"During my first post-lockdown massage, I willingly engaged in the requisite chit chat about lockdown experiences with my therapist. He gushed behind his mask: ‘Oh man. It was so great. Every day I woke up, drank coffee, read, rode my bike…’ My therapist’s description did sound pretty great. But it was nothing like my own anxiety-ridden ordeal… Had I done the lockdown wrong?”
In Next Time There’s a Pandemic, artist Vivek Shraya reflects on how she might have approached 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic differently, and how challenging and changing pervasive expressions, attitudes, and behaviours might transform our experiences of life in—and after—the pandemic. What might happen if, rather than urging one another to “stay safe,” we focused instead on being caring? What if, instead of striving to “make the best of it” by doing something, we sometimes chose to do nothing? With generosity, Shraya captures the dissonances of this moment, urging us to keep showing up for each other so we are better prepared for the next time...and for all times.
About the authors
Vivek Shraya is the author of the young-adult collection God Loves Hair, the novel She of the Mountains, the poetry book even this page is white, and the children's picture book (with Rajni Perera) The Boy & the Bindi (all published by Arsenal Pulp Press), as well as I'm Afraid of Men and What I Love About Being QUEER. She is editor of the Arsenal Pulp Press imprint VS. Books, dedicated to work by young black, Indigenous, and writers of colour. Vivek was the 2014 recipient of the Steinert & Ferreiro Award for leadership in Toronto's LGBTQ community, the recipient of Anokhi Media's inaugural Most Promising LGBTQ Community Crusader Award in 2015, a 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist, and a 2015 recipient of the Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize Honour of Distinction. Originally from Edmonton, she now lives in Calgary, where she is an assistant professor in the University of Calgary's Department of English.
J.R. Carpenter works across performance, print, and digital media. The Gathering Cloud won the New Media Writing Prize 2016. An Ocean of Static was highly commended by the Forward Prizes 2018 and was longlisted for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize. This is a Picture of Wind was one of The Guardian’s best poetry books of 2020. J.R. Carpenter was the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Alberta in 2020-21. She lives in Plymouth, UK.
"Vivek came out as transgender five years ago, and since then, has been a leading activist and changemaker in Canada and around the world, empowering others through her pop music, visual art, and award-winning books." Sean Loughran, Daily Hive, March 31, 2022
# 6 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, May 8, 2022
# 5 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, March 13, 2022
# 10 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, May 15, 2022
# 5 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, April 10, 2022
# 8 on Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers list, April 24, 2022