New website highlights Inuit literature

Young readers can find graphic novels and other traditional books geared to their age group

New website highlights Inuit literature

Photo credit: inuit.uquam.ca

A new trilingual website features Inuit literature including biographies of authors and books written by its people.

Headed by UQAM Professor Daniel Chartier, The International Laboratory for Research on the Imaginary of the North, Winter and the Arctic, created the website (inuit.uqam.ca/en) that is entirely devoted to Inuit literatures of Nunavik, Nunavut, Nunatsiavut, and Greenland.

While over the years there have been stories written by explorers, missionaries, and other outsiders; for two centuries, Inuit have been writing their own stories — whether in Inuktitut (with variations depending on the territory), Danish, English, or French. The website celebrates the voice of the Inuit themselves and provides a platform to reach a wider audience.

According to Chartier, “the objective of this site is to provide a better understanding of the Inuit men and women who have written about their culture, territory, and vision of the world; to discover their works and to understand their perception of history. We find biographies of writers, a presentation of their works as well as a cultural timeline drawn from their own works.”

Books descriptions, author bios, and more

Through the website — available in English, French, and Inuktitut — viewers can access a historical timeline of authors’ births and deaths and book publication dates. Inuit authors and books can all be filtered using search parameters; a Resources page provides links to videos, articles, educational fact sheets, and websites; and a News section shares information on the latest in Inuit Literature and recent translations.

Young readers can find titles such as The Fox Wife — a graphic novel also translated into German and Inuktitut, read traditional Inuit stories in Unipkaaqtuat Arvianit, or hear visual artist and author Normee Ekoomiak recount his memories of northern Quebec in Arctic Memories.

Currently, there are approximately 50 biographies, 150 works, and a cultural chronology based on Inuit cultural and literary facts. Research, writing, and translation work continues, and it is expected that the site will have more than 100 biographies and 400 works by mid-2021.

As the premier site on Inuit literature, it is used as a reference tool for readers, communities, teachers, students, and researchers.