Mid-winter intermission

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It’s been a busy time since Moon of the Crusted Snow was published in the fall. But once winter arrived, I was able to slow everything down a bit and spend some quiet time with my wife and son. We’ve mostly stayed close to home here in Sudbury, which has been really nice and relaxing. It’s also been somewhat necessary to stay put, given the intense weather we’ve had here in northern Ontario so far this winter. So I’ve taken a bit of an intermission from writing over the past couple of months.

I travelled a lot over the fall to visit festivals and read at events to promote the new book. I also did a lot of writing in my spare time, hence no updates at this blog. But I did have one special opportunity that sort of reignited my interest to do a lot more personal writing here. To coincide with the release of Moon of the Crusted Snow, I was invited to serve as Writer-in-Residence for Open Book. It was a wonderful experience that allowed me to really reflect on writing that story, literary storytelling in general, and some of the issues I’ve grappled with as a Anishinaabe author. Here are the posts I wrote for Open Book over the month of October:

Binaakwe Giizis – Moon of Falling Leaves
Telling and Writing the End of the World
“How do you find time to write?”
Early Influences
My friend Richard
Uncomfortable Questions
Characters like family
Journalism and Fiction
We’ve always been here

Big thanks to the wonderful team at Open Book for that great opportunity. I will revisit some of those discussions in this space in the coming months. Needless to say the journey with this book has been an exciting one so far, and I’m very thankful for everyone who’s read it, and for those who have invited me to share it across the land.

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I also had many kind invitations to discuss the story in a variety of media. I’m honoured that many tremendous people took the time to chat with me about this book. Here are those interviews:

CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers
CBC Radio’s Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild
Can’t Lit with Dina Del Bucchia and Jen Sookfong Lee
Get Lit with Jamie Tennant
The Hamilton Review of Books with Andrew Wilmot
Black Gate: Adventures in Fantasy Literature with Brandon Crilly
Eden Mills Writers Festival Author Q & A with Anna Bowen
Book Box Love

Some generous reviewers and writers also took the time to offer their thoughts and analysis of Moon of the Crusted Snow, and to have it discussed in so many ways is a humbling and encouraging experience. Here are some of those articles:

Dystopian novel pays ‘homage to the everyday people on reserves across Canada’ (The Toronto Star)
Dystopian reservation fiction delivers (Winnipeg Free Press)
Moon of the Crusted Snow author Waubgeshig Rice and the stories that shaped him (Globe and Mail)
Kevin Hardcastle’s favourite Canadian book of 2018: Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice (CBC Books)
Foreword Reviews
Seattle Book Review

And to my greatest surprise, Moon of the Crusted Snow ended up on a few best-of-2018 lists. What an honour!

The Globe 100 (Globe and Mail)
2018 Books of the Year: Fiction (49th Shelf)
The 18 Best Books Of 2018 (Chatelaine)
The best Canadian fiction of 2018 (CBC Books)

I share all these links not just to draw attention to the book and the praise it may have received, but to provide a resource for future discussions about its characters, setting, literary elements, and more. The Moon of the Crusted Snow journey continues with more events and readings this spring. I’ll share details as they’re confirmed, and I promise to write more here. Miigwech!

Moon of the Crusted Snow has arrived

Moon of the Crusted Snow

While it’s already been on shelves in many stores for weeks, today is the official publication date for my new novel Moon of the Crusted Snow. I’m very happy to have this story out in the world, and I can’t wait to share it with more and more people as I travel across the land this fall. This book has been a labour of love for many years now, and it’s both a relief and a thrill to have it finished and available to readers everywhere. My sincerest thanks to my wonderful publisher ECW Press for making this dream come true. For those unfamiliar with this latest endeavour of mine, here’s a synopsis:

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.
The community leadearship loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.

In the lead-up to the book’s release, I had the privilege of attending festivals in Eden Mills, Toronto, and Kingston last month to read and discuss it with some great audiences. The response at these events was very overwhelming and heartwarming, and I’m honoured and humbled to be able to share this story in these ways. And this tour is just getting started; I have more events lined up for the rest of the fall.

Moon of the Crusted Snow Tour

Here are details for the remainder of those dates:

October 13-14 – Calgary Wordfest
October 18-20 – Vancouver Writers Festival
October 27 – Toronto International Festival of Authors
October 28 – Ottawa International Writers Festival
November 2 – Wordstock Sudbury
November 10 – Parry Sound Books
November 17 – McNally Robinson Winnipeg

And there’ll be more to come in the winter and spring! I’ll post updates here as well as on Facebook and Twitter as more readings and events are confirmed, so please follow those accounts for the latest.

To coincide with the book’s release, I’ve been invited by the great people at Open Book to serve as their Writer In Residence for the month of October. It’s an exciting opportunity to write about the story’s origin, some of its wider themes, my writing and storytelling background, my thoughts and experiences related to publishing and literature in Canada, and more. They kicked off my residency with a fun Q & A, and my first post went up yesterday. I plan to write at least ten more entries before the month’s over, so please visit the Open Book site regularly. Hopefully it’ll inspire me to write more on this here blog 😉

I’ll also likely share more articles and other media connected to the book in the coming months, including both positive and negative reviews in the spirit of balance and accountability (here’s a nice little one from Publisher’s Weekly). Because I spend most of my time on the questioning side of the mic, being interviewed is always a little strange for me, but I’m always happy to have the opportunity to talk about the things I love to do. So hopefully there’ll be some worthwhile insights and interesting anecdotes in those forthcoming articles and interviews.

Having Moon of the Crusted Snow available to the world is a dream come true. I’m very thankful for all the guidance and support I’ve received over the years to get here. The growing interest in this story is truly humbling. It’s an honour to be able to share it with you all. Chi-miigwech!

My new novel is here

Moon of the Crusted Snow

If you let your imagination go, some interesting ideas will emerge and float around in your head. They’ll come and go over time, but once in a while one of those ideas really sticks. It firmly plants itself in your psyche, increasingly commanding your attention. If you let your imagination nurture that little idea, it grows and grows until it’s all you contemplate whenever your mind is free.

Eventually that idea gets so big that it can’t stay in your head anymore. You have to unleash it in some form. And then this gestating idea becomes words on a screen. It expands and evolves in that form, and before long it’s something you grow to love and believe in. When it’s fully formed enough, you share it with others to see if it’s something you can nurture even more.

And then you go back to it, and let the idea mature and develop as it should. Sometimes you reshape and recreate it. That can take a really long time. But if you’re patient with yourself and committed to making your creation the best it can be, it eventually becomes ready for the next step. You develop the confidence and passion to share it with strangers, who decide that they want to share it more widely for you.

Then you work with others who also believe in your idea and want to make it beautiful and wonderful. That can also take a long time. But it’s worth the effort and the wait. After a lot of hard work, everyone comes together and decides that what was once a little idea in your head is now ready for the world.

And then you get to hold it in your hands.