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2020 Manitoba Book Awards Winners
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2020 Manitoba Book Awards Winners

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The Manitoba Book Awards were awarded on May 16. Congratulations to all the winners. Learn more at https://www.manitobabookawards.com/index.php/en/
Friends, Foes, and Furs

Friends, Foes, and Furs

George Nelson's Lake Winnipeg Journals, 1804–1822
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover

George Nelson (1786–1859) was a clerk for the North West Company whose unusually detailed and personal writings provide a compelling portrait of the people engaged in the golden age of the Canadian fur trade.

Friends, Foes, and Furs is a critical edition of Nelson's daily journals, supplemented with exciting anecdotes from his "Reminiscences," which were written after his retirement to Lower Canada. An introduction and annotations by Harry Duckworth place Nelson's material securely within the e …

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The North-West Is Our Mother

The North-West Is Our Mother

The Story of Louis Riel's People, the Métis Nation
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Hardcover

There is a missing chapter in the narrative of Canada’s Indigenous peoples—the story of the Métis Nation, a new Indigenous people descended from both First Nations and Europeans

Their story begins in the last decade of the eighteenth century in the Canadian North-West. Within twenty years the Métis proclaimed themselves a nation and won their first battle. Within forty years they were famous throughout North America for their military skills, their nomadic life and their buffalo hunts.

The …

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Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.

Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.

A Memoir
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback

Winner of the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
A beautiful and haunting memoir of kinship and culture rediscovered.

Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul where she spent four months getting to know other adoptees, as well as her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. At the guesthouse for transnational adoptees whe …

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Excerpt

Minutes after I was born, my grandfather—that is, my father's father—gifted me a name. Then he signed a contract that struck me from the family registry. That ripped me away from my mother as she frantically counted my wrinkled and already-reaching fingers and toes. She pressed her mouth to my wet hair only once before I was taken away, what remained of the salty wax slip of her own insides thick and earthy on her lips. 

For thirty years (and still to this day in the mouths of most), my name was replaced by one so expected it might have been Jessica or Meghan or Kimberley. Names of varying degrees of impossibility to Korean speakers. Mine is a name that I answer to, but that I wear only because I'm accustomed to it. Because others are accustomed to it. Not because it suits me. Early on, I was scrubbed until my skin turned pink. I was programmed to speak English, then French, and to place my fork and knife side by side on my plate when I had finished eating. I disappeared into a life of cream-of-mushroom casseroles, Irish setters, and patent leather Sunday school shoes. I was buried under Bach concertos, feathered bangs, and maple sugar candy until my own mother wouldn't have recognized me. 

But of course I couldn't  stay missing forever, and around 2009, I was reborn somewhere in the dusky November mountains of Seoul. I came back to life with a long wooden spoon in one hand and flat silver chopsticks in the other. I came back when my Korean father called me by name, when my Korean mother called me daughter. When my youngest sister called me unni, older sister, and I understood what that meant. 

I learned by mimicking others. I tried to fall in line with a culture practised by people who use given names only for those younger than themselves. I peeled giant apples in one long curl. I recognized spiciness by the redness in the bowl. I came back to life when all the ginkgo berries had fallen and the entire ountry of South Korea was filled with their cutting scent. I came back to life when all that remained were persimmons clinging to bare branches. 

While my homecoming was something to be celebrated, it also planted lingering heartache once all the soju had been drunk and all the kisses had been given and received. I watched my parents, reunited after being torn apart on the day I was taken, fumble through what could have been our lives, if only. They came together, reclaimed the love they'd lost decades earlier. They thought they'd outsmarted fate. I thought I was happy. 

I watched my own unni's life crack and splinter and shatter when it became clear that our father had always been pathetic and her mother had sometimes been both weak and cruel. She tried, my unni, to love me despite all the disloyalty that went into my making, but in the end we had nothing to hold on to. And although there is even less between us now, I still whisper stories to her into the sky, fallen eyelashes and dandelion fluff. Confessions and prayers to an older sister, related but not really. Wishes that, one day, everything will be forgiven.

