Avenue of Champions
By Conor Kerr
Daniel is a young Métis man searching for a way to exist in a world of lateral violence, intergenerational trauma and systemic racism. Facing obstacles of his own at every turn, he observes and learns from the lived realities of his family members, friends, teachers and lovers. ... Read more
Daniel is a young Métis man searching for a way to exist in a world of lateral violence, intergenerational trauma and systemic racism. Facing obstacles of his own at every turn, he observes and learns from the lived realities of his family members, friends, teachers and lovers. He finds hope in the inherent connection of Indigenous Peopls to the land, and the permanence of culture, language and ceremony in the face of displacement.
Set in Edmonton, this story considers Indigenous youth in relation to the urban constructs and colonial spaces in which they survive—from violence, whitewashing, trauma and racism to language revitalization, relationships with Elders, restaking land claims and ultimately, triumph. Based on Papaschase and Métis oral histories and lived experience, Conor Kerr’s debut novel will not soon be forgotten.
Conor Kerr is a Métis Ukrainian writer. A member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, he is a descendant of the Lac Ste. Anne Métis and the Papaschase Cree Nation. His Ukrainian family are settlers in Treaty Four and Six territories in Saskatchewan. In 2020 he received the Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize and in 2021 was awarded the Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize. His work has been anthologized in Best Canadian Poetry 2020 and Best Canadian Stories 2020 and published in literary magazines across Canada. He is the author of the poetry collection An Explosion of Feathers (Bookland Press, 2021) and the novel Avenue of Champions (2021), which was shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award, won a 2022 ReLit Award, and is a finalist for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
"Conor Kerr’s Avenue of Champions ripples out into a vibrant world, woven together with equal parts hard times and humour. It is alive, is what I mean—all while putting in plain view the unevenly-unjust world we live in. A furious, bright, jagged delight. "
"A star is born with Conor Kerr, whose debut novel hit shelves this fall. Set in Edmonton, the book follows Daniel, a young Métis man, as he navigates the trials of everyday life that play out against the backdrop of systemic racism, intergenerational trauma, and intracommunity violence. Drawing on Papaschase and Métis oral histories as well as his own lived experience, Kerr makes a dazzling first impression with this novel about contemporary Métis life on Treaty Six. "
"Kerr has given voice to the reality of Edmonton’s homeless Indigenous youth. People who survive inside of the shadows of what used to be called The City of Champions. The realities of Indigenous youth trying to survive the child welfare system in a city that prides itself on being winners of everything from sport to industry are placed on display. What Kerr has given to us through his humour, and his own lived experience as a Métis hunter and writer, is a fresh voice and one that we will be hearing from for many years to come. "
"Conor Kerr’s short story collection, Avenue of Champions, is a map of amiskwaciwâskahikan with a host of characters tenderly placed and intricately weaved together. This book firmly held me in its grasp from the very first story and didn’t let go until the book's final lines, at which point I realized my heart had been in my throat the whole time, aching. Like saskatoonberries staining kohkom’s palms, these characters and this novel will live in your skin long past when you are through reading its pages. "