An Evening with Birdy O’Day is a funny, boisterous, and deeply moving novel about an aging hairstylist’s first love, whose fevered quest for pop music glory drove them apart, until a chance meeting years later.

Roland Keener has lived and worked in Winnipeg all his life. He’s more or less content with the quiet and predictable days he shares with his partner of twenty-five years, Tony. That is, until he hears that Birdy O’Day—washed-up music icon and Roland’s childhood best friend and first love—is playing his first concert in Winnipeg since fleeing decades earlier.

Holing up with a scrapbook of news clippings about Birdy, Roland recalls his childhood in the ’60s: Growing up poor with a single mother, he meets a boy at school who calls himself Birdy and is unlike anyone he’s ever known. The two become inseparable, with Roland an eager sidekick to Birdy and his dreams of stardom. But when Birdy gets his big break, Roland is left behind, bereft. They become estranged over the years; one tours the world as a pop music sensation while the other struggles to chart a new path forward. But now, Birdy’s imminent return to town is a chance for both of them to finally come to terms with their glorious yet troubled past.

A funny and poignant novel about hero worship, heartbreak, and queer survival, An Evening with Birdy O’Day will remind you that you can never go home again—even if you never left it in the first place.

Available from Arsenal Pulp Press.

GREG KEARNEY is the author of the short story collections Mommy Daddy Baby (McGilligan Books, 2004) and Pretty (Exile Editions, 2011), which won the ReLit Award for Short Fiction, and the novel The Desperates (Cormorant Books, 2013), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction. His plays have been mounted at Theatre Passe Muraille and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Born and raised in Northern Ontario and Manitoba, he has lived throughout Canada and currently resides in Toronto. An Evening with Birdy O’Day (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2024) is his fourth book.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.