This month's episode is a big one! As usual, we have a in-depth discussion about a great book, but we also have a big announcement. This will be our second-last episode! You'll hear why in the first few minutes, and we'll be back next month to continue that conversation and wrap everything up. In the meantime, please enjoy our chat about The Sentence by Louise Erdrich. It's a wonderful novel about an Indigenous-owned bookstore in Minneapolis and the vibrant and complex Indigenous community around it. Because it's our last full chat with a guest host, we wanted to come full-circle and invite Daniel Heath Justice to join us. We featured his book Why Indigenous Literatures Matter in our very first episode. Please enjoy this compelling and insightful discussion with Daniel about The Sentence!
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We've got another novel for you this month! We read Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson and asked acclaimed author and storyteller Michelle Good to join us to talk about it. Published in 2021, Probably Ruby tells the story of an Indigenous woman who was adopted out as an infant on her journey to find family and identity. The novel won the 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards Book of the Year, and was shortlist for the Governor General's Literary Award and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award.
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Michelle Good is a Cree writer and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. After working for Indigenous organizations for twenty-five years, she obtained a law degree and advocated for residential school survivors for over fourteen years. Good earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia while still practising law and managing her own law firm. Her poems, short stories, and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada, and her poetry was included on two lists of the best Canadian poetry in 2016 and 2017. Five Little Indians, her first novel, won the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, the Governor General’s Literary Award the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Award, the Evergreen Award, the City of Vancouver Book of the Year Award, and Canada Reads 2022. It was also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a finalist for the Writer’s Trust Award, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes. On October 7, 2022 Simon Fraser University granted her an Honorary Doctor of Letters. Her new work, Truth Telling: Seven Conversations about Indigenous life in Canada is set for release on May 30, 2023.
This month we're putting the spotlight on books for kids by Indigenous authors, so we invited award-winning author David A. Robertson to join us. He's received several accolades for his books for kids and young adults and his literacy advocacy, and was recently appointed Editorial Director at the Tundra Book Group. In this episode David shares his journey as a writer, his creative process, his thoughts on the growing list of kids' books by Indigenous authors, and why he wants to hear from more Indigenous storytellers.
Here's a link to the Indigenous picture book resource Waubgeshig references in the episode: https://www.ibby-canada.org/indigenous-picture-book-collection/
More on David A. Robertson:
David A. Robertson (he, him, his) was the 2021 recipient of the Writers’ Union of Canada Freedom to Read Award as well as the Globe and Mail Children's Storyteller of the Year. He is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award and the McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People Award. The Barren Grounds, Book 1 of the middle-grade The Misewa Saga series, received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Kirkus and Quill & Quire best middle-grade book of 2020, was a USBBY and Texas Lone Star selection, was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award, and was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award. His memoir, Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory, was a Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire book of the year in 2020, and won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction as well as the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award at the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards. On The Trapline, illustrated by Julie Flett, won David's second Governor General's Literary Award, won the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, and was named one of the best picture books of 2021 by the CCBC, The Horn Book, New York Public Library, Quill & Quire, and American Indians in Children's Literature. Dave is the writer and host of the podcast Kíwew (Key-Way-Oh), winner of the 2021 RTDNA Praire Region Award for Best Podcast. His first adult fiction novel, The Theory of Crows, was published in 2022 and is a national bestseller. He is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg.
This month scholar and writer Geraldine King joins Jennifer and Waubgeshig to talk about Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Originally published in 2013, the collection of short stories, poems, and songs is widely heralded in Indigenous storytelling circles. Simpson brilliantly explores the modern lives and realities of Indigenous peoples in cities and communities as they assert their rights and identities in the face of ongoing colonialism.
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Welcome to Season 3! To kick off 2023, we decided to talk about three books by Indigenous authors that made the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize long list: All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac, A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt, and Avenue of Champions by Conor Kerr. We also discussed our plans for the new season, which will be a bit different than the first two. Big thanks for joining us on Storykeepers!