Brockton Writers Series 10.05.23: Andrew F. Sullivan

Andrew F. Sullivan is the author of The Marigold (ECW Press), a novel about a city eating itself. The Handyman Method, a novel co-written with Nick Cutter about home improvement gone wrong, is forthcoming from Gallery Books / Saga Press in August 2023. Sullivan is also the author of the novel WASTE (Dzanc Books) and the short story collection All We Want is Everything (ARP Books), both named Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.



Andrew F. Sullivan

My book The Marigold is a polyphonic, fungal horror novel about a city slowly being eaten from within, feeding off the past. I’ve been really lucky to work with many great artists over the last year to bring this work to life. A novel’s prose stands on its own, but a book faces the world as an art object. How it feels in the hand, how it looks on a shelf, how the fonts leap off the page—all these things matter. Artists in all formats need to support one another and reaffirm our solidarity. It’s been extremely humbling to work with so many great artists to support The Marigold.


Book Cover by Jo Walker

My book cover itself was created by Jo Walker under the direction of Jess Albert at ECW Press. Jo has created some amazing covers for writers like Jeff Vandermeer, Jia Tolentino, and Jenny Offill. A stark, deceptively simple image, The Marigold cover conveys so much about what hides within, a battle between different systems—corporate, organic, civic, and occult—all vying for control over a city already damned and drowning. It explains this book to anyone at a glance.


The Wet Comes Home Illustration by Bhanu Pratap

Bhanu Pratap is one of my favourite comics artists working today. Bhanu created some early sketches for The Marigold, and I was really excited to follow through with him on his illustration for the tower. Bhanu’s use of colour and the fluid, fleshy way he depicts bodies has always drawn me to the painful contemporary fables he tells. We ended up turning this illustration into a small poster for the book, sending it out into the world. I feel like Bhanu’s worlds resemble my own—stark, beautiful, and dripping.


Dreaming Cities Poster by Sid Sharp

Sid Sharp is a brilliant artist, someone whose work has the power to unsettle and compel. Sid’s children’s book The Wolf Suit flips an idiom on its head while haunting every page with forms bent and twisted in the forest. After reading an early version of the book as a PDF, Sid captured it so clearly in this piece, a world that lingers long after you close your eyes. This is an imagined Toronto, but one that feels real, tactile, and scabbed over. We used this painting for my Toronto launch, and I could not have been happier.


Cabeza Ink Drawing by Franz Stefanik

I’ve been getting tattooed by Franz Stefanik for about seven years now, shedding a fair amount of blood and sweat in the process. Franz has a bold, distinct style that’s quickly recognized on streets across southern Ontario. After he read an early version, Franz created an incredible ink drawing of Cabeza, a rebellious portion of the Wet, my fungal force creeping through the city. With this ink drawing that we converted into a print, Franz captured the unsettling ability of the Wet to mimic humanity, and its desire to take on our collective face.


Tower Block Illustration by Jeff Martin

My friend Jeff Martin is a comics artist based in Edmonton who’s lately been creating some amazing TTRPG’s with his partner, Caitlin Fortier, including Fail Marines, Hell, Inc: The RPG and BURGERPunk. I asked Jeff to take on The Marigold in the vein of Judge Dredd and 2000 A.D. comics and he brought it with all these wonderful colours. The natural world seizing power as the city falls into chaos is a major subplot in the novel, humming beneath the primary narrative, and I love this take on that relationship in this piece. The raccoons of Toronto are crafty, burly creatures—kaiju in their smallest form.


Little Ghosts Books Poster by Veronika Dawydow

I met Veronika through the world of zines. I love her style and her sketches. She’s created multiple versions of my dog Iggy, including the cover for his infamous Bread Zine. For the Little Ghosts Books launch, I wanted something to express a lighter side of the novel. Raccoons are inherent to the very idea of Toronto and since this was a Q&A, I wanted to play around with the scene. In Toronto, the raccoons are getting closer to becoming human every day. Veronika captured that carefree, reckless capacity for joy with this piece.


Hamilton Launch Poster by J.R. Bolt

Walking along the shore of Lake Ontario last winter, I found a stuffed panda bear tied to an electrical tower. This was my introduction to Hamilton, the city I’ve called home for the past 4 years. For my hometown launch, I wanted to capture a sense of industrial unease. My good friend J.R. used my silly photo to whip up a poster that immediately establishes a sense of dread, a warning about something left behind to fester. The Marigold, like almost all my fiction, is about what happens when we try to bury the past. It always comes back. It was always here.


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