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CANADA - Doubleday Canada Publishing Group

Heart Berries
A Memoir
By (author): Terese Marie Mailhot
9780385691147 Hardcover English General Trade BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / Native American & Aboriginal Mar 13, 2018
$25.00 CAD
Active 5.26 x 7.77 x 0.75 in 144 pages Doubleday Canada
Governor General's Literary Award - Nonfiction 2018, Short-listed Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize 2018, Short-listed
Guileless and refreshingly honest, Terese Mailhot’s debut memoir chronicles her struggle to balance the beauty of her Native heritage with the often desperate and chaotic reality of life on the reservation.

Heart Berries is a powerful, poetic memoir of a woman’s coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia. Having survived a profoundly dysfunctional upbringing only to find herself hospitalized and facing a dual diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II, Terese Mailhot is given a notebook and begins to write her way out of trauma. The triumphant result is Heart Berries, a memorial for Mailhot’s mother, a social worker and activist who had a thing for prisoners; a story of reconciliation with her father—an abusive drunk and a brilliant artist—who was murdered under mysterious circumstances; and an elegy on how difficult it is to love someone while dragging the long shadows of shame.

Mailhot “trusts the reader to understand that memory isn’t exact, but melded to imagination, pain and what we can bring ourselves to accept.” Her unique and at times unsettling voice graphically illustrates her mental state. As she writes, she discovers her own true voice, seizes control of her story and, in so doing, reestablishes her connection to her family, to her people and to her place in the world.

TOPICAL: Terese’s memoir comes to us on the heels of a fierce debate in Canada about cultural appropriation and the hunger to hear from our Indigenous and marginalized voices. Terese’s book will be a fresh and powerful contribution to our culture and the ongoing conversation and desire for change and greater diversity represented in publishing and media.

STRONG SUPPORT: Sherman Alexie is a mentor of Terese’s, and is writing an introduction for the book. He has also agreed to support Counterpoint’s US publication in terms of publicity. We intend to widen support for Terese and plan a large author mail-out for endorsements.

POWERFUL WRITING: Terese is a stunning writer—poetic and precise, and potent without being overwrought. It is impossible not to sink into the writing. At only around 30,000 words, it’s a mesmerizing, visceral reading experience you won’t soon forget.

TERESE MARIE MAILHOT is in the creative writing faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where she graduated with an M.F.A. in fiction. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, Carve Magazine, The Offing, The Toast, Yellow Medicine Review and elsewhere. The recipient of several fellowships—SWAIA Discovery Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Writing by Writers Fellowship and the Elk Writer’s Workshop Fellowship—she was recently named the Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University. She resides in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Author Residence: West Lafayette, IN

Author Hometown: The Seabird Island Band, BC

Author Social Media: Twitter: @TereseMarieM

Advance Praise for Heart Berries:

Heart Berries is an epic take—an Iliad for the Indigenous. It is the story of one First Nations woman and her geographic, emotional and theological search for meaning in a colonial world. It is disturbing and hilarious. It contains sentences of such poetry and power that you will be compelled to set the book down and walk away to recover from the tremors. Terese is a world-changing talent and I recommend this book with 100% of my soul.”—Sherman Alexie


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