2024 Festival:
October 21–27

26. The Strength of Storytelling

26. The Strength of Storytelling

This event will have auto-generated Closed Captions accessible by mobile phone at bit.ly/vwfcaptions.

And Then She Fell “is the fulfillment of the promise of Alicia Elliott’s storytelling prowess” according to Cherie Dimaline. A Grandmother Begins the Story, by Michelle Porter, is “charged with huge blasts of imaginative force,” and Erica T. Wurth calls katherena vermette’s The Circle “a polyphonic masterpiece.” What a gift to be joined by three of the most lauded and creative Indigenous writers in conversation. They speak to the process of writing their poignant, nuanced, exceptionally moving stories; the strength of Indigenous women at the heart of their latest works; and the nuance of beauty and heartbreak interwoven in stories and life. Moderated by Michelle Cyca.

Presented in partnership with Penguin Random House and Talking Stick Festival.

Event Participants:

Alicia Elliott

ALICIA ELLIOTT is a Mohawk writer and editor living in Brantford, Ontario. She has written for The Globe and Mail, CBC, Hazlitt and many others. She's had numerous essays nominated for National Magazine Awards, winning Gold in 2017 and an honorable mention in 2020. Her short fiction was selected for Best American Short Stories 2018 (by Roxane Gay), Best Canadian Stories 2018 and Journey Prize Stories 30. Alicia was chosen by Tanya Talaga as the 2018 recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Her first book, A Mind Spread Out On The Ground, was a national bestseller in Canada. It was also nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction and won the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award. Her new novel And Then She Fell will be published this fall.

Michelle Porter

MICHELLE PORTER is the descendent of a long line of Métis storytellers. Many of her ancestors told stories using music and today she tells stories using the written word. She holds degrees in Journalism, Folklore, English, and a PhD in Geography. Her academic research and creative work focus on home, memory, and women’s changing relationships with the land. Her most recent book, Scratching River, a memoir exploring the meaning of her Métis heritage through her older brother’s life story, was published by Wilfrid Laurier Press in April 2022. She’s also published a book of creative nonfiction about her great-grandfather, a fiddler from the Red River, called Approaching Fire (shortlisted for the Indigenous Voices Award 2021) and a book of poetry, Inquiries, (shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award). Michelle has won numerous awards for her poetry and journalism and her work has been published in literary journals and magazines across the country. Currently she is teaching creative writing and Métis Literature at Memorial University. She is a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation and she lives in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

katherena vermette

KATHERENA VERMETTE (she/her) is a Red River Métis (Michif) writer from Treaty 1 territory, the heart of the Métis Nation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Vermette received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry for her first book, North End Love Songs. Her first novel, The Break, won several awards including the Amazon First Novel Award, and was a bestseller in Canada. Her second novel, The Strangers, won the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, named Indigo’s 2021 Book of the Year, and was a #1 national bestseller. Her work in children’s literature includes the graphic novel series A Girl Called Echo. Vermette lives with her family in a cranky old house within skipping distance of the temperamental Red River.