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Tagaq's Split Tooth nominated for first novel award

Inuk performer Tanya Tagaq's first literary contribution, Split Tooth, is up from another award.

Inuk performer Tanya Tagaq is up for the $60,000 Amazon Canada and The Walrus Foundation's 43rd annual First Novel Award.
photo courtesy Penguin Random House

Amazon Canada and The Walrus Foundation has the book as one of its nominees for the 43rd annual First Novel Award, a prize meant to honour the achievement of Canadian authors and their debut novels.

Little Fish by Casey Plett, Johnny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead, Reproduction by Ian Williams and The Amateurs by Liz Harmer join Split Tooth.

Tagaq's first book was previously longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the 2018 Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design for Prose Fiction.

Split Tooth, sometimes described as a mix of fiction and memoir, has received many accolades.

" … Split Tooth, Tagaq’s literary debut, defies categorization. Formally identified as fiction, it is in fact a thick braid of lived experience, philosophy, poetry, and traditional knowledge," wrote Carleigh Baker in Quill & Quire, a book industry magazine.

"Though the protagonist's coming-of-age story, generously and lovingly documented by Tagaq, is the anchor, Split Tooth is not a book that can be fully absorbed in one sitting. It’s possible to sink deeper and deeper into the narrative with each successive reading. Like a smirking teenager, Split Tooth blithely gives typical literary expectations the finger, daring us to see and experience narrative as chaotic, emotional, and deeply instinctive.

"And it succeeds."

Nominees are up for a $60,000 cash award, with finalists receiving $6,000 each.