J. J. Martin


Debut novel gives readers intimate glimpse into clerical abuse of young boys within the Catholic Church and the lasting, life-altering damage done to those most vulnerable.

J.J. Martin grew up Catholic in Ontario and pursued graduate studies in the anthropology of religion at the University of Ottawa. He has been writing for twenty-five years. His business writing has appeared in multiple news outlets, including the Globe and Mail and Inc Magazine. For the past twenty years, he has lived and worked in Toronto.


Father Sweet (2019)

Biggest literary influencers:

E.B. White, Flannery O’Connor, Tom Abray, Stephen King, Yukio Mishima, Franz Kafka, Richard Wagamese, Simon Armitage, Heather O’Neill, George Orwell, David Sedaris

Last book read:

The World-Ending Fire by Wendell Berry

The book that changed your life:

In 2007, I had a heart attack and spent a week in hospital. I read a Buddhist wisdom book whose title I’ve forgotten, but I laughed my ass off reading David Sedaris’ Naked. Maybe the Buddha teaches us how to live, but Sedaris shows us why life’s worth living.

Your favorite literary character:

Charles Kinbote from Nabokov’s Pale Fire. You could read Pale Fire three times in a row and have different experiences from Kinbote’s batshit-crazy perspective, the underlying narrative he’s trying to hide, and the sympathy you have for his victim (and the real protagonist of the novel) John Shade. It’s a masterfully piloted journey and a character who gets you thinking outside the lines.

Currently working on:

Another story about power, but with a very different plot, setting and cast than Father Sweet.

Words to live by:

Say more with less.

Advice to new and aspiring authors:

Have a point.