The Millwright – April 2018
YA Profile: Cheri Dimaline
By Helen Kubiw
It’s impossible not to hear Cherie Dimaline’s name everywhere in the CanLit community right now. Her most recent book, the young adult dystopian novel, The Marrow Thieves (DCB, 2017), was battling out with four other titles on the 2018 Canada Reads, the annual literary competition of the CBC. The Marrow Thieves is a novel in which a world in decline perpetrates horrors against Indigenous people who are the sole keepers of the ability to dream, a commodity housed in the marrow of their bones. As Cherie Dimaline’s characters evade and escape, suffer and are conquered, a new world is woven from their history, their sorrows, and their strengths.
Beyond Canada Reads, the accolades for The Marrow Thieves have been overwhelming and its honours far-reaching: the book won the Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature and the U.S. Kirkus Award for Young Readers, was selected as a Globe and Mail Best Book and was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award. But The Marrow Thieves is but the most recent of Cherie Dimaline’s writing achievements.
An author and editor from the Georgian Bay Métis community, Cherie Dimaline won Fiction Book of the Year from the Ânskohk Aboriginal Book Awards for her first book, Red Rooms (Theytus, 2007). Her novel The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy (Theytus, 2013) which tells the story of Ruby Bloom, a young woman dealing with a myriad of emotional distresses associated with a childhood trauma, was shortlisted for the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. Seven Gifts for Cedar, a children’s book illustrated by Grant Nicholson (Ningwakwe Learning Press, 2010), teaches traditional cultural values as a young girl visits her father’s reserve on Georgian Bay. Cherie Dimaline also writes short stories which have been anthologized, including a collection titled A Gentle Habit (Kegedonce, 2015).
We are delighted to have accomplished writer Cherie Dimaline participating in a speculative fiction panel discussion at the young adult authors’ venue at this year’s Eden Mills Writers’ Festival.