There’s a resurgence of Indigenous storytelling happening across Turtle Island. Through a variety of media, voices are getting stronger and stories are reaching farther. More Indigenous people are bolstering culture through stories and connecting with their roots, and more non-Indigenous people are learning about those crucial experiences.
Literature has been an important way to document those stories and teach others about Indigenous life. Many prominent and emerging authors are producing stellar work year after year. Books have been a substantially viable medium in accomplishing that. But in the world of Indigenous fiction, there’s been a largely untapped resource: the audiobook.
My good friend Rick Harp pointed this out to me earlier this year. While a handful of prolific authors has successfully adapted their books into audio, most stories remain in physical print. So he wants to start a new trend in Indigenous storytelling to change that.
Rick has chosen my first book, Midnight Sweatlodge, as his first project in this movement. He’s started a Kickstarter campaign to raise needed the money to turn it into an audiobook. It’s an ambitious, enterprising proposal, and I’m honoured and humbled he wants to use my fiction as his initial source material. For those of you unfamiliar with the original book, Midnight Sweatlodge is a collection of short stories that was published by Theytus Books in 2011. You can read more about it here.
Rick is a veteran journalist and a media visionary. With a wealth of experience at APTN, CBC, and other media outlets, he knows the importance of stories in keeping Indigenous culture at the forefront of our collective psyche. He’s the founder of mediaINDIGENA, the online multimedia magazine, and with all his experience and expertise, I’m confident he will do the stories I’ve written justice with his own voice.
So please check out the video he produced below, and visit the Kickstarter link. I hope you’ll consider supporting this exciting project!
Nearly three months after its initial release, Midnight Sweatlodge is headed for a second printing. I’m not sure exactly how many people have picked up copies by this point, but the good news is there’ll be lots more out there. On that note, I’m happy to announce a few more reading dates over the next month. The above poster is for tomorrow’s event at the University of Toronto. It was organized by the brilliant and talented Cherie Dimaline and features the amazing Lee Maracle. So far I’ve had the honour of reading with some legendary Aboriginal authors on this tour, and that greatly humbles me. If you’re in Toronto, I hope you can make it!
I’m also thrilled to be part of McGill University‘s Aboriginal Awareness Week in Montreal. Check out the schedule here. I’ll read a story from Midnight Sweatlodge then have a little Q & A with students/community members. The McGill bookstore will have copies for sale. And the week after, I’m returning to Winnipeg to be part of Thin Air – the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. Check out this link for my schedule. The organizers are also in the process of lining up a class visit or two while I’m there.
Many of you have been wondering about a “hometown” event in Wasauksing/Parry Sound. I can tell you something is in the works for October – stay tuned for a formal announcement. I also hope to bring the book to Edmonton or Calgary in November, and I’m crossing my fingers for a visit to British Columbia in the new year. If you’re interested in booking an event, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having this book out there has been a dream come true. When it was coming together, I fantasized about being able to do an actual “tour” to promote it, but I didn’t think it would actually happen. I can’t explain how excited I am to take these stories on the road. I want to thank you all for your interest and support, and I have to give a huge shout out to my employer-by-day and the publisher for letting me explore these options. Miigwetch!
With Winnipeg in the books, we now have the next Canadian city in our sights locked in for a Midnight Sweatlodge launch: Ottawa. This is a quasi-hometown show for me, as I’ve lived in the Capital for the past 10 months. I’m beyond thrilled to be able to read to the vibrant and eclectic community here, so I hope you’re able to attend. Here are the details:
What: Midnight Sweatlodge Ottawa Launch
When: Tuesday, August 9th, 2011, 7-9PM
Where: SAW Gallery, 67 Nicholas St.
Who: Waubgeshig Rice, Vera Wabegijig, Lisa Marie Naponse, and other performers TBA
I’m honoured to be joined on stage by writer/artist Vera Wabegijig and singer/songwriter Lisa Marie Naponse. I hope to add a couple more performers/artists to the bill in the next couple of weeks. You can also check the Facebook event page for updates. You’ll be able to buy your own copy at the launch.
Readings have been confirmed for Toronto, Montreal, and Parry Sound/Wasauksing before the summer’s out. Dates and venues will be announced soon. Also, I’ll be reading from Midnight Sweatlodge and taking part in panel discussions at this year’s Winnipeg International Writers Festival at the end of September. I can’t wait to be able to share some of these stories in Winnipeg again.
In the meantime, check your local book store for a copy, and if they don’t have it, ask them to order it. You can also get one through the Theytus website or from me. I’m hugely grateful for your interest and support. Miigwetch.
By the way, Midnight Sweatlodge is now intercontinental. Here’s one of my best friends Geoff reading it on a train to Paris.