Chasing Painted Horses

By (author): Drew Hayden Taylor

Winner of the 2020 PMC Indigenous Literature Award

When Ralph Thomas comes across graffiti of a horse in an alleyway in the early hours of the morning, he is stopped in his tracks. He recognizes this horse. A half-asleep Indigenous homeless man sees Ralph’s reaction to the horse and calls out to him. Over the course of a morning’s worth of hot coffee on a bitterly cold day, Ralph and the homeless man talk and Ralph remembers a troubling moment from his childhood when an odd little girl, Danielle, drew the most beautiful and intriguing horse on his mother’s Everything Wall, winning the competition set up for children on the Otter Lake Reserve.

Ralph has lived with many questions that arose from his eleventh winter. What did the horse mean — to him, his sister, his best friend, and, most importantly, the girl who drew it? These questions have never left him.

Chasing Painted Horses has a magical, fablelike quality that will enchant readers, and haunt them, for years to come.


Drew Hayden Taylor

Drew Hayden Taylor has done many things, most of which he is proud of. An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario, he has worn many hats in his literary career, from performing stand-up comedy at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to being Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere Native theatre company, Native Earth Performing Arts. He has been an award-winning playwright (with over 70 productions of his work), a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on over 17 documentaries exploring the Native experience. Most notably, he wrote and directed REDSKINS, TRICKSTERS AND PUPPY STEW, a documentary on Native humour for the National Film Board of Canada.


“Readers will appreciate the touching depiction of family and friendship dynamics in childhood, and the novel’s suffusion with empathy makes it a worthwhile read.”
– Kerry Clare

“Drew has given us a grand mystery, a riddle, a gift. Every page was turned with growing wonder. I will be thinking about this novel for years to come … The elegance he’s created here with Danielle’s precious gift will shadow us for years.”

– Richard Van Camp, author of Moccasin Square Gardens

“It’s a haunting novel, with flashes of wry humour.”
“Taylor doesn’t shy away from challenging the reader, but he offers us beacons of light in the most unexpected places.”

Chasing Painted Horses by Drew Hayden Taylor (Curve Lake Anishinaabe) is an enchanting novel about how finding some equestrienne graffiti in an alley compels police officer Ralph Thomas to wonder about an extraordinary girl named Danielle. In their youth, Danielle drew a horse on the creative space known as ‘The Everything Wall,’ creating a lasting image the officer must now contend with. Flashing between Thomas’ interactions with a gifted, homeless Cree named Harry and his recollections of Danielle and others, Taylor’s genius for writing didactic comedies are on full display. Taylor’s faithful readers will recognize that this novel expands on stories he explored earlier in his career, revisiting the characters and creative spaces that tug on the reins around one’s heart.”

– Ryan Winn


  • One Book One Aurora 2021, Nominated
  • PMC Indigenous Literature Award 2020, Winner
  • Forest of Reading -Evergreen Awards 2020, Nominated
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    288 Pages
    8.5in * 5.5in * .70in


    November 14, 2020

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    Cormorant Books



    Book Subjects:

    FICTION / Literary

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