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.”