Image: Second Story Press Indigenous Writing Contest Winners Announcement by Second Story Press

Announcing the winners of our Indigenous Writing Contest

Posted by Second Story Press on

Image: Second Story Press Indigenous Writing Contest Winners Announcement by Second Story Press

Second Story Press is thrilled to announce the two winning authors for its 2021 Indigenous Writing Contest. The jury has named the co-winners: Hali Heavy Shield, a Blackfoot storyteller and visual artist who lives in Alberta, for her story My Grandma is an Artist!; and Heather O’Watch, a Nakota and Plains Cree woman from the Okanese First Nation who lives in Saskatchewan, for her story Auntie’s Rez Puppy. The jury would also like to recognize a runner-up: Kelsey Borgford, a Nbisiing Nishnaabekwe multidisciplinary artist from Nipissing First Nation in Ontario, for her story What’s in a Bead?

The winning submissions were chosen by a jury comprised of Second Story Press publisher Margie Wolfe; author and previous contest winner Jodie Callaghan, a Mì’gmaq woman and the author of The Train; and Nancy Cooper, First Nations Consultant for the Ontario Library Service and coordinator for First Nation Communities READ.


“It was an absolute honour to participate in the Second Story Indigenous Story Contest.  The caliber and depth of the submissions proves that Indigenous literature continues to grow and thrive.
 Nancy Cooper

Hali Heavy Shield’s My Grandma is an Artist is a celebration of art and of the Indigenous women artists who have paved the way for emerging artists and creatives. Witnessed through the eyes of a grandchild, My Grandma is an Artist! explores the power behind Indigenous art and creative practices.


“This book is sure to be a hit.  As seen through the eyes of a grandchild, My Grandma is an Artist conveys the healing power of art and the importance of taking up space in institutions that have not welcomed Indigenous peoples in the past.”

Nancy Cooper


“The Auntie in this story sounds so cool and I can just imagine how exciting it would be when she came to visit. This story is fun and sweet and has a great message about taking care of our pets and one another.”
Jodie Callaghan


Kelsey Borgford’s piece titled What’s in a Bead? is a short story about the bond forged between a Cree grandmother and her young granddaughter which explores the significance of Indigenous beadwork in relation to art, history, and healing.


“The story is a beautiful look into the importance of beading in our communities and the ways that this art practice ties us together as families and communities.”
Nancy Cooper


Second Story Press once again extends our thanks to all the talented writers who submitted to the 2021 Indigenous Writing Contest. We are fortunate to have so many promising submissions each year, and are excited to welcome Hali, Heather and Kelsey to our list.





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