CARLEIGH BAKER is a nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân / Icelandic writer who lives as a guest on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Skwxwu7mesh, and səl̓ilwəta peoples. Her work has appeared in Best Canadian Essays, The Short Story Advent Calendar, and The Journey Prize Stories. She also writes reviews for The Globe and Mail and the Literary Review of Canada. Her debut story collection, Bad Endings (Anvil, 2017), won the City of Vancouver Book Award, and was also a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award for fiction, and the BC Book Prize Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. Her novel-in-progress, The Matriarchs, is about endangered rivers and problematic mothers. Set in the Peel River Watershed, the traditional territory of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, Vuntut Gwitchin, and Tetlit Gwich’in peoples, the story revolves around a group of conservationists and filmmakers who set out to "save the Peel", but end up needing to save themselves.
A graduate of UBC's creative writing master's program, Baker has focused her research on issues of Indigenous representation in the arts, and ways in which Indigenous voices and bodies are displaced by well-intentioned, non-Indigenous activists. She received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Joseph-Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship for her work. Baker is the 2019 / 2020 Ellen and Warren Tallman writer-in-residence in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University, and a 2020 Shadbolt Fellow in the humanities at SFU.
Check out an excerpt from Carleigh's upcoming novel, The Matriarchs.
Read Carleigh's feature story in SFU News.
Watch Carleigh do a live reading—see the video that follows.