Joshua Whitehead’s Indigiqueer novel ‘Jonny Appleseed’ optioned for the screen

VANCOUVER – Joshua Whitehead’s celebrated debut novel “Jonny Appleseed” has been optioned for the screen.

Stories First, an Indigenous-owned and -operated production company based in Vancouver, says it has bought the rights to the Indigiqueer coming-of-age story.

Published by Arsenal Pulp Press, “Jonny Appleseed” follows a two-spirit Indigiqueer young man who leaves the reserve to make his way in the big city.

The 2018 title was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award, longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won a Lambda Literary Award.

The book also won CBC’s Canada Reads competition earlier this year.

Whitehead, a doctoral student at the University of Calgary and member of Peguis First Nation, says he is “ready for this wild ride.”

“Jonny is already such an animate kin to me, and so many folks have loved and cared for him on the page,” Whitehead said Thursday in a news release.

“I cannot express how thrilled I am that he will be potentially animate onscreen as well.”

The Oji-nehiyaw writer penned the 2017 poetry collection “full-metal indigiqueer” and his next book “Making Love with the Land” is set to be published by Knopf Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2021.