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  • Eden Mills Writer's Festival - September 2018

  • Winnipeg Thin Air Festival - September 2018

A little girl with a beard must find herself a home in this contemporary fairy tale.It's 1944, and a little village in rural Quebec sits quietly beside an aging mountain and an angry river. The air tastes of kelp, and the wind keeps knocking over the cross. Beside that river an eleven-year-old girl lives with her parents. Her mother is very sad, and her father has vanished because he can't bear to look at his own daughter. You see, this little girl has suddenly sprouted a full beard. And so her mother has shut the curtains and locked the girl inside to keep her safe from the townspeople, the Boots, who think there's something wrong with a bearded little girl. And when they come for her, she escapes into the wintry night. 


Little Beast turns the modern fairy tale on its bearded head.

Translated by Rhonda Mullins

Published by Coach House

Finalists for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for translation


Demers’s short novel blends a tactile sense of place with an unruly surrealism. [...] Demers evokes the perspective of a child quite effectively, even as she addresses larger questions of identity and conformity. The result is a strange and haunting book.

Words Without Borders

Tobias Carroll

24 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in the first half of 2018

CBC Books

January 18, 2018

A good book that come in small package. [...] This lyrical tale is set in a world governed by a penetrating strangeness.

Toronto Star

June 1, 2018

When you want to tell a heroine’s tale, have these writers by your side. [...] Julie Demers’ “Little Beast,” is a gem about a bearded girl in a Quebec village in 1944

Los Angeles Times

December 27, 2019

A cryptic forest prayer, a tale of cruelty, the travelogue of a runaway, Little Beast weaves a remarkable tone with touches of raw naturalism, boreal surrealism, and dreamlike anthropomorphism. Demers's narration, with its classic childlike candor, contains a sort of brutality, revealing the hypocrisy of the adult world.' 

Le Devoir

Originally written in French, this surrealist novel features a young girl forced into solitude in the wilderness of rural Quebec after her face begins growing hair. As she struggles to find her place, she comes to appreciate the value of relationships. At times childlike and at others honest, the fantastical, dreamlike writing brings this story to life.

Word Litterature Today

In order to achieve this nuanced and poignant examination of sex, gender and society, Demers focuses with unusual clarity on the particular qualities of a child’s internal narrative. Most strikingly, she captures the way in which a threatened child views the world with a seriousness equal to or greater than that of adults. She reminds us that children are in possession of a complete worldview, built on limited information but no less powerfully held for that fact. And perhaps more importantly, that we adults are the product of our own childhood fairytales, more than we would like to believe.

Asymptote Journal

Emma Page

Little Beast is an evocative novella, sharp and engaging. It is dreamlike in quality, the fairy tale elements in  contrast to the stark reality lurking at the edges, preventing the reader from being lost in the illusory atmosphere. Perfect for fans of dark, twisted tales, with strong characters and a modern edge.

Novel Observations

Little Beast is a fierce yet subtle foray into the interplay of fantasy and reality, proving that great profundity can sometimes be found in small—and bearded—girls.

Foreword Review

Meagan Logsdon

“This is not a simulation”, says Little Beast. But for the reader, that is exactly what it is; the parameters of reality are stretched, using all the devices of fiction, and some of the devices of poetry, to create a sharper sense of self and of other, of beauty and of beast.

Literary review of Canada

Madhur Anand

Told in a voice reminiscent of  Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy and Iain Banks The Wasp Factory, the result is a disturbing, but fascinating, read.

Book Riot

Tara Cheesman

The strange story that follows is probably not at all what you expect it to be.


Little Beast is a wild novel with a hero Stephen King's Carrie would love. Julie Demers has a lithe and powerful voice. Her love of sorties lights up this book, which has a very big argument to make with unkindness.

Kate Bernheimer

Little Beast reads so beautifully. Some of it is just this eerie sense of atmosphere that the book has. It’s less perhaps to do with the era, which is the 1930’s, but nor is the book interested in the exact historical moment, I think. It’s more the creation of a fairy tale-like mood.


Brazos Booksotre

The most striking thing about this text is its distinctive use of language to create the narrative voice.

Ms. Can lit

Little Beast shines a light on aspects of yourself you didn't know were there. It's like a beautiful stranger holding an umbrella in the rain, offering to share with you

Andrew Kaufman

Fiction of the day

Literary Hub

The charm in the story, with the fairy tale motifs and strange canting narrator, is the beauty of the language, of the connection between the girl and the nature that surronnds her.



"A rare find... The end is so clever!"


One of the most anticipated books of 2018 Spring


I'm super excited to read Little Beast.

Ink and Paper Blog

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