The debut novel by Andrea Thompson (Inanna Publications, 2014)
Over Our Heads weaves together the histories of two very different half-sisters who return home to deal with the aftermath that occurs when the grandmother who raised them dies. Emma, a punk band singer and poet turned pet psychic, and Rachel, an actuary with an interest in astronomy, both carry the remnants of childhoods overshadowed by issues of bullying, abandonment, alienation and fear. In the raw terrain of profound loss, the two sisters struggle through the stages of grief – each in their own way. The past merges with the present, as through the process of emptying the family home, each woman is taken back to their childhoods in 1970s Toronto and Vancouver, where they navigated a social climate rife with racism, homophobia and marginalization. Over Our Heads is a story about kindness, compassion – and the lack of it, on both a societal and individual level. It’s about growing up wounded, and the generational legacy of suffering such wounds can create. It unearths the painful family dynamics that can arise from our perception of memory, and how these dynamics colour both who we are, and who we believe others to be. It’s a story of acceptance, forgiveness, redemption, and the beauty that can be found in the imperfection inherent in being human.
"'Hindsight. The only way to see clearly.' This proverb illuminates the genesis of the life lessons that poet Andrea Thompson unfolds in her page-turner — and new-leaf-turning —debut novel. Over Our Heads is the poignant yet sprightly story of a family troubled by abandonment, accident, addiction, adoption, and death. Centreing on the fraught relationship between Rachel — a cool-and-calculating actuary — and her half-sister, Emma, a poet songstress gifted with ESP, the novel moves between the "now" of funeral arrangements and the girlhood "then" of Etch-A-Sketch and Easy-Bake Oven, Wonder Woman and Harry Belafonte. Thompson orchestrates a wondrous collage of Ziggy Stardust and the Dalai Lama, urban parks and Aboriginal medicines, home renos and black holes, all to reveal that divisions of gender, class, race, and ethnicity are, truly, only skin-deep. Thompson writes with a poet's careful eye and a novelist's open heart."
- George Elliott Clarke, Poet Laureate of Toronto (2012-15)
"A rare novel, by turns poetic, psychic, and down-to-earth, always wise and engaging, Over Our Heads affirms "the holiness of the heart's affections" and will remain long in the reader's memory."
- Elizabeth Greene, author of Moving and Understories
For more information or to order click here.
Adebe De Rango-Adem and Andrea Thompson
This anthology of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, spoken word texts, as well as black and white artwork and photography, explores the question of how mixed-race women in North America identify in the twenty-first century. Contributions engage, document, and/or explore the experiences of being mixed-race, by placing interraciality as the center, rather than periphery, of analysis. The anthology also serves as a place to learn about the social experiences, attitudes, and feelings of others, and what racial identity has come to mean today.
Workshops & Events
On-Air Reading & Interview
with Nancy Jane Bullis Greer
on HOWL CIUT 89.5FM
Tuesday October 28th, 10pm to 11pm
Launches for Over Our Heads
Tuesday October 21, 7:30 pm
Pages UnBound presents Andrea Thompson in conversation with Toronto Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke. A spoken word performance, on-stage interview, and book launch for Thompson's debut novel, "Over Our Heads".
Doors open at 7:30pm. Event starts at 8:00pm. Tickets on sale at the door - $10 or free admission with the purchase of a book.
The Gladstone Hote, 1214 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
For the Facebook event page click here
Wednesday October 22, 6 - 8:30 pm
Inanna Toronto Fall Launch No. 2: an evening of revelry, readings and refreshments in honour of Wild Women: Painters of the Wilderness by Joyce Burkholder, Kathy Haycock, and Linda Sorensen; The Saviour Shoes and Other Stories by Carol Lipszyc; and Over Our Heads by Andrea Thompson
The Women's Art Association of Canada
23 Prince Arthur, Toronto
The Spoken Word: Poetry & Performance Workshop
Jan 10 - Feb 7, 2015
Saturdays, 1:30 - 4:30pm
In this workshop, facilitated by Andrea Thompson, participants will have the opportunity to create, perform and refine spoken word pieces. The workshop will focus on the development and practice of basic concepts and strategies to support good writing and dynamic performances. In a mentoring environment, writing exercises, short assignments, demonstrations, screenings, discussions, and critiques will support participants' work. Through experimentation with a variety of innovative spoken word forms and performance practices, participants will learn how to bring passion and power to their words - on both the page and stage.
To register or for more info click here
*Photo Credit: Kristi McDougall