It’s becoming an increasingly common conversation in today’s world: What does life hold for those who do not find a long-term partner, or, for one reason or another, to not have kids? These are the questions that were on Windsor author Casey Plett’s mind when she began writing her new short story collection “A Dream of a Woman,” which explores the search for love and companionship in the lives of characters like Hazel, Vera, and Tiana, women looking for real human connections while navigating the world through various transgender identities.
“I think that we’re starting to ask those questions in North America for white, cisgender heterosexual women. What might those questions look like for trans women like myself?” — Casey Plett
“I think that we’re starting to ask those questions in North America for white, cisgender heterosexual women,” says Plett, who adds, “What might those questions look like for trans women like myself? And that led me to write a lot of that a lot of the stories in the current book.”
When she began writing her new novel — a collection of short stories which came out in September and was longlisted for this year’s Giller Prize, a renowned literary Canadian competition — Plett had just moved into a house with her ex-partner who is now one of her best friends (and who also did the cover for the new book).
“None of the characters in the book are based off her, but definitely her and I continuing a sort of partnership in that ‘lowercase p’ sense of the word drove me to ask these questions, like, how do you build these communities and lives for yourself if the sort of nuclear family path doesn’t look like it’s going to happen for you?” says Plett.
Aside from exploring questions of love and partnership stemming from her own experiences, Plett, who grew up in a largely Mennonite community in rural Manitoba, also takes a lot of inspiration from Canadian locales, such as the short story “Rose City,” which takes place in Windsor.
Plett has moved around a lot as a child and adult, living in Toronto; Portland, Oregon; New York, and now Windsor, which she calls home.
“I like to think that’s given me sort of perspective on how a lot of these places are different and how sometimes people are not so different across very different types of towns and cities,” Plett says.