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The Bridge

Writing Across the Binary

by (author) Keith Maillard

Freehand Books
Initial publish date
May 2021
LGBT, Gender Studies, Personal Memoirs
About LGBT2QS people or experiences , Author identifies as LGBTQ2S , Author lives in British Columbia

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  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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

As a child, Keith Maillard asked his mother and grandmother, over and over again, "Am I a boy, or am I a girl?" Neither "boy" nor "girl" quite fit. But there were no other options.

In this stunning memoir, Maillard creates an intricate collage of childhood memories, exploring the contradictory and destructive forces at work that put his very life at risk. For young Keith, writing proved to be a way to fight against what the world was telling him. In his scribbled stories, he began to spot the faintest glimmer that things could be different. And he kept fighting for years -- decades -- until he found a new understanding of his own nonbinary identity.

The Bridge reveals the dangers of the gender binary, both for those who are outside it and for those who aren't. And it offers hope for a kinder future for all who dare to say "no" to the way that we do gender.

About the author

Keith Maillard is the author of fourteen novels, including Two Strand River, Gloria, The Clarinet Polka, Difficulty at the Beginning, and most recently Twin Studies. He has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Literary Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Awards. Keith was born and raised in West Virginia, and now lives in Vancouver. He has been a musician, a contributor for CBC Radio, a freelance photographer, and a journalist. He teaches at the University of British Columbia.

Keith Maillard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"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

"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