• Anthony Nadeau

STORIES FIRST GAIN RIGHTS TO JOSHUA WHITEHEAD’S AWARD WINNER INDIGENOUS QUEER NOVEL JONNY APPLESEED


It was announced a few days ago that Joshua Whitehead’s award-winning Indigiqueer novel Jonny Appleseed, the winner of CBC’s hugely popular Canada Reads competition earlier this year, has been optioned by Vancouver-based production company Stories First.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Joshua and Arsenal Pulp Press to bring Jonny to the screen. This story has already resonated with people across the country and is one we are honored to bring to an even wider audience. As an Indigenous-owned and operated production company we aim to honor the reimagining of Jonny,'' says Leena Minifie, CEO and Producer at Stories First Productions.

(Leena Minifie, CEO and Producer at Stories First Productions)


Jonny Appleseed tells the coming of age story of Jonny, a two-spirit and Indigenous queer youth who transitions from life on a reservation to life in the bustling city. He travels with his two closest friends, and together the trio navigate love, culture shock, urban hustle, and adulthood.

“Jonny is already such an animate kin to me, and so many folks have loved and cared for him on the page, I cannot express how thrilled I am that he will be potentially animate onscreen as well. I am ready for this wild ride,” says author Joshua Whitehead.

( Jonny Appleseed Author Joshua Whitehead)

Jonny Appleseed is a tour-de-force debut novel from Joshua Whitehead, an Oji-Cree/nehiyaw, Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is also the author of the poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks, 2017) and the editor of the Lambda Literary Award-winning book Love after the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020). He is currently working on a PhD in Indigenous Literatures and Cultures at the University of Calgary (Treaty 7) and his next book Making Love with the Land, to be published with Knopf Canada.

Jonny Appleseed is a remarkable novel, and Joshua Whitehead is an extraordinary talent,” says Arsenal Pulp Press President Brian Lam. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that this book will find a home onscreen with Stories First.”

Jonny Appleseed is a Globe and Mail bestseller and the first Indigenous-authored book to take the winning title at CBC’s Canada Reads competition. The book was represented by Devery Jacobs in the competition that aired earlier this year. It was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and winner of a Lambda Literary Award.

The book option for Jonny Appleseed was negotiated by Arsenal Pulp Press President Brian Lam, Stories First CEO/Producer Leena Minifie and Paige Sisley and Stephanie Sinclair at CookeMcDermid Agency. About Stories First: Stories First is a full-service impact production, media company, and creative consultancy for social change amplifying the impact of films, content, and campaigns by leveraging technology and strategic digital communications. storiesfirst.ca

About Arsenal Pulp Press: Arsenal Pulp Press is an award-winning independent publisher based in Vancouver, Canada specializing in books by LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC authors. The press celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2021. arsenalpulp.com / @arsenalpulp

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