Advanced Search

Add Best Comp

Add comparable title

Remove comparable title

Governor General's Literary Awards 2021

The Unseen Ones, Short Stories
By (author): Dr. Norma Dunning
Dr. Norma Dunning


Douglas & McIntyre



Product Form:


Form detail:

Trade, Flaps
Paperback , Trade, Flaps


General Trade
Mar 27, 2021
$19.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 x 0.55 in | 230 gr

Page Count:

160 pages
Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.
Douglas & McIntyre
FICTION / Short Stories
Governor General’s Literary Awards 2021, Winner 2021 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award 2021, Short-listed Short Story Collection Award at the Alberta Literary Awards 2022, Short-listed ReLit Award (Short Fiction) 2022, Short-listed
  • Short Description

A new collection of short stories that illuminate Inuit experience in the Canadian South.

Drawing on both lived experience and cultural memory, Norma Dunning brings together six powerful new short stories centred on modern-day Inuk characters in Tainna. Ranging from homeless to extravagantly wealthy, from spiritual to jaded, young to elderly, and even from alive to deceased, Dunning’s characters are united by shared feelings of alienation, displacement and loneliness resulting from their experiences in southern Canada.

In Tainna—meaning “the unseen ones” and pronounced Da‑e‑nn‑a—a fraught reunion between sisters Sila and Amak ends in an uneasy understanding. From the spirit realm, Chevy Bass watches over his imperilled grandson, Kunak. And in the title story, the broken-hearted Bunny wanders onto a golf course on a freezing night, when a flock of geese stand vigil until her body is discovered by a kind stranger.

Norma Dunning’s masterful storytelling uses humour and incisive detail to create compelling characters who discover themselves in a hostile land where prejudice, misogyny and inequity are most often found hidden in plain sight. There, they must rely on their wits, artistic talent, senses of humour and spirituality­ for survival; and there, too, they find solace in shining moments of reconnection with their families and communities.

Dr. Norma Dunning is an Inuk writer as well as a scholar, researcher, professor and grandmother. Her short story collection Tainna: The Unseen Ones won the 2021 Governor General’s Award for literature, and her previous short story collection, Annie Muktuk and Other Stories (University of Alberta Press, 2017), received the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the Howard O’Hagan Award for short stories and the Bronze Foreword INDIES Award for short stories. She lives in Edmonton, AB.

“Dunning demonstrates considerable confidence in both her readers and her own skills, rarely slowing to explain, allowing the narrative to reveal connections and truths as it progresses.”

- Quill and Quire

“Dunning’s tone throughout the book is candid and colloquial...each [short] story uses a slightly different voice, and that’s where we see the elegance in Dunning’s craft as a writer...raw and profound...Readers will quickly realize that Tainna is a work of real-life fiction. The characters may be fabricated but the stories are undoubtedly ones of many truths. Tainna will break your heart, mend it, and break it again.”

- Ciana Hamilton, Room Magazine

“[Tainna] hit me right in the heart… my body responds to reading these stories.”

- Angie Abdou, Daybreak Alberta on CBC Radio One

of 35

Forgotten Password

Please enter your email address and click submit. An email with instructions on resetting your password will be sent to you.

Forgotten Password

An email has been sent out with instructions for resetting your password.