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St. Boniface Elegies

St. Boniface Elegies

edition:Paperback
tagged : canadian

In four sections, St. Boniface Elegies traces a poet's relationships with her family and her community through poems about travel, love, illness, work, and the writing life.

The first section, "Submission," focuses on the importance of place: the Cape Cod poems describe a holiday taken in the midst of a period of grieving, while the Irish poems delve into the poet's relationship to her ancestors, the Banff poems look at the irony of an injury to the writer's hand while away at a writing retreat, …

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ROMANS/SNOWMARE

ROMANS/SNOWMARE

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : canadian

Both a daybook of anti-capitalist ideation and a homoerotic reinvention of the prairie long poem, this unique debut resonates with a love of language and experiment.

Written from within the strictures of the working day, the book's title poem issues from a practice of daily collage, comprising the first layer of a potentially interminable personal epic. As a lyric counterbalance, a centralsection follows a punk band throughout dozens of countries connected by and subjugated to capital.

These poems …

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The Grizzly Mother

The Grizzly Mother

edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover

Book two in the award-winning Mothers of Xsan series, The Grizzly Mother uses striking illustration and lyrical language to bring the poetry of the Xsan ecosystem to life.

“spellbinding”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs …

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This Has Nothing to Do With You

This Has Nothing to Do With You

edition:Paperback

Winner of the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

When Melony Barnett's mother commits a violent murder, Mel is left struggling with the loss of her parents and her future. For more than two years, she drifts around the continent, trying to carve out a life that has nothing to do with her past, before returning to her Northern Ontario home and adopting a rescue dog?a mastiff with a tragic history. As she struggles to help the dog heal and repair her relationship with her brother, Matt, she begins …

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This Place

This Place

150 Years Retold
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council …

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Excerpt

I have never liked the phrase, “History is written by the victors.” I understand the idea behind it – that those in power will tell and retell stories in whatever ways flatter them best, until those stories harden into something called “history.” But just because stories are unwritten for a time, doesn’t mean they’ll be unwritten forever. And just because stories don’t get written down, doesn’t mean they’re ever lost. We carry them in our minds, our hearts, our very bones. We honour them by passing them on, letting them live on in others, too.

That’s exactly what this anthology does. It takes stories our people have been forced to pass on quietly, to whisper behind hands like secrets, and retells them loudly and unapologetically for our people today. It finally puts our people front and centre on our own lands. Inside these pages are the incredible, hilarious heroics of Annie Bannatyne, who refused to let settlers disrespect Metis women in Red River. There’s the heartbreaking, necessary tale of Nimkii and Teddy, heroic youth in care who fight trauma and colonialism as hard as they possibly can in impossible circumstances. And there are many more—all important, all enlightening. All of these stories deserve to be retold, remembered and held close.

As I was reading, I thought a lot about the idea of apocalypse, or the end of the world as we know it. Indigenous writers have pointed out that, as Indigenous people, we all live in a post-apocalyptic world. The world as we knew it ended the moment colonialism started to creep across these lands. But we have continued to tell our stories, we have continued to adapt. Despite everything, we have survived.

Every Indigenous person’s story is, in a way, a tale of overcoming apocalypse. The Canadian laws and policies outlined at the beginning of each story have tried their hardest to beat us down, to force us to assimilate and give up our culture, yet here we are. We have survived the apocalypse. When you think about it that way, every Indigenous person is a hero simply for existing. The people named in these stories are all heroes, inspired by love of their people and culture to do amazing, brave things—but so are the unnamed people who raised them, who taught them, who supported them and stood with them. Our communities are full of heroes.

That’s why this anthology is so beautiful and so important. It tells tales of resistance, of leadership, of wonder and pain, of pasts we must remember and futures we must keep striving towards, planting each story like a seed deep inside of us. It’s our responsibility as readers to carry and nourish those seeds, letting them grow inside as we go on to create our own stories, live our own lives, and become our own heroes. As you read, consider: how are you a hero already? And what will your story be?

—Alicia Elliott

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