Select Page
Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Joy Harjo

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Joy Harjo

While Joy Harjo has written memoirs, screenplays, and children’s books (as well as numerous musical works), she’s primarily known as a poet. She honed her poetic skills at Iowa’s prestigious Writers’ Workshop and is one of the most lauded Native American poets working today. Some of her best-known collections of poetry include In Mad Love and War, which won the American Book Award and the William Carlos Williams Award, The Woman Who Fell from the Sky, and A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales. While Harjo’s work does address her native culture, she also explores her struggles as an individual and a woman, which makes her work accessible to readers from any background.

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Waubgeshig Rice

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Waubgeshig Rice

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. His first short story collection, Midnight Sweatlodge, was inspired by his experiences growing up in an Anishinaabe community, and won an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012. His debut novel, Legacy, followed in 2014. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in October 2018. He currently works as the host of Up North, CBC Radio’s afternoon show for northern Ontario. In 2014, he received the Anishinabek Nation’s Debwewin Citation for excellence in First Nation Storytelling. Waubgeshig now splits his time between Sudbury and Wasauksing.

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Richard Wagamese

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese’s debut novel, The Keeper’n Me, was published in 1994 and won the Writer’s Guild of Alberta award for best novel. This marked the beginning of a prominent and prolific literary career. Wagamese went onto publish eight more novels, one collection of poetry and five works of non-fiction, including anthologies. His harrowing and darkly comic 2012 novel, Indian Horse, about a survivor of a residential school with an extraordinary gift for ice hockey, was a finalist on CBC’s Canada Reads, where it won the People’s Choice award. Indian Horse was adapted into a film in 2017 by writer Dennis Foon and producers Christine Haebler and Trish Dolman.

“People never ask me where I get the inspiration for my work and I really wish they would,” Wagamese said in a 2014 interview with the Globe and Mail. “The answer is long and complicated but shows my motivation to write and create stories. Simply and briefly put, I get my inspiration from the knowledge that there is someone out there in the world who is just like me — curious and desiring more and more knowledge of the world and her people. I write so that when they pick up one of my books there is an instantaneous connection, like we’re collaborating on the story.”

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Thomas King

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Thomas King

Critics and reviewers praise Thomas King’s funny and poignant portrayal of the challenges facing indigenous peoples in Canada in the past and today. His characters are strong in the face of oppression and prejudice, but they are also fallible in endearingly humorous ways.

In 2003 King, was the first Aboriginal in Canada to deliver the Massey Lectures. His presentation, titled The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative, was later published by House of Anansi press. In 2012, King was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (2012) won the 2014 B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction as well as the prestigious RBC Taylor Prize. The book was later turned into a film in 2020 produced by the National film Board of Canada.

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Tanya Tagaq

Spotlight on Indigenous Authors: Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq, the Juno-Award winning throat singer from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, is also a must-read writer. Her debut novel, Split Tooth, was published in 2018 to critical acclaim. Based on Tagaq’s teenage journals—she was a survivor of the residential school system—and Inuit folklore, Split Tooth tells the story of an unnamed teenage girl in the 1970s who becomes pregnant in a tiny Nunavut town. The world of Inuit legends are seemingly as alive as the animals that roam around, as the book explores the pull between good and evil, human and animal, safety and danger, and love and hate.