Books

Brian Thomas Isaac, Selina Boan and Aimée Craft among winners for 2022 Indigenous Voices Awards

The annual awards, established in 2017, honour works by emerging Indigenous writers in Canada.
Brian Thomas Isaac, left, Selina Boan and Aimée Craft have won 2022 Indigenous Voices Awards. (Touchwood Editions, Kayla McInnis, aimeecraft.ca)

Brian Thomas Isaac, Selina Boan and Aimée Craft are among the winners for the 2022 Indigenous Voices Awards (IVAs).

Now in its fifth year, the annual awards honour works by emerging Indigenous writers in Canada across nine categories in English, French and Indigenous languages.

This year's winners received a total of $34,000. Since the inception of the prize, the IVAs has awarded $143,000 to emerging Indigenous writers. 

This year the IVAs also partnered with the Blue Metropolis Festival to award the $5,000 Blue Metropolis First Peoples Prize to Haisla/Heiltsuk author Eden Robinson. 

Thomas Isaac won the $5,000 published prose in English fiction category for All the Quiet Places.

Longlisted for Canada Reads 2022, the story follows six-year-old Eddie as he grows up on the Okanagan Indian Reserve in B.C. in the 1950s and faces tragedy as he navigates his culture and the landscape.

Thomas Isaac was born on the Okanagan Indian Reserve, in south central B.C. All the Quiet Places is his first book.

"All the Quiet Places is a haunting coming-of-age story. The power of Isaac's vision of young Eddie Toma growing up on an Okanagan reserve in the 1950s is the novel's unflinching gaze, meticulous detailing, and fierce attachment to family, land, and love," the jury said in a citation.

Undoing Hours by Boan won the $5,000 published poetry in English category.

Boan's Undoing Hours explores the connection between language and power, as Boan reflects on her upbringing as a white settler and urban nehiyaw woman. 

Vancouver-based Boan is a poetry editor for CV2 and Rahila's Ghost Press. She was a finalist for the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize and her work has been included in Best Canadian Poetry 2018 and 2020Undoing Hours also won a 2022 League of Canadian Poets award.

"A remarkable debut that thinks through ideas of home and belonging and language. These are pieces that linger on memory and image," the jury said in a citation.

Craft won the $5,000 published graphic novels, comics and illustrated books category.

Treaty Words is a book for ages 10 and up about the importance of understanding an Indigenous perspective on treaties. The book looks at the first treaty, the one between the earth and the sky. Sitting on the riverbank, a man sits with his granddaughter to teach her the power of silence in nature — so that she might learn her standing in the world. 

Craft is an Anishinaabe-Métis lawyer and author from Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba. She is an associate professor at University of Ottawa and a leading researcher on Indigenous laws, treaties and water.

Here is the complete list of winners:

This year's jury includes award-winning writers and scholars Jordan Abel, Joanne Arnott, Carleigh Baker, Warren Cariou, J.D. Kurtness, Francis Langevin, Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek, Eden Robinson, June Scudeler, Richard Van Camp and Eldon Yellowhorn.

Past Indigenous Voices Awards recipients include Billy-Ray Belcourt, jaye simpson, Tanya Tagaq and Jesse Thistle

The awards are supported by Pamela Dillon, Penguin Random House Canada, the Giller Foundation and the Indigenous Literary Studies Association, as well as Scholastic Canada, the Centre for Equitable Library Access and public crowdfunding.

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