Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics, story, and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity.
Working for two decades as an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Leanne has lectured and taught extensively at universities across Canada and the United States and has twenty years of experience with Indigenous land-based education. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and teaches at the Dechinta Centre for Research & Learning in Denendeh.
Leanne is the author of seven previous books, including her new novel Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies (US release from UMP February 2021), which was named the best book of the year by the Globe and Mail and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. This Accident of Being Lost, won the MacEwan University Book of the Year; was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium Book Award; was long-listed for CBC Canada Reads; and was named the best book of the year by the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Quill & Quire. As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance was awarded Best Subsequent Book by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. A Short History of the Blockade: Giant Beavers, Diplomacy and Regeneration in Nishnaabewin was released in the Spring of 2021 from the University of Alberta Press, and her new project collaboration with Robyn Maynard, Rehearsals for Living is forthcoming from Knopf Canada in 2022. Leanne is also a musician. Her latest release Theory of Ice was named to the Polaris Prize shortlist, and she is the 2021 winner of the Prism Prize’s Willie Dunn Award.
A Note on Leanne’s Family
Leanne’s grandmother, Audrey Williamson (nee Franklin) was born in Alderville First Nation in 1925, and moved to Peterborough, Ontario at the age of three, as her Dad and Leanne’s Great Grandfather, Hartley Franklin, previously a fishing guide on Rice Lake got a job in town building canoes. Leanne’s grandmother regained her Indian Status under Bill C-31 at the same time as her mom, Dianne Simpson (nee Williamson) in the early 1990s. Leanne and her sisters, Shannon, Ansley, and several of their cousins, regained their Indian Status under Bill C-3 after the bill became law in 2011, and their children regained their status after Bill S-3 became law in 2019. They are all off-reserve band members of Alderville First Nation. Leanne was born and raised by her mom Dianne and her dad Barry, who is of Scottish ancestry, in Wingham, Ontario.