Métis author Cherie Dimaline is on fire!
In 2017, her dystopian YA novel, The Marrow Thieves, won the Governor General's Award for Young People's Literature AND the US Kirkus Award for Young Readers' Literature. The novel has also been chosen as one of the five contenders for the 2018 Canada Reads!
If you have read The Marrow Thieves and are looking for more of Cherie’s brilliant writing, check out A Gentle Habit, published by Kegedonce Press in 2016.
A collection of brilliantly-written short stories, A Gentle Habit was inspired American Poet Charles Bukowski who wrote "In between the punctuating agonies, life is such a gentle habit." Following this theme of extraordinary ordinariness, these six short stories focus on the addictions of a diverse group of characters attempting normalcy in an unnatural world.
“Her characters are believable…the challenges and harsh realities of each character’s life are laid bare before the reader.” – Christian Hebert, Anishinabek News
Check out the All Lit Up blog for Cherie’s reflections on this fabulous collection of short stories.
A Gentle Habit appeared on the 2016 ReLit Awards long shortlist for short fiction.
As Kegedonce celebrates its 25th anniversary year, we look back at some of our most memorable and important publications.
This month: two poetry collections by writer, multi-disciplinary artist, musician, and filmmaker Chris Bose, A Moon Made of Copper and Stone the Crow. Chris's poetry creates raw, real worlds that powerfully draw on his personal experiences of meetings and wanderings in urban settings across Canada.
A Moon Made of Copper is a collection of non-fiction poems that look at the continual maturing and growth of a human being. The poems were written while touring across Canada, and they capture Bose’s experiences meeting people, wandering different cities, and getting into adventures and mis-adventures.
…sometimes living the dream gives you nightmares…
"...this collection is brutal, bloody and brilliant. Chris Bose is one of my all time inspirations. What a ferociously gorgeous roar! WOW!" Richard Van Camp, author of The Lesser Blessed and Angel Wing Splash Pattern
Chris Bose's first collection of contemporary urban native poetry. The author takes the reader with him as he chases after coyote down the mountains on the back of a blue horse, riding across the river and into the concrete forests of the urban reservations of Canada.
"An important new voice on the Native literary scene, a voice much needed, a voice well expressed. A writer to watch." Tomson Highway.
2018 is Kegedonce Press's 25th Anniversary! As part of our celebrations, we will be presenting a retrospective on some of the wonderful books we have published over the years, featuring one each month. For January, we're looking at: LOVE MEDICINE AND ONE SONG by Gregory Scofield. Published in 2009, featuring an introduction by Warren Cariou.
A beautiful, luscious, and healing collection of poetry from one of Canada's greatest Indigenous poets. These poems are the medicine of love.
In Love Medicine and One Song, Gregory Scofield steps out of the urban rez and enters the fields of love. Intertwining lush scenes from the natural world with images of the human body, the poems in 'Love Medicine and One Song' celebrate human relationships with the land, and with the bodies of ourselves and our lovers. Beautiful, luscious, and erotic, these poems are the medicine of love.
“he is mountain lion / chewing bones, tasting marrow / rain water / trickling down my spine / he is spring bear / ample and lean / his berry tongue quick, / sweet from the feasting.” —excerpt from “He is,” Love Medicine and One Song.
“Daring to find ceremonies of healing in the earthly musk of erotic love, Gregory Scofield embeds images as precise as a taut drum in rhythms that haunt, knead flesh, and enter the marrow of bone. These are poems aching to be read.” Sam McKegney, author of Magic Weaons, Aboriginal Writers Reaking Community After Residential School.
Gregory Scofield is one of Canada's leading Aboriginal writers, whose numerous collections of poetry have earned him both a national and international audience. He is known for his unique and dynamic reading style that blends oral storytelling, song, spoken word and the Cree language. His maternal ancestry can be traced back to the fur trade and to the Métis community of Kinosota, Manitoba. His poetry and memoir, Thunder Through My Veins (Harper Collins, 1999) is taught at numerous universities and colleges throughout Canada and the U.S., and his work has appeared in many anthologies. He was the subject of a feature length documentary, Singing Home The Bones: A Poet Becomes Himself (The Maystreet Group, 2007) that aired on CHUM TV, BRAVO!, APTN, and the Saskatchewan Television Network. He has served as Writer-in-Residence at the University of Manitoba and Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Coming Soon from Kegedonce Press: creole métisse of french canada, me by Sharron Proulx-Turner. This collection of poetry is written in a unique, prose-like fashion, without capitalized words. In it, Sharron unfolds her personal stories about being a woman, Métis, and two-spirited in Canada.
