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Ampersand Dewey Diva Spring 2021 Adult Titles

The Bridge
Writing Across the Binary
By (author): Keith Maillard
Keith Maillard


Freehand Books



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade
May 01, 2021
$22.95 CAD


8in x 5 x 0.75 in | 300 gr

Page Count:

272 pages
Freehand Books

One writer's deeply compelling story of growing up nonbinary in the 1940s and '50s

"Most people know their gender identity by the time they are two or three. My memories don't go back quite that far, but as far back as I do remember, I was never certain. I asked my mother and grandmother over and over again, 'Am I a boy, or am I a girl?'--asked so many times they got sick of answering and started getting mad at me, and then I would hear, 'I told you!' They always told me that I was a boy, but I was never convinced. It would take me over sixty years to arrive at a clear understanding of my problem--I was trapped inside what we now would call 'the gender binary,' the notion that there are only two choices."

So begins The Bridge, Keith Maillard's fascinating memoir of growing up in West Virginia in the 1940s and '50s: a time and place where the word "nonbinary" didn't exist. This memoir from one of Canada's most celebrated writers is an instant classic--timely, accessible, and wonderfully evocative. Maillard is a natural, gifted storyteller.

Approachable, engaging book about being nonbinary. In this engaging memoir, written with the skill of a consummate storyteller, Keith opens the window to his childhood and discusses growing up nonbinary -- something he wouldn't fully understand until decades later. With this book, Keith (now 78 years old) shows that nonbinary gender identities are not a new fad, or only for young people. 

Highly accessible -- doesn't assume prior knowledge about gender or gender identities. Keith doesn't assume his readers have an in-depth understanding of gender identity, but rather takes us through his lived experience, starting as a child as he struggled to make sense of what he felt and what he was told. The book is equally suitable for those who already have a basis in what "nonbinary" means, and for those who are curious but deeply perplexed by the concept of "nonbinary."

Told with a storyteller's wit and flair. This book is not at all didactic or lecturing, but rather rich, generous, engaging, filled with fascinating stories of growing up in an earlier time.

Keith Maillard is the author of fourteen novels. He has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Literary Prize and the Governor General's Literary Awards. He grew up in Wheeling, West Virginia, and has lived for many years in Vancouver, where he teaches creative writing at UBC.

ARCs available
Co-op advertising funds available
For more information contact
[email protected]

"Keith Maillard is one of the finest English-language novelists in Canada today . . . The Bridge is a moving and honest memoir about growing up gender-odd . . . Highly recommended." - Vancouver Sun

"A vulnerable and vital memoir about the search for identity and belonging outside the restrictive masculine gender norms of 1950s America. Novelist Keith Maillard's journey to locate himself as nonbinary in 'a narrative of gender' that had long excluded him is a valuable addition to literature about the lives and histories of trans and nonbinary people." - Rachel Giese, author of Boys: What It Means to Become a Man

"Through constellated fragments of memory, key moments in twentieth-century America, and the unfolding of an acclaimed literary life, The Bridge is the forthright, deeply moving memoir of a nonbinary writer coming of age and coming to self. Intimate and expansive in equal measure, this story speaks with particular generosity to all of us who've been deemed 'too much' or 'too little' in our gender expression, as much by those who loved us as by those who despised us. This is a book that will stay with you long after its final lines, in all the very best ways." - Daniel Heath Justice, author of Why Indigenous Literatures Matter

"Keith Maillard's engaging memoir about gender and the writing life is a tender and moving portrait of a writer's journey towards understanding themselves and their work." - Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People

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