Cree lawyer and author Michelle Good is among the 27 emerging writers shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Awards.
Good is a finalist for best published fiction in English for her debut novel, “Five Little Indians,” from HarperCollins Publishers, which follows a group of residential school survivors trying to forge new lives in Vancouver.
Her competition in the category includes Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler for “Ghost Lake” (Kegedonce Press), Jenn Ashton for “People Like Frank” (Tidewater Press), Michael Hutchinson for “The Case of the Missing Auntie” (Second Story Press) and Katłįà for “Land-Water-Sky / Ndè-Tı-Yat’a” (Fernwood Publishing).
In its fourth year, the literary contest is recognizing Indigenous talent across nine categories spanning languages, genres and media.
The Indigenous Voices Awards were established in 2017 with the support of a fundraising campaign launched in response to the online furor over an editorial in Write magazine proposing a Canadian literary prize for cultural appropriation.
This year, a total of $39,000 will be split among the winners on National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.
Vying for the prize for published poetry in English are jaye simpson for “It Was Never Going to Be Okay” (Nightwood Editions,” Norma Dunning for “Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit Identity” (Bookland Press), Shalan Joudry for “Waking Ground” (Gaspereau Press) and Tyler Pennock for “Bones” (Brick Books).
The finalists for English-language published creative non-fiction and life writing are Bevann Fox for “Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School” (University of Regina Press), Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane for “Powwow: A Celebration through Song and Dance” (Orca Book Publishers) and Michelle Porter for “Approaching Fire”(Breakwater Books).
The nominees for published graphic novels, comics and illustrated books are Lisa Boivin for “I Will See You Again” (HighWater Press); Brianna Jonnie with Nahanni Shingoose and illustrator Neal Shannacappo for “If I Go Missing” (James Lorimer); and Tasha Spillett and illustrator Natasha Donovan for “From the Roots Up: Surviving the City Vol. 2” (HighWater Press).
The sole title shortlisted for published work in an Indigenous language is “The Shaman’s Apprentice: Inuktitut” (Inhabit Media) by Zacharias Kunuk and illustrated by Megan Kyak-Monteith.
Jurors also nominated up-and-coming Indigenous talent in French-language published poetry and prose and unpublished English-language poetry and prose.
All finalists and applicants are eligible to receive mentorship from established Indigenous writers as part of a program supported by Penguin Random House Canada.
The short list was announced Sunday at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 3, 2021.
By Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press