Almost Feral

Author: Gemma Hickey
Genre: Non-Fiction
Format: paperback
Pages: 216
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 x 1 in
Weight: 1 kg
Published: October 31, 2019
ISBN: 9781550817775

On July 2, 2015, influential social activist Gemma Hickey began a 908-kilometer walk across the island of Newfoundland to raise awareness and funds for survivors of religious institutional abuse. Almost Feral celebrates the community of support that gathered around this journey and recounts Hickey’s remarkable story of self-discovery which led to the realization that they are transgender. In this thought-provoking and wide-ranging autobiography, Hickey counters memories of sexual assault, bullying, and depression with inspiring reflections on faith, love, family, individual and communal identity, sex, gender, and acceptance. Through complex feelings of empathy and solitude, weakness and strength, suffering and recovery, Gemma Hickey’s Almost Feral chronicles a journey from one side of an island to the other side of personal identity—charting an unknown territory where one’s body becomes the map that leads to home.


  • Best Atlantic-Published Book Award Winner
  • Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Non-Fiction Winner
  • IPPY Awards Silver Medal, Canada-East Best Regional Nonfiction category
  • Canada Book Award Winner
  • CBC Books Writers to Watch List


Almost Feral is a significant achievement and a brave book documenting prominent social activist Gemma Hickey’s historic 908 km walk across Newfoundland to raise funds and awareness for survivors of religious institutional abuse. In a well put together narrative Hickey delivers a remarkable story of self-discovery, engaging in topics of LGBTQ+ rights, abuse and recovery, and community. A bold and impactful book, published with impressive sales results and wonderfully received.” – APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award jury

“Gemma Hickey writes with honesty and heart. Almost Feral is not an easy story, but it’s an important one. Gemma’s strength and bravery shine through in every part of this journey, from childhood to adult, and from one side of Newfoundland to the other. Through beautiful prose, the reader travels Gemma’s 908 km walk… and experiences lessons in faith, tolerance, identity, solitude, and love.” – The Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Nonfiction jury

“Witty, frank and insightful, Hickey’s writing is also passionate and thorough in defining and defending sexual orientation and same sex or transgender rights… As well it is a thorough exploration of identities, how they are framed, imposed and self-constructed… Almost Feral is a layered, revealing and rewarding memoir (and nicely designed, too; love those landscape-imprinted pages).” – Joan Sullivan, The Telegram

“Hickey has a lot of personal charm and that attribute shines through, making this an easy read on two difficult subjects, sexual abuse and gender dysphoria, that those of us fortunate enough not to have experience with could all use a lesson in. Let’s hope those who have suffered will derive comfort from the story of Hickey’s journey and their willingness to share it.” – Denise Flint, Downhome Magazine

“I loved this passage in the book: ‘Even though we’ve been conditioned to think in binaries—male and female, gay and straight, Catholic and Protestant, etc.—those divisions are more about social control than about self-discovery or self-awareness. Sometimes two road diverge, and you choose neither, because you have to make your own honest path. We have the power to claim and, in some cases, reclaim ourselves, to chart a new course and invite others to either follow along or make their own way. Some roads are longer than others, some rougher. Sometimes the longest and roughest road you’ll ever travel is the one that leads you back to yourself.’ Some books make a real difference to the world and this is one of them. I was glad to join Gemma Hickey on this brave journey about sexuality, loneliness, abuse, religion, and colonialism, a journey ultimately healed and bolstered by self-growth, family, friendships and a strong societal community. I highly recommend Almost Feral.” – The Minerva Reader


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