Join us for an evening of reading and conversation with Indo-Canadian author Veena Gokhale and young Inuk writer Aviaq Johnston to launch their latest novels, Land of Fatimah and Those Who Run in the Sky!
Veena Gokhale, an immigrant shape shifter, started her career as a journalist in Bombay. This “tough, tantalizing” city inspired Bombay Wali and other stories (Guernica 2013), Veena's debut novel. After immigrating to Canada, she worked for non-profits. Land for Fatimah is partly inspired by the two years she spent working in Tanzania:
Four strong women: Anjali, an Indo-Canadian single mother who eagerly accepts an African posting with her non-profit organization; Grace, her dedicated but dominating colleague, who opposes her; Fatimah, a farmer ousted from her home and fertile farmland, whom Anjali befriends; and Mary, Anjali's kindly maid, who must secure the future of her son, Gabriel. In Land for Fatimah, Anjali involves herself in Fatimah's quest to find new land for her scattered community, and is thrown into a web of intrigue that upturns her safe, orderly world. Capturing the warmth and vitality of Africa, illuminating everyday heroism, the novel explores expat life, the forced displacement of the poor and the complexities of development.
«Erudite and engaging. The characters are drawn with empathy and compassion. The tension between the exigencies of justice and the demands of bureaucracy is aptly depicted. The protagonist, Anjali, is a complex, multidimensional character, admirable for her attempts to put principle ahead of pragmatism.» — H. Nigel Thomas
Aviaq Johnston is a young Inuk author from Igloolik, Nunavut. In 2014, she won first place in the Aboriginal Arts and Stories competition for her short story Tarnikuluk, which also earned her a Governor General’s History Award. Aviaq is a graduate of Nunavut Sivuniksavut, and she has a diploma in Social Service Work from Canadore College. Aviaq loves to travel and has lived in Australia and Vietnam. She spends most of her time reading, writing, studying, and procrastinating. She goes back and forth between Iqaluit, Nunavut, and Ottawa, Ontario. Her debut novel Those Who Run in the Sky is the 2017 Honour Book for the Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature:
A coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu as he learns to use his powers and ultimately finds himself lost in the world of the spirits. After a strange and violent blizzard leaves Pitu stranded on the sea ice, without his dog team or any weapons to defend himself, he soon realizes that he is no longer in the world that he once knew. The storm has carried him into the world of the spirits, a world populated with terrifying creatures—black wolves with red eyes, ravenous and constantly stalking him, and water-dwelling creatures that want nothing more than to snatch him and pull him into the frigid ocean through an ice crack—as well as beings less frightening, but equally as incredible, such as a lone giant who can carry Pitu in the palm of her hand and keeps caribou and polar bears as pets. After stumbling upon a fellow shaman who has been trapped in the spirit world for many years, Pitu must master all of his shamanic powers to make his way back to the world of the living, to his family, and to the girl that he loves.
“The traditions of this Inuit culture wrap Pitu’ story in a reality that needs to be shared with all youth, Indigenous and otherwise.” — CanLit for Little Canadians
Tuesday, May 1 2018
116 Third Ave.