Creative Non-fiction

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An Honest Woman
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian;

 An Honest Woman by Jonina Kirton confronts us with beauty and ugliness in the wholesome riot that is sex, love, and marriage. From the perspective of a mixed-race woman, Kirton engages with Simone de Beauvoir and Donald Trump to unravel the norms of femininity and sexuality that continue to adhere today.

Kirton recalls her own upbringing, during which she was told to find a good husband who would “make an honest woman” out of her. Exploring the lives of many women, including her mother, her contemporaries, and well-known sex-crime stories such as the case of Elisabeth Fritzl, Kirton mines the personal to loosen the grip of patriarchal and colonial impositions. 

An Honest Woman explores the many ways the female body is shaped by questions that have been too political to ask: What happens when a woman decides to take her sexuality into her own hands, dismissing cultural norms and the expectations of her parents? How is a young woman’s sexuality influenced when she is perceived as an “exotic” other? Can a woman reconnect with her Indigenous community by choosing Indigenous lovers? 

Daring and tender in their honesty and wisdom, these poems challenge the perception of women’s bodies as glamorous and marketable commodities and imagine an embodied female experience that accommodates the role of creativity and a nurturing relationship with the land.

Reviews
“Jonina Kirton is courageously honest about her life experiences as a female of Indigenous and immigrant ancestry. Many poems resonate deeply, as we identify with her personal quest to figure out who she is, and the unacceptable things done to her. Her raw honesty is unsettling and uncomfortable, because it can be our truth too. Her poems depict devaluation and dehumanization, grieving, lessons learned. Her poems offer important insights as to why there are thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women.” — Senator Lillian E. Dyck

“When writing from the voice of between, writer and reader have no place to hide. Assumptions and camouflage fall away. Murdered, missing, and violated women and girl voices have been silenced. The story lethally repeats. Kirton picks over how she was raised familially and culturally like a crime scene. Too, she affirms, ‘I have been here forever and I will rise again and again.’ Tough, eloquent, revelatory, these poems are the very ones we are desperately in need of.” — Betsy Warland, author of Oscar of Between: A Memoir of Identity and Ideas

“I’m sure people have been looking at me strangely every time I gasp, but I can’t glance away from the page for even a second to notice. Some of the poems end sharply, with a punch; some deliberately leave me searching for the next line; others show the repetition of heartbreaking cycles of violence and oppression, but offer a portrayal of resilience, too.” — All Lit Up!

Educator Information
This book would be useful for Women's Studies, Creative Writing, English Language Arts, Poetry, and English courses.  Recommended for grades 11-12 and university-college students.  

Please be advised, this book contains explicit sexual references and references to sexual and physical abuse.

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104 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

 

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$16.95

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Clifford: A Memoir, A Fiction, A Fantasy, A Thought Experiment
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Cree;

I open my eyes in the darkness, laying on my side, half my vision is of the earth and shadows; the other is of the sky, treetops, and stars. I should write Clifford’s story. The thought emerges fully formed . . . The thought dissipates. I close my eyes and the earth and the sky disappear. The warmth of my sleeping bag wraps around me and sleep pulls me under into that half-world where reality and fantasy mingle in a place where coherent thoughts disintegrate.

When Harold Johnson returns to his childhood home in a northern Saskatchewan Indigenous community for his brother Clifford’s funeral, the first thing his eyes fall on is a chair. It stands on three legs, the fourth broken off and missing. So begins a journey through the past, a retrieval of recollections that have too long sat dormant. Moving from the old family home to the log cabin, the garden, and finally settling deep in the forest surrounding the property, his mind circles back, shifting in time and space, weaving in and out of memories of his silent, powerful Swedish father; his formidable Cree mother, an expert trapper and a source of great strength; and his brother Clifford, a precocious young boy who is drawn to the mysterious workings of the universe.

As the night unfolds, memories of Clifford surface in Harold’s mind’s eye: teaching his younger brother how to tie his shoelaces; jousting on a bicycle without rubber wheels; building a motorcycle. Memory, fiction, and fantasy collide, and Clifford comes to life as the scientist he was meant to be, culminating in his discovery of the Grand Unified Theory.

