A participant in the Indigenous Writers’ Circle prepares his first memoir

(ANNews) – Edmonton-based teacher Scott Olsen is set to publish his first book after working with some of Turtle Island’s top Indigenous writers through the Audible Indigenous Writers Circle program.

The program consists of approximately 15 writers who have the ability to work with five mentors – Norma Dunning, Chelsea Vowel, Tanya Talaga, Richard van Camp and Kim Wheeler.

“He wrote the most beautiful manuscript, and I was blessed to be called a mentor, but I was humbled by this man before you, Scott, floored me with this talent,” said Van Camp, who worked with Olsen for about six weeks. , said Alberta Native News.

Prior to Van Camp, Olsen worked with Vowel – a fellow Edmontonian who was his official mentor for the Audible program – for about six months.

After working with Vowel, Olsen contacted Van Camp to get a second set of eyes to review his memoir, which is now in the hands of Van Camp’s literary agent, Janine Cheeseman, who will sell it to a publisher.

Van Camp said that was the ultimate goal of the program – “bringing every student closer to an agent and/or publishing house.”

Van Camp’s endorsement means a lot to Olsen, who taught Van Camp’s literature in his social studies class and was inspired by his work to take up writing.

“If nothing happened from this point on, I could die happy knowing that at least one person and you fell in love with the artwork,” he told Van Camp.

Olsen was a late entrant to the program after one of his professors told him to submit one of his final papers for his master’s degree to the program. He later discovered that he was one of the best candidates.

” I could not believe it. I was like you were laughing at me. I just started writing stories less than a year ago for grad school, and they seemed to enjoy it in grad school, and it seemed like everything was a step up as everything process was going on,” he recalls.

Her memoirs are a tribute to the value of education, despite its historical use as a tool of assimilation and abuse against Indigenous peoples.

“I’m pretty open about it, that I’m an inner-city high school dropout. I hated school when I was a kid. And now to be within the walls of this same institution, to celebrate it and to say, no, this has value, this has a purpose,” Olsen said.

At one point, Olsen recalls “hitting a wall”, which Vowel and Van Camp encouraged him to cross by simply continuing to write.

“Richard kind of put the icing on the cake, I think,” Olsen said.

Van Camp said he enjoyed the ability to hear “all these new voices that just knocked me on the ass” while cultivating a community of Indigenous writers, which served as “an island [of] friends and heroes for six months.

“I really miss the talk and the conversations we would have over email. And I really loved calling my four mentees once a month. It was something I didn’t realize how much I had missed – just call people and really talk to them about their craft and their life and how they were doing,” he said.

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