Books

Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves among finalists for $10K CODE Burt Award for Indigenous YA literature

Dimaline is joined by Richard Van Camp, Monique Gray Smith and Adam Garnet Jones on the shortlist for the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis literature.
Cherie Dimaline is the author of YA novel The Marrow Thieves. (CBC)

Two novels and a collection of two novellas have been shortlisted for the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature, an annual $10,000 prize that recognizes Indigenous writers in Canada.

The shortlist is:

The shortlist was revealed at the 2018 Turtle Island Reads launch event in Montreal on Sept. 19. It was chosen by a jury panel comprised of Nancy Cooper, Adina Duffy, Wilfred Burton, Michelle Corneau and 14-year-old book lover Eden Gepner Bourgeois.

The winner will be announced at the end of November at Kitigan Zibi School in Quebec. In addition, the prize purchases 2,500 copies of each of the three books and distributes them to over 750 locations across Canada.

Keep reading to learn more about each of the finalists.

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline's The Marrow Thieves won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature. (Cherie Dimaline/Dancing Cat Books)

The Marrow Thieves takes place in a dystopian future where Indigenous people are being hunted in a North America ravaged by climate change. Frenchie hides with his newfound family in the wilderness, as they search for refuge from the recruiters. They are wanted for their bone marrow, which is believed to hold the widely lost ability to dream. The novel won both the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text and Kirkus Prize for young readers' literature, and was defended by Jully Black on Canada Reads 2018.

The Journey Forward by Richard Van Camp & Monique Gray Smith

The Journey Forward collects two novellas by Richard Van Camp and Monique Gray Smith. (richardvancamp.com/Centric Photography)

The Journey Forward collects the novellas When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! by Richard Van Camp and Lucy & Lola by Monique Gray Smith. The former story is about 12-year-old Dene Cho, who is angered by the loss of his people's language and traditions. Elder Snowbird teaches him about residential schools, and how understanding the past can help shape the future. Monique Gray Smith's novella follows the summer of 11-year-old twins Lucy and Lola, as their grandmother teaches them about what it means to be an intergenerational survivor.

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones

Fire Song is a young adult novel by Adam Garnet Jones. (Annick Press)

Fire Song is an adaptation of Adam Garnet Jones's award-winning film and is his first book. The novel follows Shane, a gay Indigenous​ teenager in Northern Ontario, who is struggling to cope with his sister's suicide and support his family. Eventually, Shane is forced to choose between his home and his own future.

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