Rosanna Deerchild to host new CBC Books podcast based on Indigenous graphic novel anthology This Place

By | August 20, 2020

This Place, the bestselling graphic novel anthology that tells 150 years of Canadian history through Indigenous stories, is being turned into a podcast by CBC Books.

The 10-episode series will be hosted by Rosanna Deerchild and will air on CBC Radio One in 2021.

This Place features Indigenous creators — including David. A RobertsonRichard Van CampKatherena Vermette and Brandon Mitchell — and incorporates elements of fantasy and magical realism to examine the 150-plus years of Canadian history since Confederation from an Indigenous perspective.

Told in chronological order, This Place starts in 1868 with Annie of Red River, about Annie Bannatyne, a Métis-Saulteaux woman who horsewhipped Charles Mair after he made inflammatory remarks in the Toronto Globe about Métis women. 

The graphic novel collection includes the stories of characters like Jack Fiddler, an Anishinaabe shaman facing murder charges, Francis Pegahmagabow, a highly-decorated First World War soldier from Wasauksing First Nation, and Rosie, an Inuk girl growing up during the Second World War.

This Place won a 2020 Manitoba Book Award and was a finalist for the 2020 Doug Wright Award for best book.

The 10-episode CBC Books podcast will bring the graphic novel stories to life using audio storytelling techniques including narration, interview panels, music and more.

This Place podcast host Rosanna Deerchild is usually the host of Unreserved on CBC Radio One. She is stepping away from Unreserved this season to work on the new series. 

Deerchild is also a poet; her books include the collection Calling Down the Sky. She hails from the O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation and grew up in Thompson, Man.

“I’m so excited about the podcast series as it is a retelling and reframing of what we call Canada, but from an Indigenous perspective and lens. It was exciting to see our history as a graphic novel from Indigenous writers, storytellers and illustrators. These are stories that Canadians might not be familiar with — and now we’re translating that into an audio format,” Deerchild told CBC Books in an interview.

Deerchild will work with an Indigenous team of writers and audio producers to develop the episodic series. 

“There’s always been Indigenous writers and these stories have always been around within our communities. What’s changed is that non-Indigenous Canadians are now paying more attention and seeing an opportunity to learn and to travel along this road that we like to call the reconciliation process,” said Deerchild.

A page from This Place: 150 Year Retold anthology. (Portage & Main Press)

When This Place came out in 2019, Robertson spoke to CBC Radio’s In Town and Out about the book.

“This project came about when I was sitting down with the publisher [Portage & Main Press]. We were talking about Canada 150 and how we can have our own voices heard. That was the seed that started this project. It’s a collection of 10 stories by talented Indigenous writers,” said Robertson.

“I think this is a landmark book — this is a culmination of where we’ve been headed in the past 10 years for Indigenous literature.”

If listeners enjoyed Unreserved, Deerchild says that they will love hearing the upcoming This Place podcast. 

“If you’re curious about Canadian history and about our own shared stories — and if you want to learn something that you probably didn’t know before — the podcast is something to check out,” said Deerchild.

“The episodic series will feature great discussions between great storytellers. That same sense of ‘eavesdropping in on a conversation’ that made hosting Unreserved so fun will happen here as well.” 

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