn’t reflect at all my own experience as a Ph.D. student. My doctoral supervisor was and remains an amazingly supportive person, and one I still feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with.

“When It’s Over” is one of several short stories I’ve been working on about queer characters facing the ends of relationships (professional and personal). Two more stories will appear in literary journals in the next few months and more are in progress, so stay tuned!