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Shelagh's feature interview with Richard Wagamese, author of Medicine Walk

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Richard Wagamese became a household name when his novel Indian Horse was part of Canada Reads in 2013. It is a haunting, powerful novel about a young boy in residential school whose life is redeemed through hockey.  

Indian Horse won the Canada Reads People's Choice Award that year, as well as the inaugural Burt Award for Aboriginal Writing in Canada.

This year, Richard Wagamese published Medicine Walk, a novel he feels is his best yet.

Medicine Walk is the story of a displaced son and his displaced father. It's set in the Interior of British Columbia. Eldon Starlight, the father, a Korean War vet, is dying and seeks out his estranged son Franklin to take him to the mountains so that he may be buried sitting up and facing east, in the Ojibway warrior way.


Shelagh has known Richard since the publication of his debut novel Keeper n' Me in 1994 and they have become friends over the years. Shelagh sat down with Richard outside her home this summer to talk about Medicine Walk.  

We hope you enjoy their conversation.


A brand new season of The Next Chapter begins on Labour Day. Tune in to CBC Radio One on Monday, September 1, 2014 at 1pm (1:30 NT) for our season premiere.  An encore presentation airs on Saturday, September 6 at 4pm (4:30 NT).

Richard Wagamese, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

Richard Wagamese, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

"There's displaced fathers and displaced sons everywhere in our communities and I thought: that's me, that explains part of my life."
-- Richard Wagamese. 

In this episode 

* Jillian and Mariko Tamaki on This One Summer
* Catherine McCandless from Young Galaxy on Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
* Richard Wagamese
on Medicine Walk
* Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath, answers the Proust Questionnaire

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Elaine Lui, Nancy Lee (Encore)

Elaine Lui, Nancy Lee (Encore)

"The joke is that my mother gave birth to me on the mah-jong table... and the game resumed within five minutes."
-- Elaine Lui. 

In this episode (originally aired May 5, 2014):

* Elaine Lui on Listen to the Squawking Chicken
* Loreena McKennitt on The Shallows by Nicholas Carr
* Ben Kaplan on Feet, Don't Fail Me Now
* Nancy Lee on The Age

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Shelagh's extended conversation with Elaine Lui (Encore)

Shelagh's extended conversation with Elaine Lui (Encore)
As a maven of celebrity gossip, Elaine ("Lainey") Lui is no shrinking violet. But it's her mother who's the star of Elaine's "sort of" memoir, Listen to the Squawking Chicken. Elaine's mom earned the nickname "squawking chicken" when growing up in Hong Kong -- and she has plenty to squawk about. 

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Claire Cameron, Andrew Cohen, Andrew Pyper (Encore)

Claire Cameron, Andrew Cohen, Andrew Pyper (Encore)

"It's very much about grief and having grief become a part of you...something you learn to grow with."
-- Claire Cameron. 

In this episode (originally aired March 10, 2014):

* Claire Cameron on The Bear 
Andrew Cohen on Lost Beneath the Ice: The Story of HMS Investigator 
* Antanas Sileika on This Great Escape by Andrew Steinmetz
* Stephanie Domet on Fallsy Downsies
* Andrew Pyper answers the Proust Questionnaire

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Cecil Foster, remembering Mavis Gallant (Encore)

Cecil Foster, remembering Mavis Gallant (Encore)

"There is something special about coming out of that era.  There is something special about coming from those islands."
-- Cecil Foster. 

In this episode (originally aired February 24, 2014):

* Cecil Foster on Independence
* Randy Boyagoda remembers Mavis Gallant
* From the TNC vault, Shelagh's last conversation with Mavis Gallant

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Joe Clark, Bob Plamondon (Encore)

Joe Clark, Bob Plamondon (Encore)

"We're not a natural country, we're a built country.  And the challenge is to keep on building it.  And we can't build it together, unless we talk together about what it might be."
-- Rt. Hon. Joe Clark. 

In this episode (originally aired August 18, 2013):

* Joe Clark on How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change
* Bob Plamondon on The Truth About Trudeau
* Randy Boyagoda reviews October 1970: A Novel by Louis Hamelin

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Shelagh's extended conversation with Joe Clark (Encore)

Shelagh's extended conversation with Joe Clark (Encore)
Joe Clark was only 28 years old when he started his political career. He had a meteoric rise through the Progressive Conservative party and was sworn in as Canada's 16th and youngest Prime Minister in 1979. Now, Joe Clark has taken all the experience from his long and distinguished career and poured it into his book How We Lead: Canada in a Century of Change.

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Joel Thomas Hynes, Kimmy Beach (Encore)

Joel Thomas Hynes, Kimmy Beach (Encore)

"As far as I went and as mucked up as I might have been at times, I didn't have murder in me."
-- Joel Thomas Hynes. 

In this episode (originally aired February 17, 2014):

* Joel Thomas Hynes on Saw Nothing Saw Wood
* Kimmy Beach on The Last Temptation of Bond
* Lorne Elliott on For Your Eyes Only by Ian Fleming

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Nalo Hopkinson, Margaret Atwood (Encore)

Nalo Hopkinson, Margaret Atwood (Encore)


"I sort of think the very fact of existence is magical."
-- Nalo Hopkinson. 

In this episode (originally aired January 20, 2014):

* Nalo Hopkinson on Sister Mine
* Liam Corcoran from Two Hours Traffic on A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
* Richard Van Camp
on Dead North: Canadian Zombie Fiction edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
* Margaret Atwood
on The Year of the Flood.  It was a contender in Canada Reads 2014.

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Shelagh's extended conversation with Nalo Hopkinson (Encore)

Shelagh's extended conversation with Nalo Hopkinson (Encore)
Relationships between sisters can be fraught. Especially if the sisters are twins. Even more especially if their father is a demi-god, and only one of them has inherited his magical powers. Makeda and Abby are two such sisters in Nalo Hopkinson's new novel Sister Mine

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