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J.R. McConvey

Author / Producer / Educator


Different Beasts

Winner of the 2020 Rakuten Kobo Prize for Emerging Writers
(Speculative Fiction)

What does it mean to be both human and monster?

These twelve stories consider the beasts we carry with us, invoke in others and fend off in the night.


Praise for Different Beasts

“This is involving, often surprising, tension-filled short fiction told with a cinematic eye—the kind of storytelling that burns certain images into the reader’s mind... I’m confident that readers will find something to their delight—or their horror—in DIFFERENT BEASTS.”
— Andrew Pyper, author of The Residence
(from the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize jury statement)

“This is a brilliant collection. Here is the human understory, a tour through the internal wilderness of soul after troubled soul. As their maker, J.R. McConvey considers each one with a clear, unfailing gaze. More than that, he does so in language that sings.” —Alissa York, author of
The Naturalist

“Poignant and evocative… DIFFERENT BEASTS creates a series of specific worlds that linger long after the story is finished. It is a collection not easily forgotten.”
—Ottawa Review of Books

“J.R. McConvey’s debut roars like an untamed goblin—an instantly charming one... an excellent choice for readers who relish being disturbed and unsettled.”—Apple Books Review

“DIFFERENT BEASTS made me fall in love with the craft of short stories all over again… This is the work of a writer of beastly talent, vision and guts.” –Brian Francis, author of Break in Case of Emergency

“Each of these stories had such an ease to them that I felt like I was reading an author I’d read a thousand times... McConvey is a stunning writer.” –Steve Stred, Kendall Reviews

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Photo: Fouad Elgindy


“A compelling creature... like Stuart McLean channeling H.P. Lovecraft”.  —Winnipeg Free-Press 



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Photo: Alissa York

J.R. McConvey is a writer and producer working in Toronto, Ontario. His stories have been shortlisted for the Journey Prize, the Bristol Short Story Prize, and the Matrix Lit Pop award, and appeared in The Malahat Review,  Joyland, EVENT, The Puritan,The New Quarterly and other publications. He won the 2016 Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction, and was featured on CBCs 2020 Writers to Watch list.

DIFFERENT BEASTS, his first book, won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Speculative Fiction. As a producer, McConvey explores emerging forms like interactive documentary and virtual reality. His productions include the acclaimed National Parks ProjectNorthwords
Mission Asteroid, and the CSA-nominated 360 film project, SESQUI. He sometimes reviews books and teaches about digital media.
Learn more below.



The Infinite Shape of Regret,” Dose of Dread, February 2022

A Small Room,” Quarantine Review, December 2021 

“The Cormorant,” The Scales Project, November 2021

“Distillation,”Field Notes from a Nightmare: an anthology of ecological horror, Dreadstone Press, 2021

“The Triumph of Belphegor’s Feast,” 
In The Shadow of the Horns: a black metal horror anthology, Gravely Unusual, 2021

“Code White,” Weird Horror #3, Fall 2021

Follow Me Now, You Will Not Regret,” Broken Pencil online, March 29, 2021

Kayfabe (or, The Commoners,” carte blanche, Summer 2020

Retreat (a fairy tale in pieces,” Taddle Creek No. 44, Winter 2019

“The Streetcar Goes Sideways Down Cherry Street,” subTerrain, Fall 2019

“Sheepasnörus Rex,” The New Quarterly, Issue 146

Eel of the Lake,” Reckoning, Winter 2016

“Home Range,” Journey Prize Stories 28; The Malahat Review No. 128, Fall 2015
+ Winner, Jack Hodgins’ Founders Award
+ Longlist, 2016 Journey Prize


“Between the Pickles,” Bristol Short Story Prize Anthology Vol. 8, 2015
+ 2nd place, Bristol Short Story Prize
+ Shortlist, Matrix Lit POP Award


“How the Grizzly Came to Hang in the Royal Oak Hotel,” Journey Prize Stories 28; EVENT 44.1, June 2015
+ Finalist, 2016 Journey Prize


“Abraham Snow and the Ice that He Carried,” The Dalhousie Review, January 2015

Neutral Buoyancy,” Joyland, Summer 2014
+ Reprinted in Geist 115


Little Flags,” The Danforth Review, Issue no. 49, February 2014

The Last Ham,” e-book single, House of Anansi Digital, July 2013
+ Runner-up, Thomas Morton Memorial Prize for Literary Excellence


The Black Sands of Samyang,” The Puritan, Issue 12, Winter 2011


“Elegy for Jabronis,” longlist, 2016 CBC Poetry Prize

Five Poems, filling Station #63, Spring 2016

“Spaghetti Dinner at St. Ignatius’,” Feathertale Review online, April 2016

The Brewmaster’s Art,” carte blanche, March 2015

“So You Think You Can Terrorist,” Carbon Culture Review, March 2015

“I will write past the page that occasions my end,” Silver Birch Press, September 2014

Dubious Feast,” Found Poetry Review, September 2013

“a clamor in one’s heart” (found poems), Pulitzer Remix, April 2013

“Become a Chinese Poet,” Paragon IV, 2011

“Desktop Hymn,” The Broken City, Winter 2009

Select Non-fiction

Queen of Queens,” Literary Review of Canada, June 2021

“The Ouroboros,” EVENT 46.1, July 2017

“Altered States: the double life of author Craig Davidson,” Globe & Mail, January 2015

The United States, then and now: Is it time for a new American dream?,” book review, Globe and Mail, November 2013

Paradise lost? Our memory of nature is in tatters,” book review, Globe and Mail, September 2013

A Park Apart,” essay on Sable Island, The Walrus, May 2012

“Meddling with Media: Improvisational Alchemy and the art of Peter Mettler,” Musicworks, Summer 2007

“With McConvey, readers are in very good hands.” —2016 Journey Prize jury
(Kate Cayley, Brian Francis, and Madeleine Thien)



The National Parks Project (2011).jpg

The National Parks
(2011; Creator, writer, producer) 

Northwords (2012).jpg

(2012; Writer, producer)

Mission Asteroid (2013).jpg

Mission Asteroid
(2013; Writer, producer)

The power of nature. The magic of art. 13 filmmakers join 13 musicians on a creative adventure to capture the essence of the national parks of Canada in film and music.

13x short films

+ Official Selection, Berlinale, SXSW, Hot Docs, Tampere, MoMA, DOXA, more.

+ Genie Award, Best Documentary Short, "Sirmilik" (dir. Zacharias Kunuk) 

13x 30min documentary TV series (narrated by Gord Downie)
+Gemini Award, Best Arts Documentary Program or Series


Online interactive documentary 
+ Finalist, SXSW Interactive Awards, Best Art Interactive


13x EPs & 1x soundtrack LP

The land has a story for everyone. Five Canadian writers travel to northern Labrador for an education in storytelling, as they visit the Torngat Mountains, sacred homeland of the Inuit. Narrated by Shelagh Rogers.  


1x 50min TV documentary 

+ Banff World Media festival International Pilot Competion, Best Documentary

1x interactive documentary for tablet 

5x e-book digital shorts

The threat is real... so are the heroes who can stop it. Documentary following the scientists and entrepreneurs defending the world from asteroid apocalypse. Narrated by David Cronenberg. 


1x 42min documentary 

+ Canadian Screen Award nomination, Best Science & Nature Documentary 

“(The NPP is) a soaring series of short films exploring Canada's national parks... an inspiring new way of looking at Canada's original sacred spaces. —Eli Glasner,


(2017; Director of Digital)

360 Full Dome Film


Interactive game


VR experience

The future is all around us.  
An immersive experience produced for Canada 150. 

News and Events

News & Events

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