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.
A Grandmother Begins the Story
By Michelle Porter
Published by Viking (Penguin Random House Canada)
Five generations of Métis women argue, dance, struggle, laugh, love, and tell the stories that will sing their family, and perhaps the land itself, into healing in this brilliantly original debut novel.
Carter is a young mother, recently separated. She is curious, angry, and on a quest to find out what the heritage she only learned of in her teens truly means.
Allie is trying to make up for the lost years with her first born, and to protect Carter from the hurt she herself suffered from her own mother.
Lucie wants the granddaughter she’s never met to help her join her ancestors in the Afterlife.
Geneviève is determined to conquer her demons before the fire inside burns her up, with the help of the sister she lost but has never been without.
And Mamé, in the Afterlife, knows that all their stories began with her; she must find a way to loose herself from the last threads that keep her tethered to the living, just as they must find their own paths forward.
This extraordinary novel, told by a chorus of vividly realized, funny, wise, confused, struggling characters—including descendants of the bison that once freely roamed the land—heralds the arrival of a stunning new voice in literary fiction.