We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night

We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night

by Joel Thomas Hynes
  • critically-acclaimed
  • english-from-canada
  • humour
  • literary

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. Johnny is looking at three to five years in a maximum-security prison in eastern Canada and he 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 the country to deliver her ashes to a fabled beach on the west coast. Johnny’s wanderings see him propelled in and out of the driver’s seat of stolen cars, knocking heads with cagey cops, nearly decapitated by a moose, coming face-to-face with his incarcerated biological father in a Kingston jail, and finding surprising connections with strangers on the lonely road west. But most of all, he revisits the choices and mistakes of his past: his relationships with his adoptive father and a cousin who meant the world to him, and his first real chance at love with the woman who is now lost to him.

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.


Joel Thomas Hynes, author

Joel Thomas Hynes won 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, Right Away Monday, and Straight Razor Days. His screen adaptation of his novella Say Nothing Saw Wood 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, 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.


  • Some fictional characters explode into your imagination and won’t let you be [...]. Hynes’ writing is coarse and musical and completely absorbing, even addictive. He can’t write a sentence that doesn’t crackle or sing. Every page convinces. - Atlantic Books Today Link to review
  • Joel Thomas Hynes has developed one of the most distinctive and recognizable voices in the Canadian literary canon [...]. ["We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night"] takes the reader to some dark places, infused with a strain of black humour. - Quill & Quire Link to review
  • The fiction of Joel Thomas Hynes is filled with broken characters, unfulfilled dreams, and lost opportunities. He’s like Canada’s Irvine Welsh. - The Globe and Mail Link to review


  • One of The Globe and Mail's Most Anticipated Books of 2017
  • 2017 National Bestseller
  • Longlisted, 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize
  • Winner, 2017 Governor General's Literary Award

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Westwood Creative Artists

email: meg@wcaltd.com

website: http://www.wcaltd.com/

rights sold: Audio, excl. Canada (Audible); Canada (English, incl. Canadian audio, HarperCollins)

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 250

publication date: 04/04/2017

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book