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Nathan Adler, Bevann Fox, jaye simpson among Indigenous Voices Awards winners

The nine winners of the Indigenous Voices Awards were announced Monday on National Indigenous Peoples Day in a virtual ceremony. The winners in nine categories received a total of $39,000.

“This celebration is meant to be an encouragement for all emerging Indigenous writers to keep writing. In this historical moment, your words are more necessary than ever,” co-chairs Deanna Reder, Sophie McCall, and Sarah Henzi of Simon Fraser University said in a release.

Nathan Adler, a writer of Ojibwe and Jewish heritage and a member of the Lac Des Milles Lacs First Nation, was awarded the $5,000 award for published fiction in English for Ghost Lake (Kegedonce Press), a collection of inter-related horror stories that the jurors called “an absolute page-turner” in their citation.

Bevann Fox, a member of the Pasqua First Nation, won the $5,000 award for published nonfiction in English for Genocidal Love: A Life After Residential School (University of Regina Press), a fictionalized autobiography that the jurors called “writing [that] will help others understand the power of early trauma to lure people into what can only be labelled ‘genocidal love.’ And it will also give them hope that they can come through.”

Amanda Peters, a writer of Mi’kmaq and L’nu heritage and a member of the Glooscap First Nation, won the $2,000 award for unpublished prose in English for the short story “Waiting for the Long Night Moon.”

jaye simpson, a poet of Oji-Cree Saulteaux heritage and a member of the Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, won the $5,000 award for published poetry in English for it was never going to be okay (Nightwood Editions), a debut poetry collection the jurors noted is “a deeply heartfelt and powerful love letter to NDN kids in care, trans youth, Indigiqueer kin, and many more.”

Samantha Martin-Bird, a member of the Peguis First Nation, was awarded the $2,000 award for unpublished poetry in English for “the indian (adultery) act & other poems.”

Émilie Monnet, an Anishinaabe poet, won the $5,000 award for published prose in French for Okinum (Éditions Les Herbes Rouges).

Shayne Michael, a member of the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, won the $5,000 award for published poetry in French for Fif et sauvage (Éditions Perce-Neige).

If I Go Missing (James Lorimer), a graphic novel by Ojibwe teenager Brianna Jonnie and Saulteaux author Nahanni Shingoose (Ojibwe) and illustrated by Nakawe artist Neal Shannacappo of the Rolling River First Nation, was awarded the $5,000 prize for published graphic novels, comics, and illustrated books in any language.

Zacharias Kunuk, a writer of Inuit heritage, won the $5,000 award for published work in an Indigenous language for The Shaman’s Apprentice: Inuktitut (Inhabit Media), a picture book that the jurors called “a wonderful contribution to Inuit storytelling traditions in Inuktitut for all ages.”

The jurors for this year’s awards were Jordan Abel, Joanne Arnott, Carleigh Baker, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Michelle Coupal, Margery Fee, Marie-Andrée Gill, Francis Langevin, Otoniya Juliane Okot Bitek, Katherena Vermette, and Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.