Iqaluit writer Peter Igupttaq Autut has won the fifth annual Sally Manning Award for Indigenous Creative Non-Fiction this year. This literary award helps Indigenous Northerners share their stories.
Comedian and writer Autut was awarded $1000 for his short story called Winter In Chesterﬁeld Inlet.
The narrative “paints a picture and puts you in it so you can feel what it is like,” said Michael Kusugak, one of the four judges.
“His descriptions are so real I can feel the cold right down to the ting in my ear,” explained Kusugak. Autut’s story puts the reader right in his igloo, he added.
The short story is about Autut’s childhood hunting trip with his dad. It contains “beautiful moments” that have been forever engraved in his mind, said Autut.
The author recalls that despite the frigid weather, his dad would make him feel like it was just another day in paradise.
Autut said he was motivated to write the piece in order to capture that specific time and space again.
“You want to capture those times and moments, and embed them so they don’t just get lost into thin air,” he said.
“It’s only years after I realized, ‘Wow, I’m very fortunate to have seen some of the stuff that he was doing and how he was communicating with the land,’” said Autut, referring to his dad.
He hopes the narrative will also serve to provide his kids with insights about their grandpa.
Autut emphasized his intentions were never to write for the public, but simply to capture moments for his family.
“When I won, I was shocked,” said Autut, who had forgotten about the submission.
Shelly Wiart received $500 and second place for her piece, My Northern Healing. In third, Carol Rose GoldenEagle received $250 for her story called The Ugly Little Christmas Tree.
The stories from all three authors are available to read on uphere.ca.