Books·Canadian

Those Who Dwell Below

A novel by Aviaq Johnston with illustrations with Toma Feizo Gas.

Aviaq Johnston, illustrated by Toma Feizo Gas

After his other-worldly travels and near-death encounters, Pitu resumes life at home. Haunted by the vicious creatures of his recent past, he tries to go back to normal, but Pitu knows that there is more work to be done, and more that he must learn in his role as a shaman. Word of a starving village nearby reaches Pitu, and he must go to help them appease the angry spirits. it becomes clear that Pitu must travel to the bottom of the ocean to meet Nuliajuk, the vengeful sea goddess. (From Inhabit Media)

Aviaq Johnston on the importance of naming characters

"The story is set so far in the past, before there was contact with explorers and Europeans and non-Inuit. I wanted it to be super authentic with my culture because I grew up in a town where we're well known for storytelling. I grew up in a community that uses our culture to express ourselves. I wanted to respect our ancestors.

I wanted people from Nunavut to see these names and recognize them.- Aviaq Johnston

"I wanted to show our Inuit names are important to us because you're carrying the spirit of that person into the next person that you give the name to. One of my middle names is Atumalik. The name has been passed down from generation to generation. The spirit of the first-ever Atumalik has been carried on throughout all of us."

Read more in Aviaq Johnston's interview with CBC Books.

Interviews with Aviaq Johnston

Aviaq Johnston freely admits the first book she ever wrote as a teen was terrible. But the author from Igloolik, Nunavut has moved on from a "Harry Potter rip-off" to a debut novel shortlisted for a Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature. 7:41

Other books by Aviaq Johnston

 

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