Canada Reads

The 3 different audiences Cherie Dimaline wrote the YA novel The Marrow Thieves for

The author of the Canada Reads-shortlisted novel, The Marrow Thieves, talks about how the book has been received.
Cherie Dimaline's YA novel The Marrow Thieves will be defended by Jully Black. (CBC)

Métis author Cherie Dimaline does not shy away from the opinions of her readers. In fact, she welcomes the reactions of those who have read her YA novel The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves portrays a dystopian world in which Indigenous people have to keep moving as recruiters hunt them for their marrow and its ability to help humans dream.

Jully Black will champion the novel on Canada Reads 2018. The debates, which will be hosted by Ali Hassan, take place March 26-29, 2018.

Dimaline has come across a variety of readers and opinions. She explained her views on the book's reception with CBC Airplay's Dave White. The full interview can be heard below.

1. Indigenous youth

"I absolutely wrote this book for Indigenous youth. I spent many years working with youth in urban centres and in First Nations communities. I wanted to create a world, even as dark as this one, where Indigenous kids were there — they were not just surviving, but thriving. I wanted them to feel empowered and to feel that they are the answer that we need."

2. Allies

"Diverse youth from across Canada, the United States and globally, as the book moves abroad, have come back with some remarkable responses. I'm getting asked these incredibly insightful, reflective and mature questions. I had a 15-year-old in Vancouver ask me a few weeks ago, 'How can I be a better ally for Indigenous communities without taking up space?' And I thought, 'Wow! Am I ever happy you're our future!'"

3. Anyone interested in change

"There's been a tremendous response. It's not just the youth, it's all people. It's given this cynical writer who writes dystopian, dark fiction a lot of hope. All of these stories about this apocalyptic future — it's interesting to us as storytellers to tell stories those stories right now. It feels like now is the time to strike the blows because now is the time things are going to change."

Cherie Dimaline's comments have been edited and condensed.

Cherie Dimaline discusses the reception of her YA novel, The Marrow Thieves, which is shortlisted for Canada Reads 2018. 7:18

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