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Evergreen Award 2019

I'm Afraid of Men
By (author): Vivek Shraya
Vivek Shraya


Penguin Canada



Product Form:



General Trade
Aug 28, 2018
$17.95 CAD


7.13in x 4.9 x 0.55 in | 0.35 lb

Page Count:

96 pages
Penguin Canada
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
Lambda Literary Award 2019, Short-listed OLA Evergreen Award 2019, Nominated
“Cultural rocket fuel.”—Vanity Fair

“Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I’m Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one—one we must all take up. It is a gift to dive into Vivek’s heart and mind.”—Rupi Kaur, bestselling author of The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey

A trans artist explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl—and how we might reimagine gender for the twenty-first century.

Vivek Shraya has reason to be afraid. Throughout her life she’s endured acts of cruelty and aggression for being too feminine as a boy and not feminine enough as a girl. In order to survive childhood, she had to learn to convincingly perform masculinity. As an adult, she makes daily compromises to steel herself against everything from verbal attacks to heartbreak.

Now, with raw honesty, Shraya delivers an important record of the cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate. I’m Afraid of Men is a journey from camouflage to a riot of colour and a blueprint for how we might cherish all that makes us different and conquer all that makes us afraid.

RELEVANT AND TIMELY: Masculinity is a consistent topic of discussion online and in the news, particularly with the latest developments in Hollywood, and there’s increasing focus on inclusion of trans people in politics, entertainment, fashion, and education.

MEDIA DARLING: Vivek gets a lot of attention for her powerful messaging and star quality. Her frequent public appearances and prolific artistic outputs keep her in the headlines.

DIVERSITY: Vivek is a trans person of colour who we’re extremely proud to publish.

ONE-SITTING READ: We’ve seen a rise in the popularity of small books on urgent contemporary issues, such as racism and feminism.


VIVEK SHRAYA is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. Her bestselling book I’m Afraid of Men was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel,” and her album with Queer Songbook Orchestra, Part-Time Woman, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. The founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books, Shraya is a six-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation, and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary. She’s currently adapting her debut play, How to Fail As a Popstar, into a television pilot script with the support of CBC.

Author Residence: Calgary, Alberta

Author Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

Marketing: Postering in Toronto

Advertising with videos from Vivek

Podcast advertising

Teacher’s guide

I’m Afraid of Men merchandise (i.e. Buttons, t-shirts) in support of charity

US Plans:

Advance mailing to trade publications including Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and Kirkus Reviews

Work with US based publicist to secure national media including NPR, The Advocate, The Millions, Vice, Buzzfeed, New York Times and the Associated Press

Unique author video content

Special merchandise for BEA and promotion (pins)

Reading Group Guide for High School Teacher

Advance mailing to YouTube influencers

Social Advertising to include Twitter & Instagram / Book Riot 

Publicity: Early media interest from Quill & Quire (cover story), Toronto Life, ELLE Canada and Flare

Pitching for feature interviews and reviews in national and regional print outlets and online as well as on-air interviews for national and regional TV and radio (The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Maclean’s, Chatelaine, CBC Arts, CBC q, The Social, The Marilyn Denis Show)

Building an extensive Fall 2018 events tour

Confirmed tour to Toronto the week of on-sale for media and events including a book launch

Early interest for events in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, St. Catherines thus far

Pitching for Fall literary festivals across the country; interest thus far from Victoria and Kingston with more invites to come

Finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Award, Transgender Nonfiction
Winner of the 2018 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design – Prose Non-Fiction

Named a Best Book by: The Globe and Mail, Indigo, Out Magazine, Audible, CBC, Apple, Quill & Quire, Kirkus Reviews, Brooklyn Public Library, Writers’ Trust of Canada, Autostraddle, Bitch, and BookRiot.

“Vivek Shraya transforms her long-festering fears of men into cultural rocket fuel … Shraya’s dispatches from the frontlines of life as a queer, trans woman of color are frequently illuminating, painfully honest, and, in spite of everything, hopeful.”
Vanity Fair

“Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I’m Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one—one we must all take up. It is a gift to dive into Vivek’s heart and mind.”
—Rupi Kaur, bestselling author of The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey

“Brilliant, funny, and deeply vulnerable, Shraya’s I'm Afraid of Men is both a moving memoir and a rallying cry for a better future. Her insights on the myriad ways the binary oppresses and denigrates are invaluable and resonant. I adore this book.”
Jill Soloway

“In I’m Afraid of Men, Vivek Shraya owns and exposes her own history with masculinity and offers a way out of this harmful and old-fashioned binary we call gender. My head nodded along quietly in agreement any time I wasn’t wiping away rising tides of tears. Vivek Shraya is a superior voice, and this book is essential reading for everyone.”
—Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara

“Vivek Shraya’s writing is always empathetic but challenging, kind but sharp, and I’m Afraid of Men forces you to confront what you think you know about masculinity, privilege, and fear. Reading Shraya’s writing will make you a better person, through and through.”
—Scaachi Koul, author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

“Shraya crafts each of her memories in prose made poetic with touches of metaphor. She writes with honesty and vulnerability, all the while asking challenging and personal questions that inspire deeper reflection. This crucial addition to shelves offers the vital and often ignored perspective of a trans woman of color. A book to carry with you.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Anyone who has ever looked behind them when walking at night, avoided eye contact with strangers or wiped off a lipstick for being too bold—so, all of us—should read this mini-manifesto.”
Elle Canada

“A gift and a hell of a book—beautiful, intimate, insightful, and essential.”
—Jesse Wente, NOW Magazine

“Viscerally powerful … creating tectonic fissures into antiquated beliefs around gender identity.”
Toronto Star

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