This story was included in our November 2023 issue, devoted to some of the best writing The Walrus has published. You’ll find the rest of our selections here.
On April 27, 2019, the Canadian literary community lost one of its brightest stars: poet, artist, and author Teva Harrison. She had come to prominence with a series of graphic comics, published weekly on thewalrus.ca through most of 2015, about being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age thirty-seven and living with the disease. Alternating between heartbreaking and humorous and always profoundly honest, the series depicted what it means to live with cancer—both the minor and the monumental facets of having an incurable illness. As Harrison wrote in a later comic, about attending a support group: “I really struggle with my lack of faith. I don’t believe in any sort of continuance of self after death. I wish that I did. Nobody could relate. That’s when I learned that there are no atheists among stage IV cancer patients . . . except for me.” In a series that could be dark, it offered, and still offers, so much light. Harrison collected and expanded the comic series into a book, In-Between Days, published in 2016, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the winner of the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. —Harley Rustad, senior editor, November 2023 issue