"I wish I could be that brave. as brave as the big dipper. the great bear there, purring, watching, holding my hand. me looking to the side and down. the words I seek are buried there, under grief. inside the darkness of a cottonwood, inside the seeds of orange berries. the wings of a female mallard in flight, exposing blues and whites and blacks otherwise unseen, like a woman's beauty, often hidden until she looks up, sees the small spaces between the leaves, yellow hearts on the black bark after a fall rain." Excerpt from creole métisse of french canada, me
Sharron Proulx-Turner was a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Originally from the Ottawa river valley, Sharron was from Mohawk, Wyandot, Algonquin, Ojibwe, Mi'kmaq, French and Irish ancestry. Sharron was a two-spirit nokomis, mom, writer and community worker. Where the Rivers Join (1995), a memoir (published under the name Beckylane), was a finalist for the Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction, and what the auntys say (2002), was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Prize for poetry. Sharron’s books included a mixed-genre historical fiction called she walks for days inside a thousand eyes: a two-spirit story (2008), and a book of dedication poems called she is reading her blanket with her hands (2008). She published another poetry collection, the trees are still bending south, with Kegedonce in 2012. Sadly, Sharron passed away in 2016. Kegedonce Press is proud to publish her final manuscript in her memory.
Neechie Hustle is the latest publication from Kegedonce Press. Written by award-winning Cree author, Neal McLeod, the novel is a satirical look at history and the Indian Act. It is set on the fictitious Broken Elbow Reserve, and follows a number of colourful characters through their sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and even absurd adventures.
Neal took some time to answer a few questions about the novel and its quirky characters.
Kegedonce Press: Many of the characters in Neechie Hustle are drawn from your popular Crow Hop Café (2000 to 2004). Could you tell us a little bit about Crow Hop Café and the characters that traversed from there to Neechie Hustle?
Neal McLeod: The Crow Hop Café emerged in the spring of 2000—it is hard to believe that it was 20 years ago. The Crow Hop Café represented a special time for me. It was time of massive cultural and linguistic revival in Regina. We had a certain swagger, and we were making Cree cool again. One of the characters that I myself acted was the Senator. I think by acting him, by being him, by getting into his thoughts and mind, it helped me depict in the novel in a way that allowed me to fluently describe his words and world.
KP: For those of us who are unfamiliar with the terms, could you explain "neechie" and "neechie swagger"? How do they fit in to the telling of the story of the Broken Elbow reserve?
NM: The term "neechie" is derived from nîcî (which is used to describe someone like ourselves). For instance, we can say nîcî-nêhiyaw—my “fellow” Cree person (although gender is not implied in Cree). Neechie became a slang in western Canada, and was sometimes used in a negative way—it was used as a slur by white people to name Indigenous people. About 20 years ago, the term started to be reclaimed by Indigenous people, and now it has been completely transformed. For instance, there is the clothing company, Neechie Gear, based in Saskatchewan which uses the term. I helped come up with that name. You could think of "neechie swagger" as way of saying you walk with pride in your ancestors—you walk with pride in being Cree.
KP: Neechie Hustle includes some dialogue in the Cree language. Tell us a bit about how it serves the story, and some of your process as you wrote in the language.
NM: I think that this is one of the many benefits of publishing with Kegedonce Press: the use of Indigenous languages, including Cree. I think that the using Indigenous languages is important in the revitalization of Indigenous consciousness and memory. For me, the use of Cree helps to shape the characters, and helps to give them depth. I hope that in the future more authors will use Cree (and other Indigenous languages) extensively in their work. Ideally, someday, I would like to write a whole novel in both English and Cree. I would also like to thank nîcîwâkan (my good friend) Randy Morin for helping with the editing of the Cree.
KP: Bannock is ever-present in the telling of the story, and it takes on pretty epic proportions by the end of the novel. What is the significance of bannock for you, and for telling the story of Neechie Hustle?
NM: Bannock is a baked or fried bread, popular in many Indigenous communities. Bannock is one of the central threads of Neechie Hustle. Bannock was in the name of one my comedy groups—the Bionic Bannock Boys. It has been a theme that has moved through much of my comedy writing. I think that bannock has played such a central role in Cree peoples’ lives that I wanted to play with it and work with it in the narrative of the book. Because of its origins overseas, it is also a way of placing the narrative of Neechie Hustle in a wider context.
KP: Will we be seeing more of the characters of Broken Elbow Reserve in the future?
NM: Yes, in the coming years, I will write another novel with the same characters. It will involve time travel and the attempt to set things in history right.
Thanks, Neal, for telling us a little about your new novel! Readers can order Neechie Hustle through the Kegedonce Press website at http://kegedonce.com/bookstore/item/88-neechie-hustle.html