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Heather Nolan (CA)

How to Be Alone

How to Be Alone

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A breathtaking duet of spare, poetic novellas documenting the double-edged sword of self-acceptance.

Heather Nolan returns with How to Be Alone, a pair of novellas that depict the euphoric highs of a Queer awakening and the crushing lows of feeling Othered in a world that isn’t built for you. In this short but weighty book, Nolan explores themes such as isolation, trauma, and loss against the vibrant streets of Montreal. Here, in a city famous for bringing people together, the streets serve as a palette with a different purpose: a foil for those struggling to connect with the world around them.

How to Be Alone on Boulevard Saint-Laurent follows a fragmented trail left by Kaitlin, a narrator who finds moments of astonishing absurdity and beauty in the mundane as she wanders along Boulevard Saint-Laurent. In How to Be Alone on Rue Sainte Catherine, Lev moves to the Gay Village in Montreal to escape his mother, but what he finds is not what he expected.

A writer of uncommon talent, Nolan creates characters that reveal themselves through an understated confessional — the empty spaces holding meaning as much as the worded ones.

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Number of pages

Goose Lane


Heather Nolan’s work has been published in numerous journals and anthologies across Canada, the US, and the UK, including ARC Poetry Magazine, EVENT Magazine, Riddle Fence, and Solliloquies Anthology. They are the author of the critically acclaimed novella This Is Agatha Falling and the poetry collection Land of the Rock: Talamh an Carriag. They’ve also worked as a musician (they are the former guitarist for the band, Lady Brett Ashley), photographer, and knitwear designer. Nolan’s knitwear designs, published under the name Oileánach Knits, use making as a tool for connecting with place, heritage, and lost ancestral language.

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