Douglas & McIntyre is pleased to announce that Norma Dunning’s short story collection, Tainna: The Unseen Ones, has been selected as a Finalist in the 24th annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards recognizing books published in 2021. Tainna was also named winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award in November.
Tainna—meaning “the unseen ones” and pronounced Da-e-nn-a—is a unique collection of stories that illuminate modern-day Inuit experience south of the tundra. Dunning’s characters are united by shared feelings of alienation, displacement and loneliness resulting from their experiences in southern Canada. These compelling characters discover themselves in a hostile land where prejudice, misogyny and inequity are most often found hidden in plain sight. There, they must rely on their wits, artistic talent, senses of humor and spirituality for survival.
When asked why she wrote Tainna, Norma Dunning replied:
“I receive a great many highly racial comments when I identify and at times I can find it all very ridiculous while also very sad. Unfortunately, Inuit are often thought of as a somewhat happy yet simple people but we are brilliant and sophisticated. Inuit women remain exoticized and at the same time treated as less-than which eliminates all of our hard work and successes. When I wrote Tainna I was thinking about the many thousands of Inuit Canadians who live beyond the tundra and the reactions that are issued to us daily and how very wrong it all is. I was also thinking of poverty and the very dark side of southern life which is rarely exposed. I thought it was time to bring that reality forward.”
Dr. Norma Dunning is an Inuk writer as well as a scholar, researcher, professor, and grandmother who lives in Edmonton, Alberta. Her first book, the short story collection, Annie Muktuk and Other Stories (University of Alberta Press, 2017), received the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story and the Bronze for short stories in the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. She is also the author of Eskimo Pie (Bookland Press, 2020), a bestselling collection of poetry.
The Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards honour the very best of independent publishing each year. After more than 2,500 individual titles spread across 55 genres were submitted for consideration, the finalist were determined by Foreword’s editorial team. Winners will be decided by an expert team of booksellers and librarians—representing Foreword’s trade readership—from across the U.S.