Raven Reads Recommends… Four 2018 Fiction Releases by Indigenous Authors

Are you looking for a good book to read while you wait for your next Raven Reads box? These 2018 releases by Indigenous Authors will keep you busy throughout the year. And, you can rest assured that they won’t be in an upcoming Raven Reads box, so read away!

Trail of Lightening: Book #1 of The Sixth World

by Rebecca Roanhorse

June 2018. Published by Simon & Schuster.

Why We Are Excited

Trail of Lightening weaves traditional beliefs with fantasy and the future. We can’t wait to unravel the layers in the Sixth World series. 

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World. (From Simon & Schuster)

Author

Rebecca Roanhorse is an Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo/African American writer of rez-based fantasty and indigenous futurisms. She is a VONA/Voices alum, pug owner, and Yale University graduate with degrees in theology and law. She lives in Sante Fe, New Mexico. (From Simon & Schuster) 

Fire Song

by Adam Garnet Jones

March 2018. Published by Annick Press

Why We Are Excited

Fire Song is a young adult book is an adaptation of the film of the same name, which Jones also wrote and directed. In 2015, The film won the Air Canada Audience Choice Award at ImaginNative,the world’s largest Indigenous Media Arts Festival.

Fire Song 

Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves—his friend, David.

With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane’s rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but while his path doesn’t always offer easy answers, it does leave the reader optimistic about his fate. (From Annick Press)

Author

Adam Garnet Jones is a Cree/Métis filmmaker and writer who grew up in Edmonton and the B.C. interior... The story for Fire Song was inspired by Adam’s own experiences as a teenager, by the experiences of the brave, resilient LGBT and Two-Spirited young people he has come to know, and by those who have been lost. Adam lives in Toronto. (From Annick Press)

Trickster Drift

by Eden Robinson

October 2, 2018. Published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada

Why We Are Excited

Trickster Drift is the second book in the Trickster Trilogy. The first novel, Son of a Trickster, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prizein 2017. Eden Robinson is an award-winning and internationally known author (Traplines - 1996, and Monkey Beach - 2011), and this series is living up to expectations.  

In an effort to keep all forms of magic at bay, Jared, 17, has quit drugs and drinking. But his troubles are not over: now he's being stalked by David, his mom's ex--a preppy, khaki-wearing psycho with a proclivity for rib-breaking. And his mother, Maggie, a living, breathing badass as well as a witch, can't protect him like she used to because he's moved away from Kitimat to Vancouver for school.

 As the son of a Trickster, Jared is a magnet for magic, whether he hates it or not--he sees ghosts, he sees the monster moving underneath his Aunt Georgina's skin, he sees the creature that comes out of his bedroom wall and creepily wants to suck his toes. He also still hears the Trickster in his head, and other voices too. When the David situation becomes a crisis, Jared can't ignore his true nature any longer. (From Penguin Random House)

Author

Robinson grew up with her older brother and younger sister in Haisla territory near Kitamaat Village, surrounded by the forests and mountains of the central coast of British Columbia. They were children of a mixed marriage–her Haisla father met her Heiltsuk mother during a stop in Bella Bella in his fishing days.

Eden Robinson has become one of Canada’s first female Native writers to gain international attention, making her an important role model… Eden Robinson has been a Writer-in-Residence at the Whitehorse Public Library, and will be working with the Writers in Electronic Residence program, which links schools across the country with professional writers. (From Penguin Random House)

Johnny Appleseed

by Joshua Whitehead

May 2018. Published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Why We Are Excited

Daniel Heath Justice, a Professor of Native Studies at the University of British Columbia, recommends Canadians read Johnny Appleseed. "It's glorious, it's astonishing — just such a brilliant novel," he says. (CBC) We think that Joshua is an amazing storyteller, who will be provoking discussion for a long time.

Johnny Appleseed

"You're gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine" is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling debut novel by poet Joshua Whitehead.

Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self-ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the "rez"--and his former life--to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The seven days that follow are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's life is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages--and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life.

Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of First Nations life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams. (From Arsenal Pulp)

Author

Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-Cree/nehiyaw, Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks, 2017) and the winner of the Governor General's History Award for the Indigenous Arts and Stories Challenge in 2016. Currently he is working on a PhD in Indigenous Literatures and Cultures in the University of Calgary's English department (Treaty 7). Jonny Appleseed is his first novel. (From Arsenal Pulp)

With so many amazing Indigenous authors, we can't wait to share more of their work with you here on the blog and in our subscription boxes. Who is your favourite Indigenous author?