Books·Canada Reads 2020

Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle is the author of From the Ashes.

Author of From the Ashes, defended by George Canyon

Jesse Thistle is the author of From the Ashes. (CBC)

George Canyon is defending From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle on Canada Reads 2020.

Canada Reads 2020 will take place July 20-23.

About Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He is an assistant professor in Métis Studies at York University in Toronto. He won a Governor General's Academic Medal in 2016 and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar. 

From the Ashes is his first book.

Why Jesse Thistle wrote From the Ashes

"If you look through the book, you'll see flashes of light every time I was traumatized. The way that my mind works, it's like looking through a shard of broken glass, with all the different light fragments. I can only capture them in one- and two-page memories because they either score my soul and I bleed too much or I can't remember because my mind blocks it out.

It was painful, but it was also very beautiful. These were really hard, painful, sharp memories.- Jesse Thistle

"It was painful, but it was also very beautiful. These were really hard, painful, sharp memories. But I also saw there were people that were trying to help me, like the kind shop owner who gave me food or my friend at the shelter who watched out for my shoes. My brother Jerry always took care of me and took me in and I had a lot of support from my wife, Lucie. It's the good and the bad."

Read more in his interview with CBC Books.

Interviews with Jesse Thistle

George Canyon and Alayna Fender discuss the merits of fiction and nonfiction in depicting relatable stories

3 years ago
Duration 3:05
The two panellists engaged in a debate over whether nonfiction or fiction is better at resonating with readers and fostering meaningful conversations.

Jesse Thistle and George Canyon on Canada Reads 2020

3 years ago
Duration 5:58
Country singer George Canyon will defend Jesse Thistle's memoir From the Ashes on Canada Reads 2020. Ahead of the debates, the musician and first-time author chatted about what it was like to write a very personal book.

George Canyon and Kaniehtiio Horn discuss 'trauma porn' and portrayals of Indigeneity in literature

3 years ago
Duration 2:25
During the opening round of Canada Reads 2020, the two panellists got into a spirited exchange.

Amanda Brugel on the importance of championing intersectional stories

3 years ago
Duration 3:14
In the Canada Reads 2020 finale, The Handmaid’s Tale star and her fellow panellists debate the necessity for the stories told in their contending books.

Good Relatives: Trauma, resilience, and revitalization with author Jesse Thistle

3 years ago
Duration 22:14
Jesse Thistle's remarkable memoir, From the Ashes, about hope and resilience as a Métis-Cree man has inspired countless readers. This spring, as part of Canada Reads and before the COVID-19 pandemic, Thistle visited Labrador to speak with people about his experiences and his book. Good Relatives is a look at that trip, the people he met along the way, and what the way forward looks like for him.

He was homeless for 10 years, now he's putting forward solutions

3 years ago
Duration 6:49
Author and scholar Jesse Thistle published an official definition of Indigenous homelessness in Canada after living it.

Confronting Métis trauma: Jesse Thistle's story

6 years ago
Duration 1:02
Confronting Métis trauma: Jesse Thistle's story
Jesse Thistle talks to Shelagh Rogers about his best selling memoir, From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way.
By reconnecting with his birth mother PhD student Jesse Thistle came to understand the effects of intergenerational trauma. His award-winning research shines a light on the struggles and the resilience of Métis communities in northern Saskatchewan.

The Canada Reads 2020 contenders

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