canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999

The Ten Most Important Works Published by First Nations Authors (So Far)

According to Richard Van Camp


  1. Winter in the Blood by James Welch. Welch’s nameless narrator explores the theme of distance in this novel as he spirit-walks through life and women as he mourns the loss of his father, brother and soul.

  2. Not Vanishing by Chrystos. This collection of poetry explores themes of violence and sexual passion while impacting the reader with devastating beauty.

  3. Winterkill and River Song by Craig Lesley. This two-part novel series is one I would have followed forever. Make sure to read Winterkill first.

  4. The Grass Dancer by Susan Power. This novel follows her characters through their matrilineal lineage from a time almost forgotten to the present.

  5. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. A damn good novel with a haunting ending.

  6. Tales from the Smoke House by Herbert Schwartz with illustrations by Daphne Odjig. A collection of erotic and poignant tales told by men in a sweat lodge.

  7. Skins by Adrian C. Louis. This novel is a confession told from the inside out. It’s honest and brutal—a tough read but worth it.

  8. The Toughest Indian in the World by Sherman Alexie. This collection of short stories is Sherman Alexie at his finest. I felt weightless as I read this and, really, anything can happen at anytime to any of his characters anywhere. Themes of loss and survival are braided together with Sherman’s special blend of humour and tragedy.

  9. Where the Rivers Join by beckylane. A haunting story told through many voices of incest, ritual abuse and the perseverance of the human spirit.

  10. Thunder Through My Veins by Gregory Scofield. This painfully honest memoir shares the triumphs and challenges of Metis poet and playwright, Gregory Scofield, as he comes to know his voice as a writer and his sexuality.

RICHARD VAN CAMP was born in NWT and is a member of the Dogrib Nation. His poems and short stories have been published in numerous anthologies including Gatherings (III, IV and V), Whetstone, Descant, A Shade of Spring, Blue Dawn; Red Earth and Steal My Rage. He is a past winner of the prestigious Canadian Author's Association Air Canada Award. His first novel, The Lesser Blessed, was published in 1996. In 2000, it was translated into German. His children's books: A Man Called Raven and What's the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? were published by 1997 and 1998. His first radio drama, "Mermaids" was commissioned and aired by CBC Radio for their 1998 Festival of Fiction. 







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