Millennial poverty & privilege
July 27th, 2021
The great granddaughter of Jewish immigrants and early French and Irish settlers, Carmella Gray-Cosgrove (at right) was raised in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Her debut short story collection Nowadays and Lonelier: Stories (Arsenal Pulp $19.95), due out in September, features a line-up of gritty urban Canadian millennials from both working- and middle-class backgrounds. Gray-Cosgrove contrasts the experiences of the two classes as they seek access to education and art. Some struggle to secure jobs and housing and these conditions leave many straddling a world where mental health issues, addictions and sex work are daily realities.
In a nod to the place of her upbringing, one of Gray-Cosgrove’s tales involves a young girl discovering sex and sexuality in the Downtown Eastside in the nineties. Other protagonists include a ballet dancer who has to deal with family members struggling with addiction; a barista and a painter who weather an apartment fire in Montreal; and a lover who spends time in Egypt while exacting an unexpected revenge.
Gray-Cosgrove’s fiction has appeared in PRISM international, Broken Pencil, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, and elsewhere. Nowadays and Lonelier was a finalist for the NLCU Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers.
Gray-Cosgrove currently lives with her partner and child in St. John’s, NL on Ktaqmkuk, the traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq and the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk. 9781551528717
Photo of Gray-Cosgrove by David Mandville.