‘Vital and urgent work’: Lindsay Nixon’s nîtisânak

Our newest title, Lindsay Nixon’s nîtisânak, launched this October to audiences and readers in Halifax, Montreal, and Winnipeg.
 
Governor General’s Award–nominated author Billy-Ray Belcourt describes it as “a tour-de-force of vulnerability, testimony, wit, camp, and critique” and we happen to agree.
 
nîtisânak honours blood and chosen kin with equal care. A groundbreaking memoir spanning nations, prairie punk scenes, and queer love stories, it is woven around grief over the loss of the author’s mother. It also explores despair and healing through community and family, and being torn apart by the same. Using cyclical narrative techniques and drawing on Nixon’s Cree, Saulteaux, and Métis ancestral teachings, this work offers a compelling perspective on the connections that must be broken and the ones that heal.
 
Read an excerpt here.
 
In an interview with Word on the Street, Lindsay described their choice of title for the book:
 
nîtisânak means “my siblings,” in Plains Cree. But it can also be used as a gender-neutral way of saying “my relations,” generally. nîtisânak is, at its core, a work that considers relationality manifested through my own experiences and connections. I like the gender-neutral form of relationality that nîtisânak expresses. My choice for the title of my memoir speaks to my particular interest to the queer-Indigenous ethics, life, and peoples I write about, and to my desire to queer Indigenous language, generally. Not that Cree needs much queering—it’s queer and sexy on its own, even if it’s not always read as such.
 
The hometown launch of nîtisânak on October 19 drew large crowds to PDB Bar Le Ritz. Opened by Dayna Danger, it included readings by Arielle Twist, Gwen Benaway, and Kai Cheng Thom, a brief discussion on what it’s like to be a Two-Spirit writer in so-called Canada today, and a closing reading by Lindsay of the first chapter of nîtisânak, “Love Story Medicine.”
 

 
The book draws on several pop cultural references from the author’s adolescence, including song lyrics by artists ranging from Cat Power to M.I.A. to The Kills. Listen to a playlist featuring all the referenced music.
 
Lindsay’s tour continues with launches in Toronto on November 10 and Ottawa on November 18, and they will also be featured on a panel back in Montreal at the AELAQ holiday pop-up fair on November 24. More dates will be announced soon.
 
Bookstores across the country are carrying the book (and if your local shop isn’t, have them place an order). You can also get it directly from us. Interested in booking Lindsay for an event, writing a review, or ordering nîtisânak for your store, library, or community organization? Email us today.
 
Acclaimed poet Gwen Benaway, who was one of four Gay Book Lovers Unite jurors who originally selected nîtisânak for Metonymy to publish, calls the memoir “vital and urgent work, expanding what it means to be both an Indigenous and a queer writer in Canada today.” If you don’t have a copy in your hands yet, we hope you’ll pick one up soon!