From Oral to WrittenFront Cover

ISBN: 9781772011166 | paperback / softback

ISBN: 9781772011883 | hardback

$29.95 | 432 pages | Pub. Date: 2017
6 W × 9 H × 1.5 D inches
Non-Fiction | Backlist | Bisac: LIT004080
ISBN 13: 9781772011166 | Rights: WORLD

From Oral to Written
A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in Canada, 1980–2010
By Tomson Highway
Edited by Jordan Abel

Aboriginal Canadians tell their own stories, about their own people, in their own voice, from their own perspective.
If as recently as forty years ago there was no recognizable body of work by Canadian writers, as recently as thirty years ago there was no Native literature in this country. Perhaps a few books had made a dent on the national consciousness: The Unjust Society by Harold Cardinal, Halfbreed by Maria Campbell, and the poetry of Pauline Johnson and even Louis Riel. Now, three decades later, Native people have a literature that paints them in colours that are psychologically complex and sophisticated. They have a literature that validates their existence, that gives them dignity, that tells them that they and their culture, their ideas, their languages, are important if not downright essential to the long-term survival of the planet.

Tomson Highway’s From Oral to Written is a study of Native literature published in Canada between 1980 and 2010, a catalogue of amazing books that sparked the embers of a dormant voice. In the early 1980s, that voice rose up to overcome the major obstacle Native people have as writers: they are not able to write in their own Native languages, but have to write in the languages of the colonizer, languages that simply cannot capture the magic of Native mythology, the wild insanity of Trickster thinking. From Oral to Written is the story of the Native literary tradition, written – in multiple Aboriginal languages, in French, and in English – by a brave, committed, hard-working, and inspired community of exceptional individuals – from the Haida Nation on Haida Gwaii to the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island.

Leading Aboriginal author Tomson Highway surveys the first wave of Native writers published in Canada, highlighting the most gifted authors and the best stories they have told, offering non-Native readers access to reconciliation and understanding, and at the same time engendering among Native readers pride in a stellar body of work.

By Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway was born near Maria Lake, Manitoba in 1951. Living a nomadic lifestyle with no access to books, television or radio, Highway’s parents would tell their children stories, kindling Highway’s life-long interest in the oral tradition of storytelling.

Tomson Highway is widely recognized for his tremendous contribution to the development of Aboriginal theatre in both Canada and around the world.

In 1994, he was inducted into the Order of Canada, the first Aboriginal writer to be so honoured.

Read more about Tomson Highway


Edited by Jordan Abel

Jordan Abel is a Nisga’a writer currently completing his PhD at Simon Fraser University, where his studies focus on digital humanities and indigenous poetics. Abel’s
conceptual writing engages with the representation of indigenous peoples in anthropology and popular culture.

Read more about Jordan Abel


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news | 2018-06-21
Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day!

…Ojibway Rebellion ., Seven Sacred Truths , From Oral to Written: A Celebration of Indigenous Literature in …


news | 2017-08-01
From Oral to Written is launched!

…in Canada. The evening was a complete smash! From Oral to Written ($29.95) surveys Indigenous literature from 1980 …


news | 2017-07-28
Tonight! Tomson Highway launches From Oral to Written

…and the Vancouver Writers Fest for the launch of From Oral to Written , part of the Drum is Calling Festival! Tomson … of Indigenous authors whose work is profiled in From Oral to Written will read from their works, including Richard Van …


news | 2017-07-17
From Oral to Written has gone from written to published!

…published in Canada between 1980 and 2010, From Oral to Written is now available! From Oral to Written is the …