"In these tight, sexy fictions that make up One Dead Tree, David Menear’s stories and characters uncover hitherto unexplored aspects of the Canadian urban experience." Mark McCawley, Urban Graffiti

Zoe Whittall

Zoe Whittall

DH: What is your definition of transgressive?


ZW: Work the transgresses norms or boundaries, I suppose?


DH: What was the first text you read that made you question accepted societal tenets or values or the way in which the world works?


ZW:     I read some YA that was transgressive for its time, Paula Danziger and Judy Blume, were quite boundary-breaking. I read a lot of hippie era non-fiction when I was in my teens, like Ken Kesey's acid test. I was obsessed with a book about a commune for while, The Walden Two Experiment. But I guess when I read Dianne DiMassa's Hothead comics, or Dorothy Alison, Sarah Schulman, Kathy Acker, Eileen Myles, that's when it started changing the way I thought about writing.


DH: Give an example of a transgressive work & explain why you felt it was transgressive? The work could be literature, film, visual art, theatre, graphic novels or something else.


ZW: I'm a fan of Sasha Van Bon Bon's theatrical work - she wrote a play called Neon Nights that's hilarious and transgressive and totally unique.


DH: Name a historical transgressive role model & tell us a bit about this person.

ZW: Gail Scott's novel Heroine was an early inspiration for writing poetic prose and non-linear work.


DH: List a few transgressive fictional works from your personal library.


ZW: Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Amber Dawn's Sub Rosa

The Importance of Being Iceland by Eileen Myles

Casey PLett's a Safe Girl to Love


DH: In what ways are you trying to create or publish work that is transgressive according to your definition?


ZW: I'm not. I like to play with form, I like to write about queer and trans people in a real way, but I'm not setting out to be edgy or unconventional in an intentional way, I just write what seems real, funny, or interesting to me, and often that means it's transgressive to some folks, and not to others.   

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