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Okanagan College professor Sean Johnston releases fourth book
Okanagan College Media Release

Sixty-four years after his first appearance vaulted him into the mainstream of popular culture, a central character from Shane is Sean Johnston Nov 2013back, brought to life by Okanagan College English professor Sean Johnston.

But Johnston’s fourth book, Listen All You Bullets, isn’t a sequel to Shane. Instead, it’s a genre-bending, myth-busting work that begins where Jack Schaefer’s 1949 Western novel leaves off.

The book’s main storyline follows the story of Billy, a character derived from Schaefer’s novel, one year after the famed gunslinger’s disappearance. Through Billy’s character, the reader sees the lingering effects of violence and disrupted family relations that were either glorified or glossed over in Schaefer’s influential work.

Listen All You Bullets is a deliberate deconstruction of the Western genre and our idea of the West,” said Johnston. “It emerged from my disheartening realization that many of our heroes and myths are lies, including the myth of the gunfighter hero.”

The book follows multiple narrative threads, allowing for an unsettling and poetic exploration of many disparate ideas, including the role artists play in the construction of popular history, and how hope and renewal can emerge from a violent past.

In addition to teaching English literature and creative writing courses at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, Johnston is the co-editor of Ryga: A Journal of Provocations and organizer of the College’s annual 3-hour Short Story Writing Contest. The contest was originated by Johnston who participated in similar events when he was younger. “I enjoyed them,” said Johnston. “You can feel the enthusiasm generated in the room when everyone’s writing.”

This year’s contest takes place on Saturday, Nov. 16th from 1 to 3 p.m. on all four Okanagan College campuses (Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm). Participants must be in Grades 11 or 12, or current Okanagan College students. Participants can register for the contest online at www.okanagan.bc.ca/3hourwriting.

Listen All You Bullets is Johnston’s fourth book. Past works include The Ditch Was Lit Like This (2011), All This Town Remembers (2006), and A Day Does Not Go By (2002), winner of the 2003 ReLit Award for short fiction. A prolific and widely published short story writer, Johnston is near completion of his third novel. Readings and book launches for Listen All You Bullets have taken place in Calgary, Saskatoon, Hamilton, St. Catharines, Guelph, Toronto, Vernon and Kelowna.

Gaspereau Press is an award-winning Canadian literary publisher, three times named the best small press in Canada by the Canadian Booksellers’ Association. The Press uses a mix of old and new technologies to produce books using a hands-on approach that spans all facets of publication -- from editing, typesetting and production through sales and promotion
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