Books on Indigenous life shortlisted for Amazon First Novel Award


Four books about Indigenous life are among the finalists for the $60,000 Amazon Canada First Novel Award.

The six-book short list includes “Empty Spaces” by Jordan Abel, a reimagining of “The Last of the Mohicans” from the perspective of a contemporary Nisga’a person and “And Then She Fell” by Alicia Elliott, which follows a Mohawk woman made to feel like an impostor in her wealthy Toronto neighbourhood.

Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall was also shortlisted for “Tauhou,” a hybrid novel that imagines Vancouver Island sits in the ocean beside Aotearoa, New Zealand’s north island.

Also in the running is “The Berry Pickers” by Amanda Peters, which was a finalist for the Atwood-Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and tells the story of a Mi’kmaq family that moves to Maine to pick berries, only for their daughter to disappear.

Janika Oza’s “A History of Burning,” the intergenerational saga of an Indo-Ugandan family uprooted by colonialism, made the list as well. It’s also up for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award.

Rounding out the short list is “As the Andes Disappeared,” written by Caroline Dawson and translated by Anita Anand, a coming-of-age story about a girl whose family moves from Chile to Montreal.

The award will be handed out on June 6, and each of the runners-up will receive $6,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2024.

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