The 2014 winner of the prestigious RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, Thomas King, sits down for a riveting panel discussion with Aboriginal writers Lee Maracle, Ellen van Neerven and Samuel Wagan Watson about Indigenous writing traditions and contemporary Indigenous literature. CBC’s Waubgeshig Rice moderates.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its art funding and advisory body, and the Melbourne Writers Festival.
This event is part of CBC@IFOA, a curated series featuring some of the public broadcaster’s top hosts in conversation with renowned and debut authors.
Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter and photographer of Cherokee and Greek descent. For 50 years, he has worked as an activist for Native causes and has taught Native literature and history at universities across North America. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2004. King presents both his RBC Taylor Prize-winning book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, and his first literary novel in 15 years, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction finalist The Back of the Turtle.
Lee Maracle is the author of a number of award winning and critically acclaimed literary works and her work is published in anthologies and scholarly journals worldwide. She was born in North Vancouver and is a member of the Sto: Loh nation. The mother of four and grandmother of seven Maracle is currently an instructor at the University of Toronto. She is also the Traditional Teacher for First Nation’s House and is an instructor with the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. Maracle recently received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work promoting writing among Aboriginal Youth. She is the recipient of the 2014 Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the 2016 recipient of the Ann Green Award.
Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing, Ontario who developed a strong passion for storytelling as a child while learning about being Anishinaabe. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002, and has worked in a variety of media across Canada since. Along with reporting the news, he has produced television and radio documentaries and features for the CBC. He currently works as a video journalist for CBC News Ottawa. His debut novel, Legacy, was published by Theytus in the summer of 2014.
Ellen van Neerven is a writer of Aboriginal and Dutch descent whose work has appeared in many publications, including The Best of McSweeney’s, Voiceworks and Review of Australian Fiction. She currently lives in Brisbane where she works as an editor for the black&write! project at the State Library of Queensland. Van Neerven presents her debut novel and the winner of the 2013 David Unaipon Award, Heat and Light. Divided into three sections, it is inspired by the intersection of familial history, location and identity, and takes readers on a journey that is mythical, mystical and still achingly real.
Samuel Wagan Watson is an award-winning raconteur from the south-side of Brisbane who hails from an honourable ancestry of Birri, Munanjali, Gaelic and Germanic peoples. His poetry collection Smoke Encrypted Whispers won the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry and the New South Wales Premier’s Book of the Year. He has been commissioned to write for entities ranging from Brisbane City Council to the Japanese Aeronautical Exploration Agency. Watson is currently a full-time writer working on selected commissions and radio copy for Brisbane Indigenous Media Association. He presents his latest collection of poetry, Love Poems and Death Threats.