Darrel J. McLeod’s debut fiction
July 07th, 2023
Nehiyaw (Cree) writer Darrel McLeod made a big splash with his first two memoirs, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age (D&M 2018) that won a Governor General’s Award, and Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity (D&M, 2021).
Now McLeod has released his first fiction title A Season in Chezgh’un (D&M $24.95) about a talented and conflicted Nehiyaw man named James who has settled into comfortable middle-class life in a trendy area of Vancouver. Living the life he had once dreamed of—travel, a charming circle of sophisticated friends, a promising career and a loving relationship with a caring man—James secretly chafes at being assimilated into mainstream society, removed from his people and culture.
The untimely death of James’ mother, his only link to his extended family and community, propels him into a quest to reconnect with his roots. He secures a job as a principal in a remote northern Dakelh community but quickly learns that life there isn’t the fix he’d hoped it would be: his encounters with poverty, cultural disruption and abuse conjure ghosts from his past that drive him toward self-destruction. During the single year he spends in northern BC, James takes solace in the richness of the Dakelh culture—the indomitable spirit of the people, and the splendour of nature—all the while fighting to keep his dark side from destroying his life. 9781771623629
Darrel McLeod will be appearing at the following BC events:
1. Paper Covers Rock Festival with Anna Comfort-O’Keefe (Salt Spring Island), September 22-24, 2023.
- Saturday September 23, 2023, 5 – 6:00 pm PT In conversation with Anna Comfort-O’Keefe
- Sunday September 24, 2023, 10 – 11:00 am PT Writing Workshop
2. Vancouver Public Library for Vancouver Launch (Central Branch, Alice MacKay Room), evening of Thursday October 3, 2023.
3. Victoria Festival of Authors (Langham Court Theatre) 7:30 pm PT Saturday October 14, 2023.
4. Vancouver Writers Festival, October 16-22, 2023.
Darrel J. McLeod is Nehiyaw (Cree) from Treaty 8 territory in Northern Alberta. Before deciding to pursue writing, he worked as an educator, chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations. He holds degrees in French literature and education from the University of British Columbia. He is the author of two memoirs: the award-winning Mamaskatch (2018; winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction; shortlisted for many other major prizes including the RBC Taylor Prize; translated into French and German editions), followed by Peyakow (2021; shortlisted for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize and others). He currently lives in Sooke, BC, and Puerto Vallarta dividing his time between writing and singing in his jazz band, “Mamaskatch Jazz Project”.