Books·Canadian

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is a collection of essays by Alicia Elliott.

Alicia Elliott

(Doubleday Canada)
 

In an urgent and visceral work that asks essential questions about the treatment of Native people in North America while drawing on intimate details of her own life and experience with intergenerational trauma, Alicia Elliott offers indispensable insight and understanding to the ongoing legacy of colonialism. What are the links between depression, colonialism and loss of language — both figurative and literal? How does white privilege operate in different contexts? How do we navigate the painful contours of mental illness in loved ones without turning them into their sickness? How does colonialism operate on the level of literary criticism? 

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is Alicia Elliott's attempt to answer these questions and more. In the process, she engages with such wide-ranging topics as race, parenthood, love, mental illness, poverty, sexual assault, gentrification, writing and representation. Elliott makes connections both large and small between the past and present, the personal and political — from overcoming a years-long history with head lice to the way Native writers are treated within the Canadian literary industry; her unplanned teenage pregnancy to the history of dark matter and how it relates to racism in the court system; her childhood diet of Kraft dinner to how systematic oppression is linked to depression in Native communities. With deep consideration and searing prose, Elliott extends far beyond her own experiences to provide a candid look at our past, an illuminating portrait of our present and a powerful tool for a better future. (From Doubleday Canada

Elliott was chosen by Tanya Talaga as the recipient for the 2018 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award.

Interviews with Alicia Elliott

Author Alicia Elliott wants Canadians to think about how colonialism, poverty and mental health affect families in our society. Those issues affected her own childhood, which she's written about in her new book A Mind Spread Out On The Ground. 23:45
CanLit's lack of diversity isn't news to Alicia Elliott, a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Elliott wrote a column titled, "CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire." Months later, she saw a listing for a literary panel at gritLIT, a literary festival in Hamilton, Ontario, that referenced her and her piece, but said she was not invited to appear as a panelist. 7:56

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