By Tamara Jong
On today’s Bookish Radio episode, we talk to writer Kerissa Marie Dickie about her writing, her inspirations, her son, the difference between British and American mystery shows and the memoir she’s working on.
Kerissa Marie Dickie was born in the small, isolated frontier town of Fort Nelson, BC, in 1980, and raised in the community of Fort Nelson First Nation, a small reserve across the river valley, located at the lowest point of the Northern Rockies in the northeast corner of BC (right below the NWT border), at Mile 300 of the Alaska Highway. Ever a tortured, existential artist—academics, social norms and light-heartedness were never a part of her skill set—Kerissa took part in a Rotary International Student Exchange to Argentina immediately after high school, which brought her to experience Catholic school, travel and life at the bottom of the world. Upon her return to Canada, she worked in various positions for her First Nation community, focused on cultural revitalization, and attended the University Transfer program at the local Northern Lights College. Inspired by the Residential School Survivors in her community and family after helping create a book of their stories, Kerissa was accepted into the Fine Arts program at the University of Victoria. At 28, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree with a Major in Writing, with a National Our Story Short Fiction First-Place Prize for the story ‘Wildflowers’, and publication in various Emerging Indigenous Writers’ Anthologies as a testament to her potential as an author. Now in her late-thirties and living back in her home community, Kerissa is raising a young son, and is self-employed, creating visual communications under the name Air Communications, which uses her own unique blend of writing and visual art. She has also just begun writing a memoir, inspired by motherhood, called ‘Nahtay’, which translates to Dreamer in Dene.
Links to Kerissa’s work:
Body & Soul Anthology: http://caitlin-press.com/our-books/body-soul/
1000 Islands Writers Festival Gananoque ON April 25-28: https://www.1000islandswritersfestival.ca/festival-schedule
The FOLD Brampton ON May 2-5: http://thefoldcanada.org/events-landing/the-festival/
Ottawa International Writers Festival Ottawa ON May 2-7: https://writersfestival.org/