Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese, an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, was one of Canada’s foremost writers. His acclaimed, bestselling novels included Keeper’n Me, Indian Horse, and Medicine Walk. He was also the author of acclaimed memoirs, including For Joshua, One Native Life, and One Story, One Song, as well as a collection of personal reflections, Embers. He won numerous awards and recognition for his writing, including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media and Communications, the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize, the Canada Reads People’s Choice Award, and the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Matt Cohen Award. Wagamese died on March 10, 2017, in Kamloops, British Columbia.

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Reviews of Indian Horse:

  • “At the beginning of this haunting and masterful novel from the late Wagamese (1955–2017), eight-year-old Saul Indian Horse is alone, having been abandoned in a blizzard in rural Ontario in 1961” – In Publishers Weekly
  • “Wagamese pulls off a fine balancing act: exposing the horrors of the country’s residential schools while also celebrating Canada’s national game” – In Quill & Quire

Reviews of Starlight:

  • “Richard Wagamese’s final novel ‘a captivating and ultimately uplifting read’” – In the Toronto Star

Obituaries and Memorials:

  • “But he also knew what words, put together the right way, could do for a life: They could save it” – In the Globe and Mail
  • “I would not see my mother or my extended family again for 21 years” – In the New York Times

Starlight

Frank Starlight has long settled into a quiet life working his remote farm, but his contemplative existence comes to an abrupt end with the arrival of Emmy, a woman who has committed a desperate act so she and her child can escape a harrowing life of violence. Starlight takes in Emmy and her daughter to help them get back on their feet, and this accidental family eventually grows into a real one. But Emmy’s abusive ex isn’t content to just let her go. He wants revenge and is determined to hunt her down. A profoundly moving novel about the redemptive power of love, mercy, and the land’s ability to heal us.

Starlight was unfinished at the time of Richard Wagamese’s death, yet every page radiates with his masterful storytelling, intense humanism, and insights that are as hard-earned as they are beautiful. Starlight is a last gift to readers from a writer who believed in the power of stories to save us.

Indian Horse

Saul Indian Horse’s last binge almost killed him, and now he’s a reluctant resident in a treatment centre for alcoholics, surrounded by people he’s sure will never understand him. But Saul wants peace, and that will only come through telling his story. With compassion and insight, author Richard Wagamese traces the decline of a culture and a cultural way. For Saul, taken forcibly from the land and his family when he’s sent to residential school, salvation comes through his incredible gifts as a hockey player. But in the harsh realities of 1960s Canada, he battles racism and the spirit-destroying effects of cultural alienation and displacement. Indian Horse unfolds against the bleak loveliness of northern Ontario, and Wagamese writes with a spare beauty, penetrating the heart of a remarkable Ojibway man.