Cree-Métis/Icelandic author Carleigh Baker launches 2019/20 SFU writer-in-residency

October 18, 2019

Cree Métis-Icelandic poet, short story writer and novelist Carleigh Baker is the latest writer-in-residence in Simon Fraser University’s English department.

As part of her new role, every Thursday she offers 45-minute consultations with SFU community members and the general public to give feedback on their creative work. She also plans to start an Indigenous reading circle in creative writing.

The English department will officially celebrate and launch Baker’s residency on Friday, Oct. 18th. Everyone is invited to Vancouver’s Harbour Centre campus at 7 p.m. for a reading and reception.

Baker, who has published a series of poems and an award-winning collection of short stories called Bad Endings, also writes reviews for publications like The Globe and Mail and the Literary Review of Canada. She is currently writing a novel called The Matriarchs that examines problematic relationships with mothers.

“I’ve had a problematic relationship with the women in my family who have had a problematic relationship with their matriarchs and on and on,” says Baker. “I never thought I would write about this.”

The novel’s protagonist is on a canoe trip, one that is based on a trip Baker took on the Peel Watershed in the Yukon which, at the time, was under threat from mining, drilling and road construction. Baker sees the river as a powerful female symbol.

“The rivers, especially, I feel like they are matriarchal,” she says. “Rivers give life, but they also cause floods and devastation. They shape the land and they can cause big problems.”

How Indigenous people are represented in the arts and the ways in which Indigenous voices and bodies are displaced by well-intentioned, non-Indigenous activists are also major themes in Baker’s work.

To learn more about the Writer-in-Residence program, click here.