Jesse Thistle & Helen Knott among finalists for $30K Indigenous Voices Awards

The annual awards, established in 2017, honour works by Indigenous writers in Canada across eight categories.
Jesse Thistle and Helen Knott are among the finalists for the 2020 Indigenous Voices Awards. (CBC, Tenille K. Campbell )

Jesse Thistle's From the Ashes and Helen Knott's In My Own Moccasins are among the 21 published and unpublished works by emerging Indigenous writers shortlisted for the 2020 Indigenous Voices Awards.

The annual awards, established in 2017, honour works by Indigenous writers in Canada across eight categories: published prose in French, published prose in English, published poetry in French, published poetry in English, works in an Indigenous language, unpublished prose in English, unpublished poetry in English and works in an alternative format.

This year's winners will receive a total of $30,000.

Thistle's memoir and authorial debut From the Ashes is a finalist in the published prose in English category.

In the book, Thistle combines poetry and memoir to chronicle his intimate journey of overcoming addiction and homelessness to become a decorated Indigenous academic.

From the Ashes will be defended by George Canyon on Canada Reads 2020.

Knott's memoir In My Own Moccasins explores how colonization has impacted her family over generations and celebrates their resilience and history. The book touches on addiction, sexual violence and intergenerational trauma, while also depicting a story of hope and redemption.

The third finalist in the published prose in English category is ʔbédayine by Kaitlyn Purcell.

ʔbédayine is a novel about a young Indigenous woman living in Edmonton and trying to figure things out.

The complete shortlists can be found below.

Published prose in English:

Published poetry in English:

Published prose in French:

  • Shuni — Ce que tu dois savoir, Julie by Naomi Fontaine
  • Aquariums by J.D. Kurtness

Published poetry in French:

  • Bréviaire du matricule 082 by Maya Cousineau-Mollen
  • Chauffer le dehors by Marie-Andrée Gill

Works in an Indigenous language:

Unpublished prose in English:

  • Excerpts from Half-Bads in White Regalia by Cody Caetano
  • Forest Fires and Falling Stars by Treena Chambers
  • Gatzi Naka by Steven Hall

Unpublished poetry in English:

  • Willow A Quartet by David Agecoutay
  • A Memory of Mary by Corri Daniels
  • Two Little Foxes, Buttertown Beach, I Will Never be Happier by Keely Shirt

Works in an alternative format:

This year's jurors are Jordan Abel, Jeannette Armstrong, Joanne Arnott, Francis Langevin, Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, Pierrot Ross-Tremblay and Richard Van Camp. 

The winners in all categories will be announced on National Indigenous Day, June 21, 2020.

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