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Taiaiake Alfred on writing with purpose

Taiaiake Alfred was a reader for the 2014 Creative Nonfiction PrizeIn the following tip, he underlines the responsibility authors have in respecting their readers and striving to connect with them through meaningful writing. 

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I think it’s important to be humble and to respect your reader, and to strive to connect with people on an emotional as well as intellectual level. No one is interested in stories that are just about you processing your issues or talking about things you find interesting or entertaining. Write from an authentic place and enliven neglected facets of our collective experience as human beings on this earth and as members of a community. That is writing with purpose and people are likely to find meaning in what you have to offer.”

Taiaiake Alfred is from Kahnawá:ke in the Mohawk Nation. He is the author of three books: Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors, Peace, Power, Righteousness, and Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom. He is a professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria, and the recipient of a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies and a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of Education.

Photo credit: Amanda Laliberté


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