Winter Child

A visceral, luminous novel about a Métis woman tracing the life and death of her son.

One late September day, amid the year’s first snowfall, the winter child is born. He does not breathe. His mother watches helplessly until “at last the baby uttered a first tentative croak like a frog unsure of spring’s arrival.”

Then again, and again, and again, the winter child narrowly avoids death’s reach. But his mother knows: “he would be her wound, she would have to battle to keep him with her, to defend him against the worst of all enemies.”

Originally published in French and told through alternating and overlapping memories, Winter Child is a powerful meditation on grief and life. With a poet and storyteller’s language, Virgina Pésémapéo Bordeleau traces a mother’s journey from devastation to strength, descending to the darkest inner depths, and finally finding the generosity of life and love.


Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau

Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau is an internationally recognized visual artist and writer of Cree origin. She has published three novels and two poetry collections in French. She received the 2020 Artist of the Year Award from the Counseil des arts et lettres du Quebec. She lives in Abitibi, in northwest Quebec.


Susan Ouriou

Susan Ouriou is an award-winning writer, editor and literary translator, with over thirty translations and co-translations of fiction, non-fiction, children’s and young adult literature to her credit. She won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation. She lives in Calgary.


Christelle Morelli

Christelle Morelli is a French-English literary translator and teacher in the Francophone school system. She has translated the anthology Languages of Our Land: Indigenous Poems and Stories from Quebec and the children’s book Blanche Hates the Night. She has also co-translated 15 fiction, non-fiction and children’s books with Susan Ouriou. Her French to English co-translations other than Winter Child are: Against God, Sand Bar, Jane, the Fox and Me, Millions for a Song, Once Upon a Rainy Day, Stolen Sisters, Louis Undercover and Hunting Houses. Her English to French co-translation titles are: La toute dernière première fois, Chin Chiang et la danse du dragon, Lune jaune, à bientôt, Le chandail d’Amos, Une musique du ciel, Leçons de la Mère-Terre and Un saumon pour Simon. Her co-translation with Susan Ouriou, Stolen Sisters, was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Translation in 2015.


“Both raw and poetic, Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s novel is ultimately about healing and continuance, through dreams, ceremony and the partner who is meant for the time.” ? Globe and Mail

“Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli’s translation of the French original blends romantic turns of phrase with the transformative storytelling power of Pésémapéo Bordeleau’s Cree and Métis ancestors? Winter Child is a collection of narratives about complex relationality, death, loss, and moving through grief, despite it all. Though the mother has experienced unspeakable abuse and trauma, she continues, and with love to boot. Pésémapéo Bordeleau has woven together an exercise in sitting with and moving through pain.” ? Montreal Review of Books


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168 Pages
8.00in * 5.50in * .45in


May 01, 2017


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FICTION / Indigenous

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