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Moon of the Crusted Snow

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I’m very excited to announce that my next novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, will be published by ECW Press in the fall of 2018. It’s a post-apocalyptic thriller that takes place in an isolated First Nation in northern Ontario. I posted a story synopsis on my Facebook page that you can read below:

When I started developing this idea a couple of years ago, I originally intended it as a short story. But the more I thought about it, the more it grew. I began writing in September 2015 during the two-week Indigenous Writers Program at the Banff Centre, and I’ve been able to keep a steady writing momentum over the past year thanks to kind grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. My employer, CBC Ottawa, has graciously granted me leaves of absence to accommodate the creation of this novel. And just this fall, ECW acquired the publishing rights. I’m extremely grateful to these organizations for this opportunity.

Moon of the Crusted Snow is a novel about the end of the world as we know it. I described it above very simply as a “post-apocalyptic thriller”, and that’s likely how it will be billed going forward. But it’s much more than a story about the apocalypse and its fallout. It’s about resilience, self-discovery, and renewal. Without giving too much away, an important underlying theme in the story is how one community’s collapse could be another community’s new beginning.

But there is a great deal of darkness through which the characters in the story have to find light. It’s a harrowing struggle through the harshest season. The unwavering desire to survive is what has always drawn me to post-apocalyptic novels, and some of those classic stories inspired me to write my own, but through an Anishinaabe lens. I hope you’re able to read it when it’s published. Stay tuned for more details in the lead-up. Miigwech!

Legacy

I’m extremely pleased to announce that my new novel Legacy will be published in the Spring of 2014 by Theytus Books. Theytus published my debut collection of short stories called Midnight Sweatlodge in 2011. Their new managing editor, Paul Seesequasis, has tremendous energy and an exciting vision for Legacy, and I’m really happy to be working with them again. Here’s a brief synopsis:

In the winter of 1989, Eva Gibson is a university student living in downtown Toronto. She’s homesick for her community in northern Ontario, but she’s determined to get her education to one day return home and serve her fellow Anishinaabe people. After a rare night out with friends, she is beaten to death by a man whom she met at a bar. It’s a devastating loss for her siblings, who continue to mourn the violent loss of their parents just three years earlier. Tragedy becomes the Gibson family’s legacy. Back on the rez, Eva’s brothers and sister struggle to cope with their losses and redefine their legacy in the years after her death. Some turn to ceremony; some turn to vice. All the while, they contend with a creeping sentiment of revenge.

More to come…

Putting words together

Right now I’m sitting on a train on the way from Toronto to Ottawa on a cloudy and rainy summer day. It’s got free wireless internet so I figured I’d take a moment to update this space. Sitting here I realized I haven’t really explained to a lot of people what exactly I’m up to at the moment (career-wise) so here it goes.

I’m officially on leave from the CBC for the summer to work on a writing project funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. I applied for one of their Creative Writing grants about a year ago, and found out last fall that I got it. I told my boss at CBC Manitoba about it and he was very supportive. The only stipulation was I’d have to go on leave for a couple of months to get the project done. We agreed back then that June and July would be the best months to take the leave. I planned on doing it back home in Ontario.

As spring rolled around, it became clearer to me that if I spent those two months back home, I wouldn’t want to return to Winnipeg. I’d been in the city for four years at that point, and although I loved it, I was getting very homesick. I missed my family and friends a lot. So at the end of May I packed up my life in Winnipeg, rented a cargo van, and drove it back to central Ontario with the help of my brother Musky.

Now I spend my days writing. I’m doing it mostly in my home community of Wasauksing, with small stints in Toronto and Ottawa. Without going into too much detail, I’m working on a novel about an Anishinaabe family on the reserve who turns to the traditional ways to deal with a tragedy. Vague, I know, but I’m still developing the story so I don’t want to give too much away. It’s the second book I’ve worked on funded by the CCA. I received my first grant from them in 2004 to write The Midnight Sweatlodge, a collection of short stories that will be published early next year by Theytus Books and will be available everywhere.

Storytelling and writing have always been my biggest passion, so I guess right now I’m basically “living the dream”. I hope to return to CBC later this summer (I can’t say exactly where yet either because we’re still working out the details) because broadcast journalism is another huge passion of mine, and I love that field of work. Plus I’ll need to pay the bills somehow. Haha.

I want to say chi-miigwetch to everyone who has been so supportive with this decision. It’s not easy leaving a full-time job in a city you love, but it’s something I had to do to move on with the next chapter of my life. It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to what happens next. I will keep you posted on when exactly you can buy The Midnight Sweatlodge. Hopefully this new novel will someday see the light of day as well.

Peace and Love,
Waubgeshig

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