Why Science Fiction is the Perfect Genre for Indigenous Stories

From October 20—22, 2017, the Stratford Writers Festival will take over Stratford, Ontario, as some of Canada’s top literary and creative talents come together for this unique three-day festival. With the festival rapidly approaching, we caught up with attending author and playwright Drew Hayden Taylor to ask him a few questions about his latest projects, and why literary festivals are important to the Canadian artistic community.

To hear more from Drew, click here to purchase tickets to his upcoming Stratford Writers Festival event: History and the Need to Heal.

In your opinion, what is it about the science fiction genre that makes it perfect for incorporating new Indigenous stories?  

I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to bridge both worlds. There are many legends in many different cultures talking about people who live up in the stars, and other stories about people to have come down to Earth from the stars. And the occasional story of humans who have travelled up there. And let’s face it, what North American culture has had more experience with people showing up suddenly from some far away place with strange ideas and strange ways!?!?

What is the key to getting more Indigenous literature into the hands of Canadians? 

If I knew that, I would be a far richer man.  I think good Indigenous literature bridges both cultures. There are more similarities than differences. For instance, we both like a good story with interesting characters that take us on a journey. Rather universal. I think the dominant culture just needs to be made aware of that.  We write sci fi, fantasy, erotica, murder mysteries, etc.  We’re not reinventing the wheel.

Why do you feel it’s important to meet readers at events such as the Stratford Writers Festival?

Any opportunity to interact with the audience and share ideas and stories can always be considered a good thing.  I love meeting the audience and other authors.  And it provides the public with a chance to put a face and a voice to some of the books they’ve been reading.

What is your favourite part about attending writers festivals or literary events?

Frequently it’s the chance to chat with the people who showed up to see the authors. I like to find out what they liked, what they didn’t, and what they are hoping to hear next.  That and the opportunity to travel and see some of the country, for sure.

Are you working on any projects right now?

I have a bunch of plays opening across the country, including a premiere at the Tarragon Theatre in February. I also have a documentary I co directed and wrote appearing on the CBC, the second Sunday in January, about the German preoccupation with Native culture.  And also, I am about a third of the way into a new book I am writing, a horror novel!

To hear more, don’t miss History and the Need to Heal with Drew Hayden Taylor.

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