Author Spotlight for January, Basil Johnston

As part of the celebration of our 30th Anniversary, every month in 2023 we will be shining the spotlight on one of our amazing authors!

We begin the year with Basil Johnston, esteemed Anishinaabe writer, storyteller, language teacher and scholar. Kegedonce Press has had the great honour of publishing not one but six of Basil Johnston’s books.

Basil was born in Wasauksing First Nation in 1929, and later moved to the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. He wrote many books in both English and Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin) and received numerous awards including the Order of Ontario and three honourary doctorates. Basil’s accolades include: the 2013 Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award; the 2007 Anskohk Aboriginal Literary Lifetime Achievement Award; the 2004 Aboriginal Achievement Award for Heritage and Spirituality; and the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal.

One of the foremost Anishinaabe writers and storytellers, Basil was well known for his gentle humour, deep wisdom, and enduring optimism. His unique, amicable voice as a storyteller permeates every page of his work.

Basil was also a staunch advocate for preserving Indigenous languages and culture. “More than just an author, in his later years Johnston turned his focus to the preservation of Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinaabe, once again acting as a trailblazer for others to follow” (“Basil Johnston,” The Canadian Encyclopedia).  

In just over a decade, Basil published six books with Kegedonce Press, three of which were fully Ojibwe/English bilingual. His Kegedonce Press titles are:

Honour Earth Mother: Mino-audjaudauh Mizzu-Kummik-Quae (2003), essays and stories on nature and the environment.

Gift of the Stars: Anungook gauh meenikooying (2010), bilingual, traditional stories for children and adults.

Think Indian: Languages are Beyond Price (2011), essay collection.

Living in Harmony: Mino-nawae-indawaewin (2012), bilingual, traditional stories for children and adults.

Walking in Balance: Meeyau-ossaewin (2013), bilingual, traditional stories for adults.

Candies: A Humour Composite (2015), short comedic stories.

Basil passed away at Wiarton, Ontario in 2015 at the age of 86.

This month, Think Indian is our featured sale title, at 40% off for all of January. Watch for features on the rest of Basil’s books throughout 2023.

More News

Welcome new Kegedonce Press author Marjorie Beaucage

A warm Kegedonce Press welcome to acclaimed filmmaker, artist, activist and poet Marjorie Beaucage, whose book leave some for the birds: movements for justice will be released in spring, 2023. Marjorie Beaucage is a Two-Spirit Métis Auntie, filmmaker, art-ivist and...

A Special Year…

2023 has begun! This is a very special year for Kegedonce Press: It’s our 30th anniversary! The press began back in 1993 with the publication of My Heart is a Stray Bullet by founder and managing editor Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm. Kateri founded Kegedonce Press as a...

Special Holiday Book Bundles

Winter is the time to curl up inside with a good book. This season, Kegedonce Press is making it easy with four special book bundles for the winter holidays. Because good books are better when they come in twos! We have selected pairings that fit well together, for...

Publish with Kegedonce Press!

Dedicated Indigenous Publisher Invites Manuscript Submissions. Kegedonce Press is seeking manuscript submissions from First Nations, Inuit and Michif/Métis creators based in the territories known as Canada. We are seeking submissions in the following categories:...

Cover Story: Through the Eyes of Asunder

Neal Shannacappo writes about the serendipitous origins of the cover image for his debut poetry collection. "Aanii kina wiya! The art on the cover [of Through the Eyes of Asunder] was a serendipitous event that I discovered after one long night of inking some graphic...

April is National Poetry Month

Kegedonce Press celebrates our newest poetry collection, D.A. Lockhart's Go Down Odawa Way. "Lyric experiences from the rooted-class, steeped in the bloodlines of survival, posed on the verges of decolonization." —D.A. Lockhart. Poems that cross the boundaries of an...

Ghost Lake Publication Anniversary: What a Year it’s Been!

On February 6, 2021, Nathan Niigan Noodin Adler launched his new book Ghost Lake. Since then, this collection of interconnected horror, urban fantasy and thriller stories has become one of Kegedonce Press's most acclaimed titles. Its first accolade was as a finalist...

Welcome New Kegedonce Press Author, D.A. Lockhart!

A warm Kegedonce Press welcome to acclaimed Lenape poet, D.A. Lockhart, whose newest poetry collection, Go Down Odawa Way has just been released! If you know anything about Indigenous poetry in Canada, then it's a good bet that you have heard of D.A. Lockhart, author...

Welcome New Author and Illustrator, Sharon King

Amik, a delightful children's picture-book, is written and illustrated by Potawatomi educator and Juno-nominated artist Sharon King. Kegedonce Press is thrilled to announce the publication of Amik, our very first children's board book! With brilliantly colourful...

Welcome New Author, Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith!

A warm welcome to new Kegedonce Press author Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith, author of These are the Stories: Memories of a 60s Scoop Survivor Kegedonce Press is excited to announce the release of These are the Stories: Memories of a 60s Scoop Survivor by...