Jessica Westhead's follow-up to And Also Sharks, a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2011 and Finalist for the 2012 Danuta Gleed Literary Award.
Things Not to Do is a collection of stories that seeks to examine—through humour, wit, empathy, and honesty—the dark side of ordinary people. We know them; sometimes we are them. A man attends a gathering on the coattails of his new, zealously empowering friend. A woman helps her husband build an escape room to free him from working for a hated boss. A veteran wedding DJ imparts wisdom, and more besides, to a new recruit. The father of a teen pop sensation gathers with his fans in the wake of a controversy. The actions of these characters, for good or ill—and there is light in their lives, as often as there is dark—stem from the same place, and Westhead cuts right to the heart of that place. They aren't scheming supervillains; they're folks trying to make the most of what they think they have—even if that sometimes means stepping on someone who doesn't deserve it.
About the author
Brittany Smith is a Toronto-based writer of long and short fiction. Her work has appeared in the Humber Literary Review, Broken Pencil, and in the journals Pithead Chapel and Echolocation. Most days you can find Britt working as a writing coach at Firefly Creative Writing.
Lana Pesch’s debut story collection, Moving Parts, was published in 2015 and shortlisted for the 2016 ReLit Awards. She has written and produced plays for stage, radio and film and her writing has appeared in Little Bird Stories: Volumes I and II and Taddle Creek, Geist, and ELLE Canada. She was longlisted for the 2014 CBC Short Story Prize and won the Random House of Canada Creative Writing Award at the University of Toronto in 2012. Lana was born in Saskatchewan, studied in Montreal, and is an alumnus of the Banff Wired Writing Studio. She lives in Toronto and is a freelance writer, editor, and producer.
A graduate from the Masters in Creative Writing program at the University of Wales, Mary B. Valencia has published in Descant, Existere, the Globe and Mail, bunchfamily.ca, NOW Magazine, and with Gomer Press in the UK. She received the 2012 EVENT creative nonfiction prize and was first runner-up in the 2010 PRISM international fiction contest. Her writing is now appearing at comedy venues across Toronto as part of her stand-up persona routine Mary Bee.
“I remember the first time I attended a reading by Jessica Westhead. Socks were knocked off, heads were laughed off, and guts were busted. She was that good. With the brilliant Things Not To Do, she’s back plumbing the depths of our neuroses and uncovering wise truths about the weird world around us. I’m in awe of Jessica and a huge fan of her work.”
Neil Smith, author of <i>Boo</i>