“It’s not a monster. It’s magic.”
— Eden Robinson
Trickster is a character widely known in Indigenous legends. His character comes in different forms, and in Haisla stories, he’s often in the form of a raven.
Trickster is marked by his secret intellect — he knows things — and he uses his knowledge to play tricks, cross boundaries, or otherwise disobey normal rules and conventions.
He’s often irreverent, and he lives to upset the status quo.
Our Master Class author this year is a writer who I’ve admired for years. She takes risks, disrupts “normal,” brings us home, takes us outside ourselves, makes us laugh, scares us, and teaches us.
It gives me butterflies in my stomach to announce this:
EDEN ROBINSON IS COMING TO THE INTENSIVE THIS YEAR!
The woman is a force of nature.
Years ago, the first chapter of her novel, Son of a Trickster, was accepted for print in The Walrus. But after the board of the magazine read it, they declared it not “family friendly” because of the strong language.
Eden agreed to some of their edits. But this was a story about Trickster, after all — and Trickster plays with vulgarity as part of his boundary-crossing.
Eventually, after the board asked her to remove the words “Jesus,” “crap,” and “orgasm,” Eden decided to pull the piece. Then the fiction editor actually quit his job at The Walrus as a result of the censorship controversy.
In an awesome turn of events, this novel — which starts with that very same Walrus piece — was nominated for Canada’s most prestigious literary prize, the Giller, just last year.
I love it: censored by Canada’s respected literary magazine, then shortlisted for Canada’s respected literary prize.
It’s such a Trickster move.
Eden Robinson brilliantly takes “literature” — a colonial form of oppression itself, one that has historically made Indigenous experience invisible or invalid — and writes it into a Mobius strip, showcasing the intelligence of Native storytelling inside the very paradigm that intended to erase it. Even better: she’s writing a Trickster trilogy.
She’s like a Haisla Steven King; she writes literary thrillers, with a spirit underworld that’s part fantasy, part Native storytelling.
She turns literary expectations upside down and makes it seem effortless, writing a mystery that will blow you away and soften you to the sweetness and vulnerability of our human experience — in just the right way.
She’s the ideal mentor for our Story Intensive writers. As a fellow non-joiner, critical thinker, and thriller/fantasy-curious reader, I have a feeling you’re going to get a lot from this master class.
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Register for the Story Intensive, get yourself in this year’s class, and start thinking about what you’re going to ask Eden Robinson!
Registration closes tomorrow. Now is the time. Click here to sign up.
Yours in admiration,