On Sunday, October 1st at 2pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books and McLelland & Stewart for the launch of Jordan Abel’s Empty Spaces.
Empty Spaces is a bold and profound new vision of history that decenters human perception and forgoes Westernized ways of seeing.
Jordan will be joined by moderator and author Mercedes Eng.
About the book
From the acclaimed, boundary-breaking author of NISHGA comes a hypnotic and mystifying exploration of land and legacy.
Reimagining James Fenimore Cooper’s nineteenth-century text The Last of the Mohicans from the contemporary perspective of an urban Nisga’a person whose relationship to land and traditional knowledge was severed by colonial violence, Jordan Abel explores what it means to be Indigenous without access to familial territory and complicates popular understandings about Indigenous storytelling. Engaging the land through fiction and metaphor, the successive chapters of Empty Spaces move toward an eerie, looping, and atmospheric rendering of place that evolves despite the violent and reckless histories of North America. The result is a bold and profound new vision of history that decenters human perception and forgoes Westernized ways of seeing.
Jordan Abel’s extraordinary debut work of fiction grows out of his groundbreaking visual compositions in NISHGA, which integrated descriptions of the landscape from Cooper’s settler classic into his father’s traditional Nisga’a artwork. In Empty Spaces, Abel reinscribes those words on the page itself, subjecting them to bold rewritings and inviting us to come to a crucial understanding: that the land knows everything that can and will happen, even as our world lurches toward uncertainty.
About the author
Jordan Abel is a queer Nisga’a writer from Vancouver. He is the author of The Place of Scraps (winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), Un/inhabited, and Injun (winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize). NISHGA won the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the VMI Betsy Warland Between Genres award, and was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. Abel’s work has been published in numerous journals and magazines—including Canadian Literature, The Capilano Review, and The Fiddlehead—and his work has been anthologized widely, including The Broadview Introduction to Literature. Abel completed a Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University in 2019, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta where he teaches Indigenous Literatures, Research-Creation, and Creative Writing.
About the moderator
Mercedes Eng is the author of Mercenary English, Prison Industrial Complex Explodes, which won the BC Poetry Prize, and my yt mama. She is an Assistant Professor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where she organizes the On Edge reading series. Mercedes dreams and works towards a prison-free future.