news | Thursday July 29, 2021
“People need to tell stories that need to be told.”
Talonbooks president and publisher Kevin Williams was interviewed at his house in Vancouver and in Talon’s office in the neighbourhood of Marpole, near c̓əsnaʔəm, by Ojibway writer Drew Hayden Taylor during an episode of Going Native (season 1, episode 11) entitled “Going Storytelling,” which was broadcast on Sunday evening, July 18, 2021. Going Native is a documentary series narrated by Taylor as he “explores a contemporary aspect of Indigenous life.” In episode 11, “from the stage to the written page to the traditional campfire, Drew explores the role Indigenous storytelling plays in myth-making, theatre, and in keeping Indigenous culture alive and well.” Drew chats with Kevin during his stop in Vancouver.
At the beginning of the interview, Kevin is introduced as a “massive supporter” of Indigenous authors. Talonbooks publishes work of the highest literary merit in the genres of non-fiction, drama, poetry, and fiction, and among their world-class authors are many Indigenous writers living in Canada. Over their more than fifty-year history, they have published core titles in the Canadian bibliography of Indigenous work, and they continue to publish and keep in print one of the leading Canadian lists of Indigenous authors. Talonbooks has published sixteen books by Drew to date.
A quick shot of Kevin’s personal library shows the original Canadian-edition Harry Potter books that Kevin published before he and his wife, Vicki Williams, acquired Talonbooks. Drew and Kevin then talk about the dual need for Indigenous writers and artists to express anger and humour in their art. At the end of the episode, we visit Talon’s warehouse with its thousands of books. The show ends with Drew and three Indigenous storytellers, Lee Maracle, Duncan McCue, and Columpa Bobb, around a campfire.
You can stream episodes of Going Native on APTN lumi at https://aptnlumi.ca/.