We’ve got another three readings lined up for February and they promise to brighten up what some consider the dreariest month of the year. We have a collection of short stories that is hot hot hot, a Young Adult novel with important mental health themes and a bit of poetry and new fiction from one of Canada’s best essayists.

February 7: Jess Taylor joins us with her fantastic collection of stories, Just Pervs from Book*hug Press. This book was the highlight of my summer reads and I can’t wait to sit with Jess to chat about her open and honest approach to relationships, sex and sexuality. A 2020 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Bisexual Fiction, I am so happy JUST PERVS will be shared with you all.

“Jess Taylor’s second short-story collection is a bold examination of the contemporary underbelly of women’s desires. The stories centre on nuances of longing that are much more interesting than those found in many mainstream narratives: the gross bits; fleeting, horrible Tinder-era flings; and even a refreshing take on queer polyamory (in “A Story About Our Friends Lana and Tia”). Taylor writes about women’s desires across life stages very well, particularly in “So Raw You Can’t Sit,” which follows a septuagenarian protagonist taking up with a new partner in the face of judgment and chronic pain.” Quill and Quire.

February 21: Brent van Staalduinen returns to Junction Reads with his debut YA novel, Nothing But Life, that has a traumatized protagonist at its centre. An award-winning writer, I cannot wait to sit and talk to Brent about his latest novel.

From Dundurn: “Dills and his mom have returned to Hamilton, her hometown, hoping to leave the horrors of Windsor behind. But it’s impossible to escape the echoes of tragedy, and trouble always follows trouble. When Dills hurts a new classmate, it comes out in court that he was in the Windsor High library when the shooter came in. But he won’t talk about what he saw, what he still sees whenever he closes his eyes. He can’t. He definitely can’t tell anyone that the Windsor Shooter is his stepfather, Jesse, that Jesse can speak into his mind from hundreds of kilometres away, and that Dills still loves him even though he committed an unspeakable crime.”

February 28: When I learned Alicia Elliott was working on some poetry while at the same time completing her first novel, I was so excited she agreed to come to Junction Reads to talk about writing in a genre so unlike her popular and inspiring essays.

If you haven’t read Mind Spread Out On The Ground, you should. It is a collection of personal and provocative essays, like no other. A #1 National Bestseller, Shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize and named one of the best books of 2019 by many newspapers and magazines, it is the best non-fiction book I have read.

I hope you can join us for any or all of our upcoming events. Check out the Junction Reads EventBrite page to RSVP to our February Fiction Events.