Northwords is a cross-platform project that takes urban Canadian writers Joseph Boyden, Sarah Leavitt, Rabindranth Maharaj, Noah Richler, and Alissa York to some of the world's most extreme environments, to join the conversation about the north.
Introduced by award-winning journalist and radio personality Shelagh Rogers, Northwords is a collection of stories written by acclaimed Canadian authors as they experienced one of Canada's most awe-inspiring northern national parks Torngat Mountains National Park, the country's newest national park, and a place steeped in geological and human history. The cross-platform project, which includes a documentary film that follows the authors as they explored the harsh and stunning terrain, had adventures, and created these new works, adds to the continuing story of the North. The stories explore the idea of the North, and what happens when the country's best writers tackle its most overwhelmingly beautiful places.
Taking advantage of opportunities presented by transmedia integration, users can experience the stories in the writers' own words through Anansi Digital, as well as learn more about their processes and what inspired them through interactive content. Users will have access to film and audio content, and together, these related media will create a larger story web, allowing the audience to truly immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and stories of the North.
About the authors
Joseph Boyden's first novel, Three Day Road, was selected for the Today Show Book Club, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year Award, the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award, and the McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. His second novel, Through Black Spruce, was awarded the Scotiabank Giller Prize and named the Canadian Booksellers Association Fiction Book of the Year; it also earned him the CBA’s Author of the Year Award. His most recent novel, The Orenda, won Canada Reads and was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Boyden divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana.
NOAH RICHLER produced and hosted documentaries for BBC Radio for many years before returning, in 1998, to his native Canada to join the National Post. He has worked in bars, mines, newspapers, and the theatre; as a prospector’s assistant in the Yukon and on a lobster boat in Nova Scotia. He is an author, journalist, cultural critic, an occasional broadcaster and, since 2014, the Literary & Ideas Curator of Toronto’s Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity. He has won two gold National Magazine Awards and is the author of This Is My Country, What’s Yours? A Literary Atlas of Canada, which won the 2007 British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and was picked in 2010 as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by Macleans news magazine, and What We Talk About When We Talk About War, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing.
Sarah Leavitt has earned international acclaim as a writer and cartoonist. Her first book, Tangles: A story about Alzheimer's, my mother, and me, was published in Canada, the US, UK, Germany, France and Korea and a feature-length animation is in development. In 2010, it became the first work of graphic literature to be a finalist for the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize. It was also a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2010, the winner of the 2011 CBC Bookie Award for Best Comic or Graphic Novel, a finalist for the 2011 Alberta Readers' Choice Award and a finalist for the 2011 Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. Her prose and comics have appeared in anthologies, magazines and newspapers in Canada, the US and the UK. Sarah teaches comics classes in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Rabindranath Maharaj, a Trinidadian teacher and journalist, wrote several of the stories in The Interloper during the year he spent in Fredericton. He now writes and teaches in Toronto.
Alissa York has lived all over Canada and now makes her home in Winnipeg with her husband, writer / filmmaker / publisher Clive Holden. In 1999 her short fiction won the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award. Later that year Arbeiter Ring published Alissa's first collection of stories, Any Given Power, which won the Mary Scorer Award for the Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher, and was short-listed for the Danuta Gleed Award. Film rights to three connected stories from the collection have been optioned by Buffalo Gal Pictures. In 2001, Alissa won the John Hirsch Award for the Most Promising Manitoba Writer. Her novel Effigy was nominated in 2007 for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Shelagh Rogers began her career at CKWS Radio and Television in Kingston, Ontario in country music, news and TV weather.
In the early 1980’s, she joined CBC Radio in Ottawa. She moved to Toronto in 1984. In 1986, she interviewed Peter Gzowski about his plans to raise money for literacy. Peter then invited her to read the listener mail on his program Morningside. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
For ten years, she was host of The Arts Tonight, part of the wildly popular Humline Trio on Basic Black and sidekick to the inimitable Max Ferguson. In 1995, Peter Gzowski created a new role for Shelagh: Deputy Host of Morningside. In September of 2000, Rogers began two years as host of CBC Radio's flagship current affairs program This Morning. Her morning time slot morphed into Sounds Like Canada, which is now based out of Vancouver.
Shelagh adds her voice to a number of causes including mental illness awareness, homelessness, homeless youth training. She has been a literacy volunteer for more than two decades, continuing to make real Peter’s dream of ensuring everyone in this richly blessed country has the right to literacy. In her spare time, being gifted with surplus adipose tissue, she is a passionate ocean swimmer and doesn’t feel the cold at all.
Shelagh is the author of Canada, a book of photographs by the great Winnipeg photographer Mike Grandmaison. It’s published by Key Porter. She also contributed to Nobody’s Mother, a collection of essays by and about women who haven’t had children.
Three recent honours mean a lot to Shelagh: the John Drainie Award for Significant Contribution to Canadian Broadcasting, an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Western Ontario and a Certificate for best spring-roll maker and egg cracker from Mitzi’s Sister Restaurant in Toronto.
Other titles by Joseph Boyden
Conversations about Indigenous Manhood
Acting for Freedom
Fifty Years of Civil Liberties in Canada
Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
A Penguin Lives Biography
Born With A Tooth
100 Years of Celebrity, Power and Personality
Wabusk Outside the Wire / Nanook Looking In
A Northwords Story