Turtle Island Reads

QWF writer/facilitators and KSS language arts teachers after three writing workshops on April 8, 2019. Left to right: Domenica
Martinello, Greg Santos, Krissy Goodleaf, Rainbow Jacobs, Heather White, Larissa Andrusyshyn

QWF is proud to be a partner in “Turtle Island Reads,” an initiative that celebrates stories written by and about Indigenous Canadians. Now in its third year, the project’s objective is to connect readers with Indigenous stories.

Each year, Turtle Island Reads features three books of fiction written by Indigenous Canadian authors, as well as three advocates, each of whom acts as a “champion” for one of the books.

The 2018-2019 Turtle Island Reads featured Young Adult novels for the first time.

  • Dayna Danger, a Métis visual artist based in Montreal, championed the graphic novel Will I See, by David A. Robertson.
  • Tracey Deer, a Mohawk filmmaker based in Kahnawake, championed the novel The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline.
  • Lucy Tulugarjuk, an Inuk actor, film director and throat singer based in Montreal, championed the novel Those Who Run In the Sky, by Aviaq Johnston.

In another innovation this year, five classes in Quebec were selected to read and discuss one of the books. The featured champions each visited one school to work with the students, and selected students participated with their teachers during the live event on April 8, 2019.

At the live event, the three advocates championed their chosen books and told the audience why Indigenous literature is personally important to them and why everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, needs to read these and other books.

QWF contributed a team of volunteers to mail a set of the three books to every public English-language secondary school in the province, and sent writer/faciliators to lead writing workshops for all of the participating classes (one in the Gaspé was done by videoconference).

The Turtle Island Reads initiative is a partnership between CBC Montreal, LEARN, Quebec Writers’ Federation, CODE NGO and McGill Faculty of Education as well as McGill University’s Social Equity and Diversity Education Office.

Read more about Turtle Island Reads in 2017. Check out these two articles from the CBC about Turtle Island Reads in 2017:

Turtle Island Reads helps spread word about Indigenous literature

Turtle Island Reads audience picks Richard Wagamese’s Indian Horse

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