In her poetry collection, River Woman, Katherena Vermette writes of Winnipeg: "so hot in the summer / the grass yellows / so cold in the winter / you can freeze in minutes / this place / has tried every degree / so unsatisfied / it keeps shifting." Vermette, like other authors found on this tab, showcase Winnipeg. You'll find references to extreme weather, street names and slurpees, but these books provide more than a caricature of a complicated city. They make sense of and give heart to this urban prairie space that we call home; these characters hold a special place because they are our neighbours.
Carol Shields Winnipeg book award recipient (current)
There is a missing chapter in the narrative of Canada's Indigenous peoples – the story of the Métis Nation. Their story begins in the last decade of the eighteenth century in the Canadian North-West. The Métis battled continuously – for recognition, for their lands and for their rights and freedoms. In 1870 and 1885, led by the iconic Louis Riel, they fought back when Canada took their lands. These acts of resistance became defining moments in Canadian history, with implications that reverberate to this day. Written by the great-grandniece of Louis Riel, this popular and engaging history of "forgotten people" tells the story up to the present era of national reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
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For Vermette, Winnipeg's North End is a neighbourhood of colourful birds, stately elms, and always wily rivers. It is where a brother's disappearance is trivialized by local media and police because he is young and Indigenous. It is also where young girls share secrets, movies, cigarettes, Big Gulps and stories of love - where a young mother full of both maternal trepidation and joy watches her small daughters as they play in the park.
Carol Shields introduces us to two shell-shocked veterans of the wars of the heart. There's Fay, a folklorist whose passion for mermaids has kept her from focusing on any one man. And right across the street there's Tom, a popular radio talk-show host who has focused a little too intently, having married and divorced three times. Can Fay believe in lasting love with such a man? Will romantic love conquer all rational expectations?
Elfrieda, a world-renowned pianist, glamorous, wealthy, happily married: she wants to die. Yolandi, divorced, broke, sleeping with the wrong men as she tries to find true love: she desperately wants to keep her older sister alive. But Elf's latest suicide attempt is a shock: she is three weeks away from the opening of her highly anticipated international tour. Can she be nursed back to "health" in time? As the situation becomes ever more complicated, Yoli faces the most terrifying decision of her life.