Will Canada Reads break its own barrier and finally recognize native women’s writings?
In all of its 13 years on the air, CBC’s Canada Reads has never featured a book written by a native woman in the top 5 finalists. Yes, a number of Indigenous men such as Thomas King, Richard Wagamese and, of course, this year’s winning author, Joseph Boyden, have had their books championed in the competition. But a native woman has never had her book recognized in such a way.
It is time for this to change!!
Join me between now and November 30 in nominating and promoting books by Indigenous women on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or via email to be contenders for Canada Reads 2015. You must use the hashtag #CanadaReads for it to be considered eligible.
This year, they are looking for either fiction or nonfiction books around the theme of “breaking barriers.” Challenge the CBC to break barriers by finally recognizing Indigenous women authors! Find out more here about how to nominate books.
I’ve been nominating one book per day on Twitter, so please share my tweets if you are on there too. If not, please use the other avenues to promote books by native women. It is important to remember that selling books is how authors make a living, and being discussed on CBC or social media can be one way to raise a book’s profile. In the few days I’ve promoted this on Twitter, I’ve had people comment that they realize they don’t hear much about books by native women authors in the same way as male authors. It’s time the women in our community were heard widely. And it’s not just up to native women to promote this cause — we need allies to help raise our voices.
Imagine these books being discussed on CBC for millions of people to hear:
- Lee Maracle, Celia’s Song
- Monique Grey Smith, Tilly: a story of hope and resilience
- Leanne Simpson, Islands of Decolonial Love
- Patricia Monture, Thunder in My Soul: a Mohawk woman speaks
- Eden Robinson, Monkey Beach
…and so many more.
Please share this message among your networks, and let’s cause an uprising of voices who challenge the CBC to finally recognize the writing of native women! Also consider tagging the new host of Canada Reads, Wab Kinew, or other CBC personalities like Shelagh Rogers, to let them know we want our voices to be heard.
Let’s make this happen!
4 thoughts on “Will Canada Reads break its own barrier and finally recognize native women’s writings?”
I considered the late Dr. Patricia Monture an amazing friend and scholar: the world is poorer for her absence.
Maria Campell (HALF BREED, 1973)
“Métis writer Maria Campbell is best known for her important memoir, Half-breed which initiated a rebirth of Aboriginal literature in Canada. She was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008.”
Lauren B. Davis ( OUR DAILY BREAD, 2011)
“So Davis has us hole up in Albert’s cabin where we can smell the meth labs, the urine and feces, and see the lights of the cars of townies coming for drugs, and watch them go, and later we hear the screams from within the clan because of what the damned adults are doing to their kids.”
Beatrice Mosionier (IN SEARCH OF APRIL RAINTREE, 1983)
“Following the death of her two sisters to suicide, Beatrice decided to write In Search of April Raintree. First published in 1983, it has become a Canadian classis and launched the Manitoba literacy initiative On the Same Page in 2008.)
Jeannette Armstrong (SLASH, 1990)
“The book is unsparing in its condemnation of the effects of colonization on the First Nations, but it is equally blunt in forcing them to face their own responsibility in accepting this paternalistic control.”
“… and so many more”
““The whole field of indigenous literature is burgeoning at the moment,”
(Kateri) Akiwenzie-Damm agreed. “I think we’re at the start of another wave of
success, which I think could really be the broadest and have the most
impact. In the past, there have been only a few writers at a time who
gained those larger audiences and the bigger publishing deals and the
public attention, but I think now there’s a possibility for that to
really broaden out and be a lot more inclusive.”
Oh! And Just Pretending by Lisa Bird-Wilson, which was nominated for the ReLit Award and won a Saskatchewan Book Award. This is a great initiative. Thank you.