The 2014 winner of the prestigious RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, Thomas King, sits down for a riveting panel discussion with Aboriginal writers Lee Maracle, Ellen van Neerven and Samuel Wagan Watson about Indigenous writing traditions and contemporary Indigenous literature. CBC’s Waubgeshig Rice moderates.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its art funding and advisory body, and the Melbourne Writers Festival.
This event is part of CBC@IFOA, a curated series featuring some of the public broadcaster’s top hosts in conversation with renowned and debut authors.
Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter and photographer of Cherokee and Greek descent. For 50 years, he has worked as an activist for Native causes and has taught Native literature and history at universities across North America. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2004. King presents both his RBC Taylor Prize-winning book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, and his first literary novel in 15 years, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction finalist The Back of the Turtle.
North Vancouver–born Lee Maracle (member of Stó:lō nation, Canada) is the author of numerous critically acclaimed literary works, including Sundogs, Ravensong, Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories, Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel, Daughters Are Forever, Will’s Garden, Bent Box, Memory Serves and I Am Woman. She is the coeditor of a number of anthologies, including the award-winning My Home as I Remember. Her latest book is My Conversations with Canadians. A member of the Sto: Loh nation, Maracle is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the JT Stewart Award, and the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Maracle is currently an instructor in the Aboriginal Studies Program at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Oral Tradition. She is also the Traditional Teacher for First Nation’s House and an instructor with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre.
Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. His first short story collection, Midnight Sweatlodge, was inspired by his experiences growing up in an Anishinaabe community and won an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2012. His debut novel, Legacy, followed in 2014. He currently works as a multi-platform journalist for CBC in Sudbury. In 2014, he received the Anishinabek Nation’s Debwewin Citation for Excellence in First Nation Storytelling. He lives in Ottawa.
Ellen van Neerven is a writer of Aboriginal and Dutch descent whose work has appeared in many publications, including The Best of McSweeney’s, Voiceworks and Review of Australian Fiction. She currently lives in Brisbane where she works as an editor for the black&write! project at the State Library of Queensland. Van Neerven presents her debut novel and the winner of the 2013 David Unaipon Award, Heat and Light. Divided into three sections, it is inspired by the intersection of familial history, location and identity, and takes readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.
Samuel Wagan Watson is an award-winning raconteur from the south-side of Brisbane who hails from an honourable ancestry of Birri, Munanjali, Gaelic and Germanic peoples. His poetry collection Smoke Encrypted Whispers won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the New South Wales Premier’s Book of the Year. He has been commissioned to write for entities ranging from Brisbane City Council to the Japanese Aeronautical Exploration Agency. Watson is currently a full-time writer working on selected commissions and radio copy for Brisbane Indigenous Media Association. He presents his latest collection of poetry, Love Poems and Death Threats.