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September 13, 2019
With over 200 authors delivering readings and having conversations, alongside a marketplace of more than 150 publishers and booksellers, The Word On The Street 2019 has so much to offer it’s nearly overwhelming. Having a hard time planning your day? Fear not! We’re laying out six bundles of must-sees according to your interests in our WOTStrology series—think of it like a choose-your-own-adventure, or better yet, a literary horoscope.
So tell us—WOTS your sign?
If you want to engage with and immerse yourself in the rich storytelling and worldview of Tkaronto and Turtle Island in general, the Indigenous Voices track is for you! Read on to hear our hand-picked suggestions for all the Treaty People out there.
Whether you’re looking for poignant memoir, fantastic fiction, sharp-edged poetry, or edifying guides to social activism, this stage has everything you need. Come to hear writers like Karen McBride and Smokii Sumac, as well as scholars like Suzanne Methot, discuss the many ways Indigenous experience appears in art and in life.
Be sure to arrive early for the Opening Ceremony led by Elder Whabagoon! A few readings of note are the heartfelt “From The Ashes”, an autobiography by Jesse Thistle, and the practical healing offered by “A Digital Bundle”, a guide to Internet activism through an Indigenous lens by Jennifer Wemigwans.
Teaching children about Indigenous worldviews and ways of life is one of the most important parts of reconciliation. For kids and families, Sunshine Tenasco is reading from her debut children’s book Nibi’s Water Song and teaching about the importance of clean drinking water for all.
If you’re looking to explore the relationship between Indigenous nations and Canada, this is a good place to start. Steve Paikin of TVO’s The Agenda will interview Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould about her new non-fiction book, From Where I Stand: Rebuilding Indigenous Nations for a Stronger Canada.
Of special note is the awards presentation hosted by First Nation Communities READ (FNCR), a program that uplifts excellent Indigenous literature across Canada. Every year, FNCR selects a title whose creators win the $3000 Periodical Marketers of Canada Indigenous Literature Award. The shortlist is already up on their website–come see who the winning title will be!
From the writer who brought you the award-winning dystopia of The Marrow Thieves, now comes a story about werewolves like you’ve never seen. Inspired by the traditional Métis story of the Rogarou, Cherie Dimaline brings us into the wilds of the Georgian Bay with this riveting work of Indigenous speculative fiction.
Canadian bestseller lists are full of acclaimed books by Indigenous authors. Between panels and readings, wander the marketplace to pick up a few titles. For example, pay a visit to Bedside Press‘ booth (#318C), the publishers who helped Kickstart the multiple-award-winning MOONSHOT, a collection of Indigenous comics. Or head to the official booksellers for the Indigenous Voices stage, Another Story Bookshop, who at their core are dedicated to stocking literature focusing on equity, diversity, and social justice.
For something more hands-on, visit the Learning Station throughout the day for the opportunity to learn the basics of three local Indigenous languages: Cree, Anishinaabemowin, and Mohawk. Engaging, welcoming, and full of storytelling goodness, these lessons are not to be missed!
There you have it: our top picks for everyone looking to strengthen their relationship to Turtle Island through story. Remember, these are only suggestions—the world of WOTS is wide and full of wonder, and you’re guaranteed to get something out of it no matter how you spend your day. Stay tuned for our other WOTStrology posts going up this week, and we’ll see you on the 22nd! Chi miigwech!