Nathan Adler, jaye simpson among rising writers feted at Indigenous Voice Awards

Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler and jaye simpson are among the emerging writers who won honours at the Indigenous Voices Awards.

Organizers doled out a total of $39,000 in prizes across nine categories during an online celebration on National Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday.

Adler, who is Jewish and Anishinaabe and a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation in northwestern Ontario, received the $5,000 prize for published prose in English for his book of interconnected short horror stories, “Ghost Lake,” from Kegedonce Press.

The $5,000 prize for published poetry in English went to simpson, a two-spirit Oji-Cree writer with roots in the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba, for “it was never going to be okay,” from Nightwood Editions.

Bevann Fox, a member of Pasqua First Nation near Regina, took home the $5,000 prize for English-language published creative non-fiction for “Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School,” from University of Regina Press.

In the category for published graphic novels, comics and illustrated books, the $5,000 prize went to Winnipeg’s Brianna Jonnie with Nahanni Shingoose and illustrator Neal Shannacappo for “If I Go Missing,” from James Lorimer.

The $5,000 prize for published work in an Indigenous language went to “The Shaman’s Apprentice: Inuktitut,” from Inhabit Media, by Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk and illustrated by Megan Kyak-Monteith.

Montreal’s Émilie Monnet received the $5,000 honour for published prose in French for “Okinum,” from Éditions Les Herbes Rouges.

The winner of the $5,000 award for French-language published poetry was Shayne Michael of Madawaska Maliseet First Nation in New Brunswick for “Fif et sauvage,” from Éditions Perce-Neige.

Two writers were also awarded $2,000 apiece for unpublished works. Amanda Peters of Glooscap First Nation in Nova Scotia took the English-language prose prize for “Waiting for the Long Night Moon,” and the English-language poetry honour went to Samantha Martin-Bird of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba for “the indian (adultery) act & other poems.”

The Indigenous Voices Awards were established in 2017 with the support of a fundraising campaign launched in response to the online furor over an editorial in Write magazine proposing a Canadian literary prize for cultural appropriation.

All finalists and applicants are eligible to receive mentorship from established Indigenous writers as part of a program supported by Penguin Random House Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2021.

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press


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