Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw First Nation’s author Lucy Haché received a warm welcome from family and friends at the official launch of her second book, titled ‘Stars’, at Café Guido in Port Hardy.
The cozy café was filled with spectators by the 7 p.m. start time on March 17, and Haché’s big sister Jessie Hemphill was on hand to introduce her and help facilitate the book launch, asking Haché questions about her work while adding little anecdotes, before Haché read a section out loud to the audience.
After reading from ‘Stars’, Haché answered audience questions and discussed the history behind the project, her personal feelings behind her writing, what she learned about herself from working on it, and how the project initially came to fruition after her first book ‘Clouds’ was released back in 2017.
“Clouds was a huge jumping off point for me as a writer, and it sort of lit a fire within me to continue to write, so in that way it was definitely a personal success for me,” Haché said, adding she wrote other stories that were also published in-between ‘Clouds’ and ‘Stars’, including some more fiction-style pieces.
Haché pointed out while ‘Stars’ has the same style of autobiographical poetic prose that ‘Clouds’ does, it is very different in content and tone. “Stars is not a dark story entirely — I think it is a hopeful one in the end, but I think I showed I definitely was not afraid to go dark with this one.”
‘Stars’ took Haché roughly a year to write, and she ended up coming full circle by finishing the first draft at home in Tsulquate.
“When I wrote Clouds I was on vacation in Indonesia, so it was written from a place of rest and relaxation, whereas Stars was written as part of a process of healing for me as a Kwakwaka’wakw woman,” Haché said, who then noted that finishing the book in her home town was “The most healing part of the journey for me — I was able to really come back to my culture and my community.”
Haché stated the book is “very much about strong Indigenous women — They are the ones who inspired me to have the courage to finish things at school and to keep going forward. I do hope the book is healing for a lot of Kwakwaka’wakw women in our community, because that’s who I was writing for in a lot of ways.”
A little about ‘Stars’:
In this second installation of her Overhead Series, Lucy Haché once again transports the reader with intimate revelations on identity by exploring both her personal and ancestral relationship to the sky and stars. Hache’s prose combines a strong sense of self awareness, unselfconscious honesty and skillful restraint, creating a sense of connection under the vastness of the stars above. The evocative astronomic drawings of artist Michael Joyal contribute to the overall sensory and transcendent experience.
About the author:
Lucy Haché is a writer and adventurer of First Nations/Métis and Scottish/Irish descent.
She grew up in Tsulquate, a small First Nations Community on the Northern tip of Vancouver Island.
Much of her childhood was spent in the forest or on the sea.
When she’s not surrounded by nature she writes about it.
She also writes about contemporary and historical First Nations issues.
Stars is the second book in her Overhead Series.
About the illustrator:
Michael Joyal is a Canadian watercolour artist whose work focuses on reinterpreting characters from mythology and fairy tales through a modern lens.
The paintings explore roles of feminine power through feelings of strength, anger, melancholy and joy.
His work is held in permanent collection at the International Cryptozoology Museum and the Legislative Library of Manitoba.