candies-fullIt is with great sadness and respect that we say a fond "baamaapii gwabmin" to Basil H. Johnston, a dear friend, renowned author, celebrated storyteller and tireless promoter of the Anishinaabe language as he makes his journey across the path of stars.

Basil Johnston wrote over 15 books in English and five in Ojibway, with the most recent title on the eve of publication when Basil passed away in September 2015. Candies: a humour composite is a collection of comedic essays and short stories that express Basil's wry humour.

A memorial book launch for Candies will be held at The Ginger Press, Owen Sound, on Sat. May 7 starting at 2 p.m. All are welcome to celebrate the life of a remarkable man.

Basil was born in Wasauksing First Nation in 1929, and he was a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation. Over the course of his life, Basil was honoured with many awards and accolades, including the 2013 Ontario Arts Council Aboriginal Arts Award, Order of Ontario, three honorary doctorates and the Anskohk Aboriginal Literary Lifetime Achievement Award.

Writers like Joseph Boyden, Tomson Highway, Drew Hayden Taylor and many others added their goodbyes upon discovering the loss of a great storyteller who paved the way for Indigenous literary voices. On Sept. 10, 2015, Waubgeshig Rice tweeted that "Basil Johnston broke a trail for the rest of us to put our experiences as Anishinaabeg into the written word and books. Journey well, Basil."

Kegedonce Press' Managing Editor Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm added that "words cannot adequately express our gratitude for Basil's generosity, humour, straightforwardness, and laughter. We hold many wonderful memories of him both personally and professionally and know that our lives, and the lives of his many friends and readers, were enriched for having known him."

Candies can be purchased/ordered at local bookstores and online at

Source: media release, Kegedonce Press


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