Exquisitely crafted, funny, visionary, and wholly moving, Clifford is an extraordinary work for the way it defies strict category and embraces myriad forms of storytelling. To read it is to be immersed in a home, a family, a community, the wider world, the entire cosmos.

Reviews
“Clifford is a luminous, genre-bending memoir. Heartache and hardship are no match for the disarming whimsy, the layered storytelling shot through with love. The power of land, the pull of family, the turbulence of poverty are threads woven together with explorations of reality, tackling truth with a trickster slant.” — Eden Robinson, author of Son of a Trickster

“Clifford is a story only Harold Johnson could tell. By turns soft and harsh, intellectual and emotional, Johnson weaves truth, fiction, science, and science fiction into a tapestry that is rich with meaning and maybes. A natural storyteller, Johnson seeks imagined pasts and futurity with equal parts longing and care. This work allows readers and writers the possibility of new and ancient modes of storytelling.” — Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie

“Harold R. Johnson is a wonderful writer, and Clifford is his best work yet. For fans of Jack Finney and Richard Matheson, this terrific book is a wonderfully human tale of memory both bitter and sweet, as well as a poignant exploration of time’s hold over all of us.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award–winning author of Quantum Night

“Clifford is unlike anything I’ve read — it is at once a story of science and magic, love and loss, and a case for the infinite potential of humanity. It is a book of profound wisdom — an unpacking of the deepest truths of science in an effort to transform the pain of grief and regret into healing and forgiveness.” — Patti Laboucane-Benson, author of The Outside Circle

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264 pages | 5.25" x 8.00"

 

 

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Finding John Rae
Authors:
Alice Jane Hamilton
Format: Paperback
John Rae was known as the “Arctic Fox” for his ability to trek vast distances in a short time across the Arctic. This creative nonfiction biography of the celebrated Arctic explorer begins in 1854 when, on a mapping expedition to the Boothia Peninsula, Rae discovers the missing link in the Northwest Passage and the fate of the missing Franklin Expedition — learning from Inuit hunters that Franklin’s ships had been beset by ice, and that the crew, starving in the cold, had resorted to cannibalism. When the Scottish-born scientist and Hudson’s Bay Company Chief Factor reports the details in private to the British Admiralty, his statement is secretly but deliberately released to the newspapers. Led by such well-known figures as Charles Dickens and Sir John Franklin’s widow, much of the population rises against Rae and his Inuit informants. Alice Jane Hamilton goes on to explore how Rae, through bitter disappointment and soaring hope, rebuilds his life, all the while defending the integrity of the Arctic natives who brought him the evidence of cannibalism.

Reviews
"Alice Jane Hamilton skilfully blends fact and fiction to breathe new life into the thrilling story of John Rae, the most successful, and yet least celebrated, Arctic explorer of the 19th century. " — Tom Muir, author of Orkney Folk Tales

Finding John Rae brings one of the greatest, and most under-appreciated, 19th-century Arctic explorers vividly to life.” — John Wilson, author of Discovering the Arctic

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228 pages | 9.00" x 6.00"

This book is creative nonfiction, a genre of writing that presents factually accurate narratives using literary style and technique (creativity).
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$21.95

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Louis Riel: Let Justice Be Done
Authors:
David Doyle
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Métis;
Louis Riel, prophet of the new world and founder of the Canadian province of Manitoba, has challenged Canadian politics, history and religion since the early years of Confederation. In Canada's most important and controversial state trial, Riel was found guilty of "high treason," sentenced to hang and executed on November 16, 1885. With 2017 being Canada's sesquicentennial of the initial Confederation of four British colonies, and with the question of reconciliation on the minds of many, the celebrations must recognize that the brutal execution of Louis Riel remains Canada's "great divide." Was the 1885 execution of Riel the hanging of a traitor? Or the legal murder of a patriot and statesman? Tried in a territorial court, Riel called out for justice, for an "inquiry into his career." To date, no such inquiry has been called. The spiritual and political father of the Métis nation and Western Canada remains branded a traitor to Canada.

In this imaginative re-enactment of his trial, Riel is finally given the opportunity to respond to his conviction for treason, offering his side of the story at Batoche and Red River.

