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2021 Event:
Joshua Whitehead
Jonny AppleseedJonny Appleseed is a tour-de-force about a Two-Spirit Indigiqueer young man and proud NDN glitter princess who must reckon with his past when he returns home to his reserve. Jonny’s life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages, and the seven days leading to his return are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum.

STARFest facts

Joshua Whitehead is a Two-Spirit, Oji-nêhiyawmember of Peguis First Nation. His poetry book, full-metal indigiqueer, was shortlisted for the inaugural Indigenous Voices Award and the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry. His novel Jonny Appleseed was longlisted for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for numerous prizes including the Indigenous Voices Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award, and won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction and the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. Whitehead is a Ph.D. candidate, lecturer, and Killam scholar at the University of Calgary where he studies Indigenous literatures and cultures with a focus on gender and sexuality.

Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams. Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the “rez” to attend the funeral of his stepfather. As he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life.

Emily Riddle is nehiyaw and a member of the Alexander First Nation in Treaty 6. She lives in amiskwaciwâskahikan. Emily was shortlisted for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize and selected for the 2021 Writers’ Trust of Canada mentorship program. Her work has been published in The Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue, Canadian Art, The Malahat Review, among others. She is currently the Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations for Edmonton Public Library.