“….With its fluid structure and timelines, Jonny Appleseed creates a dream-like reading experience—and with a narrator as wise, funny and loveable as Jonny, it’s the sort of dream you don’t want to wake up from.” –The Globe and Mail
“If we’re lucky, we’ll find one or two books in a lifetime that change the language of story, that manage to illuminate new curves in the flat vessels of old letters and words. This is one of those books.” –Cherie Dimaline, author of The Marrow Thieves
“Jonny Appleseed is a miraculous achievement of a debut novel.” –Canadian Art
“You’re gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine” is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling novel. Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the “rez,” and his former life, to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The next seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny’s life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages—and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.
Joshua Whitehead (Oji-Nêhiyaw) is a Two-Spirit storyteller and academic from Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is currently a PhD candidate, lecturer, and Killam scholar at the University of Calgary where he studies Indigenous literatures and cultures with a focus on gender and sexuality. His dissertation, tentatively titled “Feral Fatalisms,” is a hybrid narrative of theory, essay, and nonfiction that interrogates the role of “ferality” inherent within Indigenous ways of being (with a strong focus on Nêhiyawewin). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks 2017), which was shortlisted for the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp Press 2018), which was longlisted for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction and the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. Whitehead is currently working on a third manuscript titled Making Love with the Land, to be published with Knopf Canada, which explores the intersections of Indigeneity, queerness, and, most prominently, mental health through a Nêhiyaw lens. Whitehead is the editor for Love After the End: Two-Spirit Utopias and Dystopias. His work can be found in venues such as Prairie Fire, CV2, EVENT, Arc Poetry Magazine, The Fiddlehead, Grain, CNQ, Write, and Red Rising Magazine.