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Eyes In Front When Running - Willow Kean

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2024 SPARKS Literary Festival Featured Title!


This is a book about the collision of fear and longing, how the thing you fear the most is often the one thing you need to set you straight.

Eyes in Front When Running is a quick-witted family drama that tells the story of Cleo Best, a former backpacker in her late thirties, and her decision to try for a baby with her partner, Jamie. Over the next few months, while Cleo wants to let nature take its course, and Jamie wants to give nature a nudge in the right direction, the relationship collapses under the strain of unsuccessful attempts at conceiving. When Cleo moves back in with her parents, a series of bad decisions turns her life upside-down, but somehow sets it right at the same time.

Cleo’s greatest fear is getting pregnant. Her resistance to being a mother, her obsession with food, and everything from her unapologetic regret to her sardonic take on the world around her make her an uncommon female protagonist. Cleo gets the fella in the end, but not the one you’re expecting. Eyes in Front When Running uses humour to tackle heavy topics; the crumbling of a relationship, miscarriage, abortion, infertility, and postpartum depression.


Willow Kean is an actor and writer originally from Labrador West. She’s co-written several children’s plays that have toured provincially, and her five-woman comedy Supper Club premiered at the LSPU Hall in 2021. She’s been shortlisted for the Cuffer Prize and longlisted for the NLCU Fresh Fish Award, and she’s won the Percy Janes First Novel Award in 2018. Willow lives in St. John’s with her partner, filmmaker Justin Simms, and their son, Jude.