Winner of the 2018 Metatron Prize
for Rising Authors
The world is turned inside out. Our solar system has rearranged itself. The earth sits in the orbit where Uranus was. We stole its moon. One moon chases the other as they drift across the sky. Cold air swallows us. Heavy snow. The sun is too far to feel it on our skin. A famine for wildflowers. The world is going to end.
Why is the world always fucking ending?
In Edmonton, Ronnie learns what it is to be a young Indigenous woman, almost-alone in the city; unable to hear herself over its noise, see through the glare of its lights to find the ground beneath her feet. Stories of addiction, self-discovery, and the love of a good friend come together to form ʔbédayine, Kaitlyn Purcell's breathtaking debut.
Kaitlyn Purcell is an artist, poet, storyteller, and scholar. She is a proud member of Smith’s Landing First Nation, and the Writing Revolution in Place creative research collective. She is a PhD student at the University of Calgary studying Indigenous Literatures, Creative Writing, and Community-Based Learning. Her work is inspired by her experiences as a troubled adolescent in Edmonton, detached from her Dene roots. She has won numerous awards for her creative work, such as the Metatron Prize for Rising Authors (2019), the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize (2017) and the Stephen Kapalka Memorial Prize in Creating Writing (2015)
“This book took my breath away.”
- Anne Boyer, author of A Handbook of Disappointed Fate
“We bear witness here to the rising song of Kaitlyn Purcell’s poetics in the guise of ʔbédayine and come to know at once a new voice to be welcomed into the circle within Indigenous literatures. At once a collective that details ecological destruction, addiction, the grit of the inner-city, the dim lights of an Edmonton bus, and a hauntingly detailed relationship, Purcell’s writing is rich, complex, and yet wholly invitational. From Fort Smith to Edmonton, the narrator of ʔbédayine shreds through memories like the tornado that haunts her dreamscapes from sexual assaults into blissful queer embraces. We ghost through the “phantom[s] of her words” into a razed field, a “famine for wildflowers,” to the Rockies which become “tombstones of [the] Earth” all the while we are constantly asked to query why the world is always ending within and without the body of an Indigenous female narrator coming undone. An absolute must read!”
- Joshua Whitehead, author of Jonny Appleseed
“Fall into these fractured pages; there is a lot of getting back up with a vengeance in here! These young women are my new heroes, navigating the world with a grace they define. Kaitlyn Purcell’s extraordinary book has such clarity for the blurriness, for the framing of shame, and for the beauty of friends who always have your back. I absolutely love this book!”
- CAConrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death
Montreal Review of Books | "A genre-bending novella in stories and poems, Kaitlyn Purcell’s debut makes visible the harrowing realities of which most Canadians are aware, but about which we rarely read in the first person."
The /tƐmz/ Review | "ʔbédayine is a distinctive achievement, both in terms of language and themes. It proposes a unique vision that questions identities and challenges social conventions that respond neither adequately nor effectively to people’s needs, marginalising minority groups and vulnerable people. Its strength is in the poetic quality of the narration and in its innovative imagery, which convey an enthralling, touching message with honesty and sensitivity."
What People Are Saying
"This is such an incredible, difficult, necessary, and haunting book."
- Jordan Abel (Author of Injun, winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize)
"[T]he intensity of 'A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing mixed with Otessa Moshfegh."
- John Stintzi (Author of Vanishing Monuments)
"You don't just read this book, you experience it. One of the best books of 2019."
- Erin Emily Ann Vance
"Poetic and sensual, beautiful and heartbreaking."
- Reimer Reads