This past fall we’ve had the pleasure of working with some brilliant writers and publishing an incredible list of poetry and fiction. Check out what people are saying!
The Big Melt ~ Emily Riddle
A debut poetry collection rooted in nehiyaw thought and urban millennial life events. Part memoir, part research project, Riddle contemplates prairie ndn utopia in the era of late capitalism and climate change.
“Undoubtedly one of the funniest books I’ve read this year. It is also imbued with a prairie feminist consciousness that balances the humour with deep intellect. Emily Riddle has vibrant ideas about how we should live in the face of colonial catastrophe, and thankfully she has turned them into poetic gems.”
—Billy-Ray Belcourt, author of A Minor Chorus
“‘I don’t feel anxiety about my background or releasing art in general. I think it’s a radical decision to decide to share,’” says Riddle.
The Descendants ~ Robert Chursinoff
A distinctively structured debut novel about love, loss, intergenerational trauma and ultimately redemption, set in one of Canada’s most enigmatic and misunderstood ethno-religious communities.
“This is a carefully crafted book, about love: love as a belief, love as an action, and love as the force and life of an entire community. [...] Chursinoff writes with insights born of experience and inquiry, and with extraordinary compassion. [...] This is more than a documentary narrative; it’s a fiction and a history combined — personal and socially pointed and seriously contemporary, passionate and compassionate and thoughtful. It’s at once a testament to the power of individuals to deal with their culture-crossed stories and a tribute to the tenets they choose to value. I look forward to Robert Chursinoff’s next book.”
—W.H. (William) New, The British Columbia Review
For a book that had such a long road to publication, what does it feel like to finally have it out?
I recently had a baby girl, so it kind of feels like birthing something. Not quite as thrilling as having a child, but it feels amazing. There were a lot of times I felt I might give up. It’s a very solitary endeavor to write a novel. I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I pushed through. When I signed that contract with Nightwood, I was thrilled.
Shapeshifters ~ Délani Valin
Délani Valin explores the cost of finding the perfect mask. Through a lens of urban Métis experience and neurodivergence, Valin takes on a series of personas as an act of empathy as resistance.
“Have you ever wondered if geese can see God? Délani Valin has. Her debut poetry collection, Shapeshifters, has it all: Indigenous futurism, a poem anchored by Anne Carson, and even a recipe for a homemade hair mask. […] Shapeshifters is hilarious and ironic, but it’s also quite serious at times. Valin writes from her experience as a neurodivergent Métis person: ‘Was I born / out of violence? Ask Kisemanito / or count beads on the rosary.’ Valin’s vibrant imagery, skillful use of alliteration, and long-form narrative style guide the reader through portals and incantations that wrench open a new world, inviting a reimagining of how we relate beyond sexist, colonial constraints.”
Why did you choose to focus on corporate mascots?
I grew up with corporate mascots invading everywhere from my school to my pantry and living room. They’re ubiquitous, and many a marketer has hijacked humanity’s gift for stories and fascination with archetypal characters in order to sell yet another variety of cereal. These corporate archetypes are Heroes and Maidens and Mothers. Yet, they’re devoid of agency. My experiment with them was an empathetic effort to imagine their inner lives distinct from the marketers who breathed them into being. But of course, I only substituted my own breath.
The Rooftop Garden ~ Menaka Raman-Wilms
A novel about Nabila, a researcher who studies seaweed in warming oceans, and her childhood friend Matthew. When Matthew disappears from his Toronto home, Nabila travels to Berlin to find him and try to bring him back.
“Her prose […] is pleasingly fluent and clear, and her deep knowledge of what’s going on in the world – the looming threat of climate change, the rise of extremist misogynist groups, the pervading sense of hopelessness that can drive us in all sorts of directions – makes this novel feel like a timely one. It’s a beautifully painted portrait of a single relationship, yes, but it also feels like a wake up call, a reminder of how easily and insidiously evil can grow and take root.”
“The idea someone could be seduced into doing something out of character was an idea I wanted to explore. […] The author doesn’t disappoint. What I had hoped for, I got. Though the story of The Rooftop Garden is fictional, I’m reminded of something Salman Rushdie once said, ‘novels tell the truth.’”
The Punishment ~ Joseph Dandurand
Dandurand’s now-familiar storyteller’s voice wrangles trauma, grief, forgiveness and love. Through poetry, he shares what he sees: the great eagles and small birds; his culture and teachings; the East Side; self-pity; the deception of love; the deception of hate; sasquatches; spirits; and his people, the Kwantlen.
“Joseph Dandurand’s oeuvre is a marvel of witness, expressing tough, unflinching truths. The poet’s work dissects, re-configures and takes to task settler-colonialism; his quotidian reflections read like parables, with startling economy. Whether drawing from his own spiritual immortality of cultural initiation, or from his insightful perspective as a survivor of the streets, the author conjures lived-in worlds that resonate through action over sentiment. His voice blends the streetwise with the oracular. Dandurand’s instantly relatable poems are deep, deep dives into rhythms that build a history of survival in place, wise to all that’s frail, strong, funny, and hopeful.”
“Across the 70-plus poems of The Punishment, Kwantlen First Nation resident Joseph Dandurand roves over a wide, thematic terrain. Foremost, though, there’s history — personal, familial, communal. Dandurand writes, ‘the past is all we have’; and for ‘survivors of hate’ who ‘drink the poison’ of that colonial past, it’s a painful, deeply troubling legacy that seeps into everyday experience.’”
—Brett Josef Grubisic