In the Blog
Award Winning Métis Author Inaugural Writer in Residence
Note: Cherie Dimaline is hosting a panel discussion on the challenges, successes and resources for multicultural Toronto writers and poets. Featuring Rebecca Fisseha from Diaspora Dialogues, Jael Richardson from the Festival of Literary Diversity and our own Sheila Sampath from Shameless magazine. Thursday April 30, 2015 at 6:30 pm-8:00 pm, North York Central Library, Toronto.
The piece below was originally published on the Toronto Review of Books.
On March 7, 2015, a small crowd gathered to celebrate the appointment of Award winning Metis author Cherie Dimaline as the 1st Aboriginal Writer in Residence at a Toronto Public Library—the North York Central Library.
Cherie Dimaline is an author and editor from the Georgian Bay Metis community. Her first award-winning book Red Rooms, was published in 2007. She was the founding editor of both FNH Magazine, an Aboriginal student periodical; and Muskrat Magazine, an online Indigenous publication focused on sovereignty, culture and the celebration of community excellence. Her short fiction has been anthologized internationally. Cherie’s novel, “The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy,” was released by Theytus Books in June 2013 and was shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award. She was recently named the 2014 Emerging Artist of the Year, Ontario Premier’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts.
Her appointment as writer in residence runs from March 2015 until June 2015. It will involve one on one appointments, discussions and workshops on such issues as the Roles and Responsibilities of Indigenous Storytelling, Challenges, Successes and Resources for Multicultural Toronto Writers and Poets, Accessing grants to develop your literary work and a Writers on Stage where acclaimed authors and public readers will walk you through the dreaded public reading, which is a reality for anyone putting out a book.
Deborah Richardson, the province’s first Indigenous female Deputy Minister who was at the event said “Media often portrays First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in a negative light and it’s really important to celebrate the successes of our people, and that is one of the reasons why it is really exciting to see Cherie’s appointment or residency here at the library. ”
Dimaline is excited about her appointment and said “It’s such a great opportunity to be the inaugural writer for the Aboriginal literature residency. I really see it as a tremendous beginning for a partnership between the Aboriginal literary community and the busiest library system in the world.”
She also said “We are the people of story and the library, in this context, is the keeper of stories for the wider population. I think its a tremendous gift to the people of Toronto for the library to dedicate a residency program where Lee Maracle, Susan Blight, Giles Benaway and other incredible storytellers are involved. It opens up the beauty and expertise of Indigenous story to a whole multicultural city.”
In June 2015, Dimaline’s residency will usher in a month of Aboriginal programming that will celebrate Aboriginal culture in film, music, art, dance and literature at branches across the city. The them for June’s programming developed by Cherie Dimaline is Giganawendamin Dibaajimowinan. We Keep the Stories.
Other notable people in attendance were the Ontario Minister for Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer, Deputy Minister Deborah Richardson, Stephanie Pangowish and Josh Smoke from Smoke Trail Singers, Lee Maracle and poet Giles Benaway.