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Publisher's Summary

Finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction
Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/biography
Finalist for the Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes
Finalist for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

National Best Seller

A slim but electrifying debut memoir about the preciousness and precariousness of queer Indigenous life.

Opening with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life on the Driftpile First Nation, Billy-Ray Belcourt delivers a searing account of Indigenous life that’s part love letter, part rallying cry.

With the lyricism and emotional power of his award-winning poetry, Belcourt cracks apart his history and shares it with us one fragment at a time. He shines a light on Canada’s legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it. He revisits sexual encounters, ruminates on first loves and first loves lost, and navigates the racial politics of gay hookup apps. Among the hard truths he distills, the outline of a brighter future takes shape.

Bringing in influences from James Baldwin to Ocean Vuong, this book is a testament to the power of language - to devastate us, to console us, to help us grieve, to help us survive. Destined to be dog-eared, underlined, treasured, and studied for years to come, A History of My Brief Body is a stunning achievement from one of this generation’s finest young minds.

©2020 Billy-Ray Belcourt (P)2020 Penguin Random House Canada

What the critics say

"Displays a pervading lucidity, akin to dreaming while standing wide awake, feet firmly on the soil.... [A] fascinating exploration of the impact of colonialism in all its ramifications." (Quill & Quire)

"A History of My Brief Body knocked me on my ass.... These essays transcend genre and become something else entirely - a reliquary of self-love and becoming." (Buzzfeed)

"Elegantly crafted...an urgently needed, unyielding book of theoretical and intimate strength." (Kirkus Reviews)

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One of those Life-changing books

This book was difficult and so worth reading. Searing and painful at times, I think it has educated me and forced me to think far outside my own experience. I will be thinking about it for a long time.