Governor General's Literary Awards

We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night

We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night

By Joel Thomas Hynes

HarperCollins Publishers; distributed by the publisher



Scrappy tough guy and three-time loser Johnny Keough is going a little stir-crazy awaiting trial for an alleged assault charge involving his girlfriend, Madonna, and a teapot. Facing three to five years in a maximum-security prison, Johnny knows this might just be the end of the road. But when Madonna doesn’t show up for court due to a fatal accident, shell-shocked Johnny seizes his unexpected "clean slate" as a sign from above and embarks on an epic hitchhiking journey across Canada to deliver her ashes to a fabled beach on the outskirts of Vancouver. We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night is the story of one man’s kicking-and-screaming attempt to recuperate from a life of petty crime and shattered relationships, and somehow accept and maybe even like the new man emerging from within, the one he so desperately needs to become.

“Hynes’s portrait of Johnny Keough is an act of full-throttle imagination and narrative invention. Johnny is a startlingly original creation. His hilarious yet disturbing journey from St. John’s to Vancouver is unforgettable, tragic and ultimately transcendent.”

- Peer assessment committee

Joel Thomas Hynes
Joel Thomas Hynes


Joel Thomas Hynes wins his first Governor General’s Literary Award in 2017 with We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night. He has published numerous books and stage plays, including the novels Down to the Dirt (2004), Right Away Monday (2007), and Straight Razor Days (2012). His screen adaptation of his novella Say Nothing Saw Wood (2013) was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards and won numerous awards on the festival circuit. He has worked in the Canadian film and TV industry for 20 years, and has written and directed two award-winning short films, Clipper Gold and Little Man. He has had leading roles in productions such as Down to the Dirt, Book of Negroes, Hatching Matching and Dispatching, Rookie Blue, Mary Kills People, and Orphan Black and currently can be seen on the Netflix Original drama Frontier. The new comedy series Little Dog, created by Hynes and featuring him in the lead role, premieres in the winter of 2018 on CBC. Joel Thomas Hynes divides his time between Toronto and St. John’s, Newfoundland.

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