Nadine Neema Celebrates Launch of Audiobook
Performing Artist Nadine Neema Celebrates Launch of Audiobook Based on Award-Nominated Title in April
Montreal singer-songwriter Nadine Neema is launching the audiobook of her award-nominated middle grade, Journal of a Travelling Girl in Montreal, and Yellowknife this April with a virtual option as well.
Originally released in October 2020 through Heritage House, Journal of a Travelling Girl tells the story of an eleven-year-old girl’s adventurous journey by canoe to attend the ceremony marking the effective date of the 2005 Tłı̨chǫ Agreement, a historic event in the Northwest Territories nearly 20 years ago.
Last fall, the audiobook, narrated by Neema, was released through Tundra Books. It’s a middle grade coming of age story of a young girl who goes on the annual Tłı̨chǫ canoe trip retracing the trails of their ancestors on their way to the celebrations of 2005 for the effective date of the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement.
Neema says the book arose from her experiences working as the band manager for the Dechi Laot’i First Nation in Wekweètì, NWT, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and later as part of the Treaty 11 Council team formed to prepare for the transition to Tłı̨chǫ self-government.
“I arrived in Wekweètì at a time when the negotiations for the Tłı̨chǫ Agreement were underway,” Neema says. “Every summer, people were traveling to the annual gathering by canoe. There were youth, Elders, and invited people on these trips. I always wanted to go but couldn’t because I was part of the workforce.”
To celebrate the audiobook, Neema will appear at the Prince of Wales Heritage Centre auditorium in Yellowknife on Saturday, April 22 at 1:30pm MT. The event will begin with Tłı̨chǫ drummers doing feeding the fire ceremony at 1:30pm, followed by music and film from 2pm-3:30pm, and ending with author signings, plus tea and bannock provided by the Heritage Centre from 3:30pm-4:30pm. Archie
Beaverho, the book’s original illustrator, will also be in attendance. The event will also be live-streamed across several platforms including Neema’s Facebook page and the Tłı̨chǫ Facebook page.
A week later, Neema is coordinating a multi-media launch event in Montreal on Saturday, April 29 at 2pm ET. Neema will be in conversation with Tammy Steinwand, Director for the Department of Culture and Lands Protection for the Tłı̨chǫ Government at the McCord Stewart Museum theatre.
Both events will have a mix of conversations about the book and Tłı̨chǫ people, readings of excerpts in English and Tłı̨chǫ, performances of a few songs inspired by Neema’s time living in Wekweètì, and a short film from video footage she filmed between 2000 and 2002. There will also be time for book signings.
Please find an excerpt from the audiobook here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqAn1rnegfg
Neema also recorded an author note explaining how the Journal of a Travelling Girl came to be and her relation to the Tłı̨chǫ people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5Sej9s-x0M
In 2012 and again in 2013, Neema herself had the chance to take part in Tłı̨chǫ canoe trips. “Paddling into the community where I had lived for several years was like a dream to me,” Neema says. But what inspired her most were the young people. “I watched the young ones who were taking the trip for the first time and tried to see it all through their eyes”
With encouragement from former Tłı̨chǫ Chief Negotiator John B. Zoe, the trips led Neema to write a story about this important period in Canada’s history, as seen from a child’s point of view.
“I feel honored to have been trusted with these stories and given the blessing to bring them forth. I hope I have done well by them,” Neema says.
The Tłı̨chǫ Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement was signed by representatives of the Dogrib Treaty 11 Council, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and the Government of Canada on August 25, 2003, and came into effect in August 2005. It is the first combined land claim and self-government agreement in the Northwest Territories. The Tłı̨chǫ Agreement replaced Treaty 11, which was signed in 1921.
Journal of a Travelling Girl was published in October 2020 by Wandering Fox / Heritage House in Canada and Orca Books in the USA and went to second print in March 2021. The audiobook was released in September 2022 by Penguin Random House Canada. The book was shortlisted for three awards - two Canadian Children’s Book Centre awards, namely the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction and Jean Little First-Novel Award and the Quebec Writer’s Federation Janet Savage Blachford Prize for Children’s and Young Literature. It was also longlisted for the First Nation Communities Read Award and several schools have included it in the curriculum. The audiobook was selected as Booklist’s top of the list editor's choice for 2022 youth audio and the book is currently being translated into Tłı̨chǫ.
For press inquiries, please contact Sam Devotta: [email protected]
Saturday, April 22 at 1:30pm MT
Prince of Wales Heritage Centre Auditorium 4750 48 St
Saturday, April 29 at 2pm ET McCord Stewart Museum Theatre 690 Sherbrooke St W