Books·Canada Reads 2019

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg musician, artist and author.
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg musician, artist and author. (Zahra Siddiqui/House of Anansi Press)

​Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, activist, musician, artist, author and member of Alderville First Nation. Her work often centres on the experiences of Indigenous Canadians. Her books include Islands of Decolonial Love, This Accident of Being LostDancing on Our Turtle's Back and As We Have Always Done. Simpson was chosen by Thomas King for the 2014 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. This Accident of Being Lost was shortlisted for the Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize in 2017 and the the 2018 Trillium Book Award.

Why Leanne Betasamosake Simpson wrote This Accident of Being Lost

"I spend a lot of time on the land with elders and with my kids, doing Nishnaabeg things. That is a really rich artistic and creative space for me. A lot of these stories and the poetry have ties or have roots to those experiences. It's also just a space in my life where I have time to breathe and I feel free and I think that's really important in terms of my own creative process. These stories kind of came on their own at different points in time and they have different origins. My writing process looks a little bit scattered or eclectic. They come from the interstitial moments in my life."

I started thinking about that feeling of escape and fugitivity. Not just escaping from the violence of colonialism, but escaping into the beautiful things that make my nation.- Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

"I have been asked over the years from a number of different people to write a creative response to this phenomenon of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people. I always struggled with that because I think it's one of those things that I'm just too close to. The emotional and traumatic load on Indigenous women can make it hard sometimes, for me anyway, to write creatively. I had written political interventions and blog posts on that topic, but I hadn't been able to write anything that was poetry or short story. I started to think about traditional stories, storytelling practices and aesthetics that come from within Indigenous nations."

Read more of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's interview with CBC Books.

Books by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Interviews with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a weath of stories, and ways to tell them. What she doesn't have is a lot of down time. Leanne is a professor, award-winning writer, musician, activist and a mom. Her second album (f)light just came out.
The storyteller and member of the Alderville First Nation on her collection of stories and poems centred on Anishinaabe experience.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?