Jo Jefferson (they/them) is a Toronto-based queer writer, parent, and community worker who spent their first 50 years in Mi’kma’ki, Nova Scotia. Their poetry, short fiction, and personal essays have been published by Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, Understorey Magazine, Syracuse Cultural Workers, and in various anthologies. Their essay “The Swimsuit” appeared in Caitlin Press’s 2020 collection Big: Stories About Life in Plus-sized Bodies. Jo’s first novel, Lightning and Blackberries, was released by Nimbus Publishing in 2008.
They write about apocalypse, queerness, history, weather, travel, and family. When they’re not writing or reading, Jo hangs out with their kids, works at a queer community centre, plays softball, explores the world, and facilitates workshops with curious creators of all ages.
“Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.”
– Ursula K. LeGuin
Jo Jefferson and James Sandham collaborated on this 10-page comic in response to a call for imaginings from the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network (begun in the form of a poem and painting). They were inspired by fierce defence of land in the face of violence and criminalization.
Jo’s poem “Try Me” was recently published in Sue Goyette’s anthology called Resistance: Righteous Rage in the Age of #MeToo.
Jo’s speculative short fiction piece “Ruby” was published in Understorey Magazine Issue 17 (2019): RE Nature. Toronto’s Dufferin Mall becomes a site of refuge for Ruby and her baby during an apocalyptic summer snow storm.