Books·Canadian

Making Love with the Land by Joshua Whitehead

A personal essay collection exploring Indigeneity, queerness and identity .

A personal essay collection exploring Indigeneity, queerness and identity

In the last few years, following the publication of his debut novel Jonny Appleseed, Joshua Whitehead has emerged as one of the most exciting and important new voices on Turtle Island. Now, in this first nonfiction work, Whitehead brilliantly explores Indigeneity, queerness and the relationships between body, language and land through a variety of genres (essay, memoir, notes, confession). Making Love with the Land is a startling, heartwrenching look at what it means to live as a queer Indigenous person "in the rupture" between identities. In sharp, surprising, unique pieces — a number of which have already won awards — Whitehead illuminates this particular moment, in which both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples are navigating new (and old) ideas about "the land." He asks: What is our relationship and responsibility towards it? And how has the land shaped our ideas, our histories, our very bodies?

Here is an intellectually thrilling, emotionally captivating love song — a powerful revelation about the library of stories land and body hold together, waiting to be unearthed and summoned into word. (From Knopf Canada)

Making Love with the Land is a finalist for the 2022 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. The winner will be announced on Nov. 2, 2022.

Weston Prize jury citation: "A collection that summons the reader into moving explorations of care and kinship with the land and with one another, Making Love with the Land is a lyrical, personal journey to be savoured. Refusing the demands of categorization, Whitehead's beautiful book is equal parts arresting, inviting, and challenging. He writes with fluid dexterity in the English language, while acknowledging the complexity of creating and living in a language that is not always enough."

A collection that summons the reader into moving explorations of care and kinship with the land and with one another, Making Love with the Land is a lyrical, personal journey to be savoured.- 2022 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction jury

Joshua Whitehead is a two-spirit, Oji-nêhiyaw Indigiqueer scholar, poet, nonfiction writer and novelist from Peguis First Nation. His debut noel Jonny Appleseed, was longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and won a Lambda Literary Award for gay fiction. It also won Canada Reads 2021, when it was championed by actor Devery Jacobs.

Why Joshua Whitehead wrote Making Love with the Land

"Making Love with the Land is very much a sibling to Jonny Appleseed — specifically the reception to that book. Some of the core questions that Jonny grappled with, Joshua is also grappling with, so naturally this book came into being out of necessity, one might say.

The larger aim was to normalize conversations around mental health after years of secret conversations in the corners of rooms that people were having.- Joshua Whitehead

"Some of the lessons I took from Jonny — if I'm going to go there, I'm going to do it on my own terms. And that was kind of what I wanted to do with this book — the larger aim of it was to normalize conversations around mental health after years of secret conversations in the corners of rooms that people were having. And so I felt like the best way that I could do that was to step on the stage and put the spotlight on me and turn it into a monologue, really."

Read the full interview with CBC Books.

More interviews with Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead speaks with Marcy Markusa about how he wrote his latest book during the pandemic and what got him through those dark times.
Celebrated Calgary-based Indigenous author Joshua Whitehead has just released his latest book this week. And while his previous novel, Jonny Appleseed, borrrowed heavily from his own experiences, it was a fiction. This latest work is a non-fiction - touching on his youth, family, sexuality, his Indigineity and our complex relationship with the land in the modern world. It's called Making Love With the Land. There will be a book launch event on Tuesday night, presented by Wordfest. But first Joshua joins us.
When Joshua Whitehead was writing his first novel, Jonny Appleseed, he had a small, queer Indigenous audience in mind. But the book went on to become a bestseller, picking up literary prizes and winning CBC's Canada Reads. Now, Whitehead says it's time readers, journalists and academics start rethinking how we interrogate Indigenous authors about their work. In his new non-fiction collection of essays, Making Love with the Land, the two-spirit Oji-Cree storyteller from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba addresses all the uncomfortable and harmful questions he was asked in the wake of Jonny Appleseed. He joins Elamin Abdelmahmoud to argue for a more caring and respectful approach to storytelling and story sharing.
Calgary's Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree Two Spirit storyteller. He joins us to talk about his new book "Making Love with the Land."

Other books by Joshua Whitehead

 

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

now