BEST YOUNG WOMAN JOB BOOK by Emma Healey

A witty, soulful memoir about trying to make a living under the burden of unwelcome truths.

Emma Healey just wants to be a writer. As a teenager, she is introduced by her actor/playwright mother to the role of “standardized patient,” performing illness as a living training dummy for medical students. In university, she joins a creative writing program, cultivating a poet’s interest in language while learning lessons about the literary world that have more to do with survival than art.


Through her twenties, she writes software manuals for the world’s leading producer of online pornography, masters search engine optimization for a marketing firm run out of a bedroom by two Phish-loving brothers, narrowly escapes death as a research assistant for a television drama, and works the night shift captioning daytime TV. Along the way, as she navigates dating apps, tumultuous relationships, and the evolution of a voice that she is slowly learning to trust, she begins writing personal essays for money—and finds herself embroiled in a content economy that blurs the boundaries between day job and art-making even further.


Through the stories of several very odd jobs, each related to—but also achingly far from—the job she really wants, poet and essayist Emma Healey creates a unique snapshot of the gig economy that is also a timeless meditation on identity, value and language. For a writer trying to pay the bills, life can be a work in progress.

EMMA HEALEY is the author of two books of poetry, Begin with the End in Mind and Stereoblind. Her work has been published in outlets like the Globe and Mail (where she once served as resident poetry critic), the Toronto Star, the National PostThe LA Review of BooksThe FADERHazlittThe HairpinReal LifeThe WalrusToronto LifeCanadian ArtRaptors HQJoylandThe PuritanMaisonneuve, C MagazineSaid the Gramophone and more. She also plays guitar in a punk band called Rotten Column.

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Best Young Woman Job Book
By Emma Healey
Out on March 22, 2022