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Friday, August 9, 2013

Author Profile- Acclaimed Metis writer Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline's new book "The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy"

Book Launch- Cherie reading from The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy

Cherie Dimaline signing a copy of The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy

Acclaimed Metis Writer Cherie Dimaline Has Launched A New Book-The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy
By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)

With her first book Red Rooms having gone into its third print, two successful magazines under her editorial direction, and the launch of her new novel  “The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy (edited by the legendary Eden Robinson) in July 2013 and holding the prestigious position as Writer in Residence for First Nations House at the University of Toronto, Cherie Dimaline is at the top of her game.

Speaking with the award-winning author in Toronto about how she began her writing career and the successes that have come her way, Dimaline says, “It sounds hokey to say I’ve always written, but I honestly cannot remember a time when I was not writing. I feel a bit vindicated in my sentimental view on the calling when I heard renowned author Lee Maracle say “I wanted to be a writer before I knew how to write.” Dimaline has worked for non-profits in the urban Aboriginal community, worked at Chatelaine magazine, and started a monthly Native newspaper in Toronto.

She has been included in 2 new textbooks for Canadian high schools and has blogged for CBC books. Her first gothic story was published in a British anthology and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous periodicals and collections. The landscape of her youth plays a huge part in her work. “ I was lucky enough to have parents with the foresight to send me back home to our community every summer. I spent summers with my Grandmother and her sisters, playing Euchre, listening to them talk and swimming in Lake Huron with a huge gang of cousins”.

Home for Dimaline while growing up was the Georgian Bay area in Ontario. “My mother is Metis from the Georgian Bay area; from a community usually simply referred to as ‘across the Bay,’ referencing its geographical (and largely cultural) juxtaposition from the town of Penetaguishene (Anishnaabe for ‘Land of the Rolling White Sands’). Both my parents are Metis and my grandmother spoke the ‘pigeon French’ of the area, a language no one really named as Michif, though it was married to Ojibway and had a distinct accent and lexicon. Both of my grandparents were mixed in both ways (this is I guess what you would refer to as being ‘big M’ and ‘little m’ Metis-being from a historic Metis community and being mixed with First Nations) and both families are connected to communities in both Manitoba and Ontario. My father is of French and Scottish heritage and when asked about his background says “I’m not Native, I just have really good taste and married in.”

Dimaline has finished another collection of short stories and is working on a new novel that involves gypsies; jingle dress dancers and a graveyard. Besides her literary accomplishments, Dimaline is kept busy as a mother of three kids, and is the editor for two magazines- FNH Magazine which is an Aboriginal student publication printed out of First Nations House at the University of Toronto where she also keeps hours as the esteemed Writer in Residence and is the editor of MUSKRAT magazine, an online Indigenous magazine. (

Please stay tuned for an upcoming review of her latest book “The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy.” I will be doing a review of her book for an upcoming issue of New Tribe Magazine and here on my blog.

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