One of Canada's revered and award-winning Indigenous authors, Richard Van Camp is this week's Indie Reading Room author with his 20th anniversary special edition of
Angel Wing Splash Pattern (Kegedonce Press)—a playful and haunting collection of stories grounded in the territory of Canada's North, and especially that of the Tlicho Dene people, that depicts contemporary Indigenous life.
Read on for our Q&A with Richard about the excitement of writing short fiction and his inspirations. Then, head over to the
ALU Instagram for Richard's reading from his book.
All Lit Up: Tell us a little about your book and how it came to be.
Richard Van Camp: I’m just so in love with having grown up in Fort Smith, NWT, in the '70s and '80s and I am so proud to be Tlicho Dene, how could I not be writing stories that celebrate how funny, how resilient and how strong we are up north?
ALU: What do you enjoy most about writing short fiction? What’s the toughest part?
RVC: I can usually see the ending first and it’s always so riveting to hold on and document the slow-motion train crash leading up to it: the glory, the terror, the lead up and delivery. When a short story hits you, it’s like the sweetest lightning ever. The key is getting to the keyboard fast enough to get it all down.
ALU: What, outside of literature, inspires and informs your work?
RVC: I’m inspired by great movies, great TV shows, my fave podcast “Phased Out” by DJ Acid Wash, superb conversations, giggle fests, Windspeaker Radio, social media, superb and random photography, bizarre graffiti, the magic of daily life, memes—you name it.
ALU: Do you have any writing rituals?
RVC: I get up at 5am and giv’er until 6:30am before I hear our son get up and then I’m in Dad Mode, Chef Mode, Laundry Mode, Get Outside and Play Mode. It’s a sweet life with our son, Edzazii, and I am grateful to my wife Keavy and Edzazii for making every day filled with laughter, hugs, kisses, and snuggles. :)
ALU: What’s a book you recently read that you would recommend?
RVC: Pass Me By: Gone Fishin’—the graphic novel published by Renegade Arts Entertainment written by Kyle Simmers and illustrated by Ryan Danny Owen. Wow. So original and so lovingly paced.
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Richard Van Camp is a proud Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, NWT. He is an internationally renowned storyteller and best-selling author of 24 books in just about every genre. His novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a feature film with First Generation Films and his graphic novel A Blanket of Butterflies with Scott Henderson was nominated for an Eisner Award. You can visit Richard on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at
All Lit Up is produced by the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo. LPG and LitDistCo acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Ontario Arts Council.
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All Lit Up acknowledges we are hosted on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat. We also recognize the enduring presence of all First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to meet and work on this territory.