The winners for the sixth annual Indigenous Voices Awards (IVAs) have been announced, and Nightwood Editions would like to congratulate Emily Riddle for winning the Published Poetry in English category for The Big Melt.
The jury citation commends that the book is about “transformation and unspectacular intimacies imbued with a Prairie feminist sensibility that is both humorous and intellectual.”
The co-winner of the category is Dene and Métis poet Matthew James Weigel for Whitemud Walking. Finalists in this category included: Délani Valin (Métis) for Shapeshifters (Nightwood Editions), Justene Dion-Glowa (Métis) for Trailer Park Shakes (Brick Books); and Ashley Qilavaq-Savard (Inuit) for Where the Sea Kuniks the Land (Inhabit Media).
The Big Melt is Emily’s debut poetry collection. In addition to winning the Indigenous Voices Awards, it is also the winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize’s Canadian First Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the High Plains Book Awards by the Billings Public Library Board, as well as longlisted for the Gerald Lampert Poetry Prize, presented by the League of Canadian Poets.
Rooted in nêhiyaw thought and urban millennial life events, it examines what it means to repair kinship, contend with fraught history, go home and contemplate prairie ndn utopia in the era of late capitalism and climate change. Part memoir, part research project, this collection draws on Riddle’s experience working in Indigenous governance and her affection for confessional poetry in crafting feminist works that are firmly rooted in place.
Emily Riddle is nêhiyaw and a member of the Alexander First Nation (Kipohtakaw). A writer, editor, policy analyst, language learner and visual artist, she lives in amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton). She is the senior advisor of Indigenous relations at the Edmonton Public Library. Her writing has been published in The Globe and Mail, Teen Vogue, The Malahat Review and Room Magazine, among others. In 2021 she was awarded the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Award. Emily Riddle is a semidedicated Oilers fan and a dedicated Treaty Six descendant who believes deeply in the brilliance of the Prairies and their people.
The Indigenous Voices Awards are a literary contest that aims to honour the sovereignty of Indigenous creative voices, and support and nurture the work of Indigenous writers in lands claimed by Canada.