Reviews
“In this era of reconciliation, Louis Riel: Let Justice Be Done is a tour de force. Exposing the combined pillars of racism and colonialism, Doyle assists in the decolonization of Canadian history during her sesquicentennial commemorations and celebrations.”
Venerable Dr. John A. (Ian) MacKenzie

“David Doyle’s advocacy, both in his writings and presentations, appropriates nothing from the Métis or their culture, rather it supplements it both for them and for all Canadians.”
George & Terry Goulet, authors of The Trial of Louis Riel

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200 pages | 9.00" x 6.00" | 16 b&w photos

This book is creative nonfiction, a genre of writing that presents factually accurate narratives using literary style and technique (creativity).
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$24.95

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One Native Life
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Indigenous Canadian; First Nations; Anishinaabeg; Ojibway;

In One Native Life, Wagamese looks back down the road he has travelled in reclaiming his identity and talks about the things he has learned as a human being, a man and an Ojibway in his fifty-two years. Whether he's writing about playing baseball, running away with the circus, attending a sacred bundle ceremony or meeting Pierre Trudeau, he tells these stories in a healing spirit. Through them, he celebrates the learning journey his life has been.

Free of rhetoric and anger despite the horrors he has faced, Wagamese’s prose resonates with a peace that has come from acceptance. Acceptance is an Aboriginal principle, and he has come to see that we are all neighbours here. One Native Life is his tribute to the people, the places and the events that have allowed him to stand in the sunshine and celebrate being alive.

Reviews
"One Native Life contains sixty-five stories that are divided into four books: Ahki (Earth), Ishskwaday (Fire),Nibi (Water), andIshpiming (Universe). From this diverse selection emerge accounts not only of disappointment and racial discrimination but also of the transformative power of love and caring." - Sean Carleton, The British Columbia Quarterly

Educator Information
Suggested Grades: 9-12
ABPBC

Grades 10-12 BC English First Peoples Resource for units on First Peoples' Story and Place-Conscious Learning.

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272 pages | 5.63" x 8.75"

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$19.95

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Otter's Journey through Indigenous Language and Law
Format: Paperback

Otter’s Journey employs the Anishinaabe tradition of storytelling to explore how Indigenous language revitalization can inform the emerging field of Indigenous legal revitalization. Indigenous languages and laws need bodies to live in. Learning an endangered language and a suppressed legal system are similar experiences. When we bring language back to life, it becomes a medium for developing human relationships. Likewise, when laws are written on people’s hearts, true revitalization has occurred.

Storytelling has the capacity to address feelings and demonstrate themes – to illuminate beyond argument and theoretical exposition. In Otter’s Journey, Lindsay Keegitah Borrows follows Otter, a dodem (clan) relation from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation, on a journey across Anishinaabe, Inuit, Māori, Coast Salish, and Abenaki territories, through a narrative of Indigenous resurgence. While Otter’s Journey is guided by a literal truth, it also splices and recombines real-world events and characters.

Through her engaging protagonist, Borrows reveals that the processes, philosophies, and practices flowing from Indigenous languages and laws can emerge from under the layers of colonial laws, policies, and languages to become guiding principles in people’s contemporary lives. We need the best of all people’s teachings to lead us into the future.

Students and scholars in a wide range of subfields within Indigenous studies will find this book of considerable appeal, as will scholars and students of law, literature, education, and language studies, and those with an interest in Indigenous methodologies.

Reviews
"Otter’s Journey holds the potential to change the way people think about and, in turn, talk about Indigenous laws and Indigenous language acquisition and reacquisition ... The elemental way in which legal storytelling is embedded in the text makes Indigenous laws and language normative, not as things to be justified or even accommodated. Eloquent, poetic, and lyrical, this book marks a rare and even generational shift in the dialogue by and about Indigenous peoples." - Tracey Lindberg, author of Birdie, and professor of law and University Research Chair in Indigenous Laws, Legal Orders and Traditions at the University of Ottawa


"Otter's Journey offers a vibrant account of the possibilities and importance of Indigenous language revitalization. Weaving oral narrative, prose fiction, and autobiography, Lindsay Borrows models a scholarly practice grounded in family, community, and storytelling. This is an important academic contribution – and also a new work of Indigenous literature by an emerging writer of considerable skill." - Keavy Martin, author of Stories in a New Skin: Approaches to Inuit Literature, and associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta

Additional Information
236 pages | 6.00" x 9.00"

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$32.95

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