With My Back to the World Available for Pre-Order

I’m proud and excited that With My Back to the World is coming out next spring with Wolsak & Wynn.Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 12.18.29 PM.png


Smells Like Heaven

Smells Like Heaven receives a review in the Winnipeg Free Press: The structure of the connected stories works like the turning of a kaleidoscope

Smells Like Heaven makes Hamilton Magazine‘s list of Hot Hamilton Reads.

GetLit: Listen to Sally Cooper’s interview with Jamie Tennant below.

Set in the fictional town of Fletcher, the connected stories in Smells Like Heaven span thirty years. Fletcher is a town the characters strive to escape, but keep returning to, as they stumble through life searching for ways to connect and transcend their claustrophobic pasts. Following two sisters—Devon and Christine—as well as their friends and lovers, Smells Like Heaven exposes the core of what it means to be transformed by love.


Praise for Smells Like Heaven 

“Sally Cooper’s stories hold a strange beauty and offer canny wisdom about life’s injustices and mercies as they twist and untwist the kinks of linked lives. “

Catherine Bush, author of Accusation


“In gorgeously evocative prose, Cooper depicts and makes heartbreakingly palpable the evolution of imperfect lives. Her characters, full of sharp desires they can’t outrun, seeking connection and solace at almost any cost, remind us of what it is to be human, frail, even blind. Cooper is a writer of extraordinary gifts.” 

Kelli Deeth, author of The Other Side of Youth


“The best lies, she believes, are close to truth.” This line from Sally Cooper’s story collection, Smells Like Heaven, captures the feeling of quest in Cooper’s characters as they set out and sometimes return to home in a small town, exploring love, friendship, and the creation of new families. This collection is deeply felt by a writer who dares tell fiction’s truth.  

Kim Echlin, author of Under the Visible Life


Gushing Gratitude & Bookish Cake

Smells Like Heaven had a swell launch this week in Hamilton at Bryan Prince Bookseller’s new community space. We had standing room only with guests from as far away as Haliburton, Owen Sound, Midland, Brampton and Toronto. Wendy O’Brien, a former colleague and all-around smart lady, interviewed me. The interview was nerve-wracking, vulnerable, funny and wide-ranging. My eight-year-old daughter filmed us from the front row. Adding to the atmosphere, art hung on the walls and from the ceiling–all created by children at my daughters’ school. I couldn’t have asked for more and am beyond grateful to all who came by or sent kind words. I’m thankful for the writer-friends over the years who put in time at writers’ groups and over cafe tables. I was lucky enough to share the night with a few, especially Krista Foss (of Hamilton) and John Miller and Elizabeth Ruth (of Toronto). I must also mention how much I appreciate Kerry-Cranston Reimer of Bryan Prince Bookseller for hosting the event, and my publisher Todd Besant and the staff of ARP Books, without whom the book would still be a file in my MacBook Pro.


A List of News

The Toronto launch is coming up on Wed. June 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Another Story Books.

A Goodreads giveaway has started up today for Smells Like Heaven. It ends June 30.

My interview with GetLit’s Jamie Tennant is up on Jamie’s blog. Listen to it here.

My essay “How Not to Drown” is on TNQ’s 2017 Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest longlist.

*Photo credits: Daniel Hill


Smells Like Heaven Mixtape


Who doesn’t love a good book playlist? The stories in Smells Like Heaven span thirty years. Some of these songs appear in the book; others, well, you’ll see. Slip this cassette into the deck and enjoy the ride. I know I did.

  1. Grateful Dead’s “Ripple” has to come first. I originally called the book Ripple and did title one of the stories “You Fall Alone.” Music can define character, especially one who embraces the Deadhead ethos as Will does. Heck, he even has the song on repeat in his VW van.

2.”Margaritaville” is a kind of signature song for Ron, a man who never passes up an opportunity to dance. It’s boozy and spongey and as light and breezy as Ron wishes life were. It’s one in a long line of cheesy songs in the background as his daughter aims to figure out how to close the gap between them.

3. The Bee Gee’s “More Than a Woman” has the whiff of awkwardness  and awareness that can exist between adult siblings and parents. It’s not surprising that  Devon’s dad asks her to dance to this song at his wedding.

4. Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in The Sun,”  like “One Tin Soldier,” is a song whose lyrics we used to write out in ballpoint pen in grade school and sob over on the school bus. So 1970s. It has a place on the playlist for this book about friendship and the worst kind of loss wrapped in a sugary-poignant pop package.

5. Minnie Riperton’s delicate voice expresses a saturated, out-of-time love for characters  whose relationships take place on the edges of their regular lives. It’s music one might have heard on a K-Tel album on an older sibling’s record player during grade school. Mature, silky, illicit.

6. “Right and wrong don’t matter/when you’re with me my sweet.” The pain and longing and surrender Nina Simone wraps around each word of “Don’t Explain” speak to an intense need for connection and love and how far we’re willing to go to hang onto it.

7. John Cougar Mellencamp, whose songs once played at every country dive along with the likes of ZZ Top, Steve Earle and John Fogerty, has become Dad-Rock for Millenials. Overhearing John Cougar (as we knew him then) on the phone means you’re stepping into Dad-world and should send up alarm bells if you’re a teenage girl talking to your older crush.  The twist is in the lyric.

8. The Boxer” is the sort of beautifully-harmonized acoustic guitar-accompanied song that soulful university students play at afternoon pubs and in residence rooms. Pair with Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” and The Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” for full effect

9. “Turn the Page” is the jaded outcome for the amateur guitar player now in middle age and less able to outrun life’s complexities. Metallica’s version has more shrill anxiety and dark gritty regret than Bob Seger’s weary original.

10. “Eastbound and Down” because Burt Reynolds.