Massive congrats to Lee Maracle, who has been shortlisted for the 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature for CELIA’S SONG, which was published in 2014 by Cormorant Books. This prestigious prize recognizes significant contributions to world literature and has a history as a lead-up to the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nine Neustadt jurors, all creative writers, chose the finalists, and they will meet to choose the winner at the 2019 Neustadt Lit Fest, scheduled for Oct. 15-17, hosted by World Literature Today and the University of Oklahoma. The winner will be announced on Oct. 16.
Celia’s Song is the story of one Nuu’Chahlnuth family’s harrowing experiences over several generations, after the brutality, interference, and neglect resulting from contact with Europeans. Mink is a witness, a shape shifter, compelled to follow the story that has ensnared Celia and her village, on the West coast of Vancouver Island in Nuu’Chahlnuth territory. Celia is a seer who — despite being convinced she’s a little “off” — must heal her village with the assistance of her sister, her mother and father, and her nephews.
While mink is visiting, a double-headed sea serpent falls off the house front during a fierce storm. The old snake, ostracized from the village decades earlier, has left his terrible influence on Amos, a residential school survivor. The occurrence signals the unfolding of an ordeal that pulls Celia out of her reveries and into the tragedy of her cousin’s granddaughter.
Each one of Celia’s family becomes involved in creating a greater solution than merely attending to her cousin’s granddaughter.
Lee Maracle is a Sto:Loh nation; grandmother of four, mother of four who was born in North Vancouver, BC. Her works include: the novelsRavensong, Bobbi Lee, Sundogs, the short story collection Sojourner’s Truth, the poetry collection Bentbox, and the non-fiction work I Am Woman. She is Co-editor of My Home As I Remember and Telling It: Women and Language Across Cultures, editor of a number of poetry works, Gatherings journals and has published in dozens of anthologies in Canada and America. Ms. Maracle is a both an award winning author and teacher. She is currently Mentor for Aboriginal Students at the University of Toronto where she also is a teacher and the Traditional Cultural Director for the Indigenous Theatre School, where she is a part-time cultural instructor.