News and Happenings



Here’s some news that I’m basically exploding with joy about: My new novel, Worry, has just been published by HarperCollins Canada (official release date: September 3, 2019)!!

I talked about Worry on Global TV’s The Morning Show, ahhh!! You can watch the clip here.

Sean Wilson recommends Worry for the September Book Panel on CBC Ottawa’s All in a Day with Alan Neal! Listen here.

Sue Carter wrote a lovely profile of me and Worry for the Toronto Star. Read it here.

I had a great time chatting with Trevor Corkum for this 49th Shelf interview.

Worry is on CBC Books’ List of “34 works of Canadian fiction to watch for this fall”.


Thursday, September 5: Reading and discussion with Farah Heron at the Brantford Public Library’s Bell City Author Series.

Sunday, September 8: Appeared at Eden Mills Writers’ Festival

Saturday, September 14: Appeared at Dunedin Writers’ Festival (“Words in the Woods”)

Monday, September 30: Launch Party for Worry at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom

Friday, October 4 & Saturday, October 5: Appearing at the Cabot Trail Writers Festival

Saturday, October 26: Appearing at The Book Drunkard Festival

Monday, October 28: Appearing at the Ottawa International Writers Festival

Saturday, November 2: Appearing at the Wild Writers Literary Festival

Tuesday, November 5: Reading with Anar Ali at “In Her Voice” Reading Series at Ben McNally Books

Thursday, November 7: Reading with Lauren Carter and Andrew Forbes at The Sapphire Room in Peterborough

Thursday, November 21: Reading and discussion with Teri Vlassopoulos for the Toronto Public Library’s Eh List Series (Yorkville)

Thursday, November 28: Reading with Sara Heinonen at The City and the City Books in Hamilton (more info to come)


I shared this list of book recommendations connected with the writing of Worry for the 49th Shelf.

I’m thrilled to have a new story up on Joyland Magazine, called “Swimming Lesson.” It’s about a mother’s fears, which coincidentally is also the theme of Worry…hmm. (Please note that on some browsers, there is a menu that covers the text. The fix is to just narrow your browser window.)

I shared my best piece of writing advice with Open Book (there’s a lot of great advice from a bunch of excellent writers here!) for “The Ultimate Writing Tips Post.”

I’m so excited to have a new story included in the 2018 Short Story Advent Calendar! Read my mini-interview about the story here.

Anne Logan gives my short story “Mister Elephant” this marvellous video review in her Day 11 Short Story Advent Calendar unveiling for her Video Book Reviews YouTube Channel. (I also love how dedicated she is to chocolate!)

Things Not to Do is on 49th Shelf’s 2018 Books of the Year: Fiction List!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’m now an instructor for online creative writing courses (non-credit) in The Chang School Department of Continuing Education at Ryerson University! These are the two courses I’m teaching: CWWR 410 Short Fiction Writing Level I and CWWR 952 Creative Travel Writing. Aspiring short-story and travel writers: I’d love to teach you!

CBC Books included Things Not to Do on this list of 14 Great Canadian Collections to Read to Celebrate Short Story Month!

I talked about my writing process, my love of social awkwardness, and some other things with Trevor Corkum for The Chat on 49th Shelf.

Things Not to Do is on Maisonneuve‘s Best Books of 2017 list!

“Westhead brings empathy and humour to everyday absurdities with believable and recognizable characters.” Thank you to Elizabeth Mitchell and the Toronto Star for this lovely review of Things Not to Do!

“Westhead’s writing is infused with a generosity that is infectious: It draws a reader in and demands an emotional accounting.” Thank you to Steven W. Beattie and The Globe & Mail for this wonderful, big-hearted review of Things Not to Do.

I gab about fear, writing-brain fog, and Churkendooses in CBC Books’ Magic 8 Q&A.

My goodness, I had a total and absolute blast at the Toronto launch party for Things Not to Do! Thank you so much to all the lovely folks who attended, and to the fabulous Queen Books for hosting me in their beautiful store.

Things Not to Do was included in “The Most-Anticipated Books of the Rest of 2017″ in The Globe and Mail!

Things Not to Do is on the CBC Q Blog’s September Preview!

I’m thrilled to announce that Cormorant Books published my new short story collection, Things Not to Do, this past fall!!

I’m excited to have a new story of mine, called “Not Being Shy,” featured in Hamish Hamilton’s online magazine Five Dials. You can read it here.

I’m very happy to to have my new story “Things Not To Do” in PRISM International.

Kelli Deeth, a writer I very much admire, has written this lovely piece on her blog about my new short story “Empathize or Die,” published recently in Taddle Creek.

I wrote a wet valentine for Don’t Talk to Me About Love.

I’m delighted to announce that Hazlitt published a new short story of mine. “Prize” is about escape rooms, sort of. Plus, I’m on a swan, which equals gracefulness. Right?

I was very excited to have my new short story, “Flamingo,” in the 2015 Short Story Advent Calendar, a collection of 24 tiny books that readers opened, one by one, on the mornings leading up to this past Christmas. Thanks to writer Michael Hingston and designer Natalie Olsen for creating this lovely literary alternative to 24 days of cardboardy chocolate, and for asking me to be a part of it.

My short story “He Will Speak To Us” appeared in Issue 49 of Maisonneuve, accompanied by an amazing photo by Daniel Ehrenworth. They also did an interview with me…

…And that story was nominated in the fiction category for a National Magazine Award, woohoooo!

I’m thrilled to be included, in wonderful company, in two great anthologies: EAT IT: Sex, Food & Women’s Writing, edited by Nicole Baute and Brianna Goldberg, and Friend.Follow.Text: #storiesFromLivingOnline, edited by Shawn Syms.


I’m delighted with the two And Also Sharks book trailers.

Thanks to Jonathan Culp of 8 Fest & Bryan Ibeas of Cormorant Books for helping to produce the first trailer, which you can watch HERE.

Watch the second trailer HERE. Thanks to the fantastic artists involved: Rob Elliott, Evan Munday, Aaron Leighton, Mike White, and Derek Humphrey.


Look everybody—it’s STILL YOSS (Year Of the Short Story)!

One of my very favourite happenings of 2011 was electronically meeting the students from 3a 2011-2012, Midtfyns Gymnasium in Denmark, who studied some stories from And Also Sharks with their teacher Eva Pors. You can read (and watch!) their thoughts on my stories here. Many thanks to Gale Zoë Garnett, who presented And Also Sharks to the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies, which is how my book came to Eva’s attention.

I had a great time as the June 2011 online writer-in-residence at Open Book: Toronto. If you’re curious, you can read my archived posts here.

Listen to me read from my first novel, Pulpy & Midge, on Authors Aloud.

The cover of Pulpy & Midge was featured on the first season of CBC’s Being Erica!



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