Books·#IndigenousReads

7 new books by Indigenous authors you need to add to your reading list

Cherie Dimaline recommends seven new releases by Indigenous authors we should all be reading.

June is Indigenous Book Club Month and National Indigenous History Month in Canada. To mark this occasion, Métis writer Cherie Dimaline curated this list of seven new releases by Indigenous writers that are worth reading.

Dimaline is the author of the books Red RoomsThe Girl Who Grew a GalaxyA Gentle Habit and The Marrow Thieves. In 2017, she won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text and Kirkus Prize for young readers' literature for The Marrow Thieves. In 2018, singer Jully Black defended The Marrow Thieves on Canada Reads.

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree storyteller from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. (Joshua Whitehead, Arsenal Pulp Press)

Celebratory, sexy, harsh, honest, difficult, artful — Joshua Whitehead uses his masterful control of poetic narrative and empowerment to bring us a hero like none other. Jonny is not to be controlled, boxed-in or defined. But he is definitely to be loved. And we do.

My Conversations with Canadians by Lee Maracle

Lee Maracle is the author of numerous works, including the novels Ravensong and Celia's Song. (Columpa Bobb/BookThug)

When a legend decides to lay it all out, to recount the most cutting questions and share the fullest answers, we should all listen. And when it's written this well, with this much wisdom and in such a distinct voice, it's impossible not to.

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Terese Marie Mailhot is a writer from Seabird Island, B.C. (Penguin Random House Canada/Isiah Mailhot)

This work is highly original, cutting, comforting, damaging, healing, gentle and brutal all at once. It takes a certain kind of skill married to a particular brand of guts to pull this off. Thank the writing gods, Mailhot has both in spades.

There There by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange is a writer based in California. (Random House)

The Institute for American Indian Arts MFA is on a roll. Terese Marie Mailhot and Tommy Orange both come out of this prestigious Santa Fe-based program. The characters and settings in There There are remarkable in their diversity, experience and voice. This stunning book signals the start of a new age in Indigenous fiction. 

Why Indigenous Literature Matters by Daniel Heath Justice

In his book, Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, Daniel Heath Justice examines the many forms of Indigenous literature. (Melvin Yap/Wilfrid Laurier University Press)

Daniel Heath Justice remains one of the most important and community-positioned voices in the Indigenous Literatures spectrum. This long-awaited book is a love song to the works and movements of generations of writers, storytellers and knowledge holders. And the writing he captures it with is exquisite. 

Elements of Indigenous Style by Gregory Younging

Greg Younging wrote Elements of Indigenous Style when he noticed that editors had a lot of questions about Indigenous literature. (Provided by Greg Younging/Bush Education Inc.)

Years of advice, guidance and best practices come together in one not-to-be-missed volume. Everything from capitalization to protocols to community input, Elements of Indigenous Style does a lot of the heavylifting where structure and policy are concerned. And it begs of us to continue the conversation, having set up the right kind of meeting space to do so.

The Journey Forward by Richard Van Camp and Monique Gray Smith

The Journey Forward is made up of two novellas about residential schools and reconciliation, one by Monique Gray Smith and another by Richard Van Camp. (Mckellar & Martin/Centric Photography/Tessa Macintosh)

When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! by Richard Van Camp and Lucy & Lola by Monique Gray Smith are two novellas about reconciliation, healing and a way forward in one beautifully packaged flip book. Van Camp and Gray Smith each take a side of the column and present different young Indigenous characters as they navigate a world made uneasy by colonialism and fracture.

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