Jo-Ann receiving award.jpgDr. Jo-Ann Episkenew, Director of IPHRC, has been awarded the First Peoples' Writing Award 2010 at the 18th Annual Saskatchewan Book Awards for her book, Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing. This is her second Saskatchewan Book Award for this work - she received the Scholarly Writing Award in 2009.

The Saskatchewan Book Awards were established in 1993 by the joint efforts of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Saskatchewan Publishers Group and Saskatchewan Library Association. Fourteen awards were presented during the gala celebration of excellence in writing and publishing in the Saskatchewan literary community.

To find out what Dr. Episkenew thought about winning the award, check out our brief interview with her below.

1. You were in a category with many other great authors. What was your reaction to winning the award?  

When I won the Scholarly Writing Award last year, I was shocked.  I know the calibre of the scholars nominated, and I was humbled to be included in the group.  This year I felt guilty.  I'd already won an award!

2. Why did you write this book? Why did you feel it was important?  

The book was based on my Ph.D. research.  It was important to me because, as a life-long book worm, I am intimately aware of the healing powers of story.  It was also important to highlight the voices of the Indigenous people who, in the absence of access to the discourse of public policy, used their stories to critique policies by showing their negative effects. Taking Back Our Spirits.jpg

3. If you had to sum up what your book was about in a few sentences, how would you describe it?

My book is about Indigenous literature as applied literature.  I write about its applications of Indigenous as a response to, critique of, and healing from the policies of the settler/invader government. 

4. You have now won numerous awards and accolades for your work. What do these mean to you?  

It's an honour to learn that I've actually made a contribution with my work.  It's also humbling. 

5. What is next for you as an author? Any other books in your future?  

I am in the preliminary stages of beginning a book that tells the stories of the Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre.  In 2012, we will be ten years old.  We need to tell the stories of the outcomes of our work over the last ten years and the impact that we've made on Indigenous health research. 

Click here if you want to learn more about Taking Back Our Spirits: Indigenous Literature, Public Policy, and Healing.