Reader Profile: Vivek Shraya

For every day of our Indiegogo campaign, we’ll be sharing profiles from readers and supporters of Glass Bookshop both local to the city and from across Canada. Visit our campaign page now to claim cool perks and support us in building a beautiful brick-and-mortar space in downtown Edmonton. And read on to discover why today’s featured reader is excited to one day visit Glass Bookshop!

There aren’t words to convey our love for Vivek Shraya. She was one of the first people to support Glass Bookshop by inviting us to sell books whenever she rolled through town, first at an event with Tegan & Sara presented by MacEwan University’s Student’s Union and again at a Trans Day of Remembrance event organized by the Feminists at the University of Alberta. And, judging by your excellent taste, you probably love her too. She is a writer, musician, and multidisciplinary artist who also works in visual and film mediums. Maybe you know her from her most recent and bestselling title I’m Afraid of Men (Penguin 2018) or you’re a fan of her Polaris Prize-longlisted album Part-Time Woman or her band Too Attached, comprised of Shraya and her brother Shamik. Maybe you know her photography project Trisha or her films What I Love About Being Queer and I want to kill myself. Maybe you know her other titles: The Boy & the Bindi (Arsenal Pulp 2016), even this page is white (Arsenal Pulp 2016), She of the Mountains (Arsenal Pulp 2014), and God Loves Hair (Arsenal Pulp 2014). We know her for all of these things too, but we also know her incredible support and friendship, and we’re so grateful to be able to feature her as our first entry in our Glass Bookshop Reader Profile. Read on to learn about what Vivek thinks Glass Bookshop can offer Edmonton, and mark your calendars to help us celebrate the launch of her forthcoming graphic novel Death Threat (Arsenal Pulp), illustrated by Ness Lee, on May 30!

Is there a book that has had significant impact on you?
Stone Butch Blues was the book that inspired me to become a writer. It was the first “queer” book I read and not only did it resonate, but the ways that it didn’t resonate led me to write my own stories.

How do you find new books or writers?
Jason Purcell’s Instagram. (@jasonvpurcell)

Can you share a memorable experience you’ve had in a bookstore? What makes it stand out for you?
Like most writers, I struggle with imposter syndrome. This was particularly true when I first began my writing career, especially coming from a self-publishing background, but seeing my novel at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco gave me a huge boost of confidence.

What do you think Glass Bookshop could offer Edmonton’s community of readers and writers?
Edmonton’s community of readers has been starving for another literary hub in the city—one with a strong aesthetic and queer sensibility—especially to reflect and celebrate the wider presence that Edmonton writers continue to have in CanLit.

Want to help make this reader’s dream for Glass Bookshop a reality? Support Glass Bookshop’s Indiegogo campaign by buying some cool perks today here:

Vivek Shraya
Matthew Stepanic