Launchpad: NOOPIMING, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

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Last spring—as launches, festivals and other events were cancelled across the country—49th Shelf helped Canadian authors launch more than 50 new books with LAUNCHPAD. And now we're back this fall, but with a twist.

LAUNCHPAD 2.0 features new releases selected by great Canadian writers who've chosen books that absolutely deserve to find their way into the hands of readers.

Today we're launching Noopiming: The Cure For White Ladies, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, which is being championed by Megan Gail Coles, who writes: 

"Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies is likely the most admirably audacious novel of the year. With each publication, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson re-establishes herself as a revolutionary writer willing to take innovative risks in order to communicate bold intentions that challenge damaging colonial narratives.

"In her most recent book, she centres relationality so thoroughly as to destabilize even the reader's limiting preconception of how words must be laid out upon the page. This is bold storytelling drawing upon a rich history to present a possible future. Simpson is generously gifting readers, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, with an opportunity to engage in the necessary difficult work of further decolonizing our minds.

"I have decided to save it for close reading over the October long weekend. This: a small act of giving thanks and focus to a daring writer who keeps blazing forward on her own terms. We all benefit from Simpson's courageous choices. Let us then in return, writers and readers alike, be so brave in our own."


49th Shelf: What particular something have you managed to achieve with this book that you’re especially proud of?

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson: I think I’m proud that this book got published at all. We don’t have to go back very many years to where a book like this in all the ways it challenges, while also being authored by an Indigenous woman or a Black woman, would not have been published at all.

49th Shelf: Tell us about your ideal reader, and where you imagine them reading your book.

LBS: I imagine a Nishnaabe person, probably younger than me, reading this and creating their own micro Nishnaabe world wherever they are reading it.

49th Shelf: What authors and works inspired you on your journey in creating this book?

LBS: The generations of Nishnaabeg storytellers that have come before me and created a diverse body of orality that I was born into. Saidiya Hartman and Wayward Lives and Beautiful Experiments. Dionne Brand’s body of work. Alexis Pauline Gumbs.

49th Shelf: What’s something you know now that you didn’t know when you set out to write your book?

LBS: I didn’t know I could write creatively in long form. Maybe though, I didn’t.

49th Shelf: What new books are you most excited about this fall?

LBS: I’m really excited for Christa Couture and How to Lose Everything, and Damian Roger’s An Alphabet for Joanna.

49th Shelf: What bookstore are you most excited to walk into and see your book displayed on the shelf?

LBS: Well …. perhaps seeing my book at any independent bookstore would generate real excitement, since so much of the launch of this book is online and through the mail.

49th Shelf:  Who are you most grateful to for support in bringing your book into the world?

LBS: I’m most grateful to my kids, my partner, sisters and parents because they are a solid inner circle of analog protection and love.


I have decided to save [this book] for close reading over the October long weekend. This: a small act of giving thanks and focus to a daring writer who keeps blazing forward on her own terms. We all benefit from Simpson's courageous choices. Let us then in return, writers and readers alike, be so brave in our own.

Megan Gail Coles


Learn more about Noopiming

Award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson returns with a bold reimagination of the novel, one that combines narrative and poetic fragments through a careful and fierce reclamation of Anishinaabe aesthetics.

Mashkawaji (they/them) lies frozen in the ice, remembering a long-ago time of hopeless connection and now finding freedom and solace in isolated suspension. They introduce us to the seven main characters: Akiwenzii, the old man who represents the narrator’s will; Ninaatig, the maple tree who represents their lungs; Mindimooyenh, the old woman who represents their conscience; Sabe, the giant who represents their marrow; Adik, the caribou who represents their nervous system; Asin, the human who represents their eyes and ears; and Lucy, the human who represents their brain. Each attempts to commune with the unnatural urban-settler world, a world of SpongeBob Band-Aids, Ziploc baggies, Fjällräven Kånken backpacks, and coffee mugs emblazoned with institutional logos. And each searches out the natural world, only to discover those pockets that still exist are owned, contained, counted, and consumed. Cut off from nature, the characters are cut off from their natural selves.

Noopiming is Anishinaabemowin for “in the bush,” and the title is a response to English Canadian settler and author Susanna Moodie’s 1852 memoir Roughing It in the Bush. To read Simpson’s work is an act of decolonization, degentrification, and willful resistance to the perpetuation and dissemination of centuries-old colonial myth-making. It is a lived experience. It is a breaking open of the self to a world alive with people, animals, ancestors, and spirits, who are all busy with the daily labours of healing—healing not only themselves, but their individual pieces of the network, of the web that connects them all together. Enter and be changed.

September 21, 2020
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